Today I made bottles of homemade vanilla to give at Christmas as hostess or thinking of you type gifts. I usually make it with vodka, and people said I could use cheap Ever Clear, but I used a name brand Vodka before and it was very good vanilla.
I order vanilla beans from Madagascar off Amazon. If they tell you the grade, you want grade B instead of A. A would be for baking with, B are better for making vanilla and not as expensive.
I read someone say they used rum instead of vodka because it was a little sweeter. So I thought I'd try that this year.
I ordered amber colored bottles off Amazon. They are 4 oz. which is perfect for giving.
I cut each bean in half so they would fit in the bottle. Then sliced through each bean with the edge of the knife. I didn't open or scrape them, just sliced through so the rum can get inside and start mixing. I put two whole beans, or 4 sections after cutting, into each bottle. I use a funnel to fill with the rum. Shake each bottle. Every time you walk by shake them or turn them so the rum will mix with the vanilla and start to infuse. Do this whenever you happen to think of it and have time.
It takes a good 3 to 4 months to really infuse and be ready to use. You can use it earlier, it just will not be as strong a vanilla flavor.