DIY Project: Enticing Syrups & Extracts

A Delicious Colcannon Recipe for St. Pat’s
March 16, 2017
Holy Guacamole!
April 2, 2017

Bottle of thyme essential oil or infusion and basket with healing herbs.

Vanilla beans, lemons, and herbs make wonderful syrups, liqueurs, and extracts when combined with simple syrup or vodka. Use these recipes to get started. The hardest part will be waiting for the infusions to age.




Makes about 1 cup.


7 Frontier Organic Vanilla Beans, split lengthwise or chopped (about ½ cup)
8 fluid ounces plain vodka, minimum 70 proof


  1. Place vanilla beans in a jar just large enough to fully submerge beans in vodka.
  2. Pour vodka over beans.
  3. Cover with lid and store for 8 weeks, shaking the jar every week or so.
  4. Strain to clarify or leave beans in place, then use as desired!


To obtain a variety of flavored extracts, substitute any of the following for the vanilla beans:  ½ cup fresh lemon or orange rinds, dried coconut flakes, skinless chopped almonds, anise seed, peppermint or spearmint leaf.

Tip: To speed up the process considerably, double the amount of beans, chop them finer, and shake the jar more often.


Makes about ¾ cup.


1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup filtered spring water
Herb of choice:
3 fresh basil sprigs
4-5 bay leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lavender buds
2 fresh rosemary sprigs -or-
3 fresh thyme sprigs


  1. Make a simple syrup by combining sugar and water in a saucepan and heating until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat, add your choice of herb, and let stand for 1-2 hours.
  3. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh cloth or strainer into a jar.
  4. Cover with lid and refrigerate.

The syrup will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.


Makes about 3 cups.


8 lemons
12 fluid ounces plain vodka
1 cup sugar
1 cup filtered spring water


  1. Using a zester or vegetable peeler, peel the rinds from 4 of the lemons and place in a jar large enough to accommodate the vodka and submerge the rinds.
  2. Pour vodka over zest.
  3. Cover with lid and store for 2 weeks, shaking the jar daily.
  4. Strain out and discard the lemon zest.
  5. Make a simple syrup by combining sugar and water in a saucepan and heating until all the sugar dissolves. Cool completely by refrigerating for at least 3O minutes.
  6. Juice the remaining 4 lemons, remove the seeds, and add to the simple syrup.
  7. Add the lemon syrup to the infused vodka and allow it to mellow for 6 weeks.


Substitute almost any citrus, like oranges, for the lemons.

Infusions make beautiful (and useful) hostess gifts. Pour into a decorative bottle, secure with a tight lid, tie with a ribbon and add a thoughtful note.