Vanilla Rum

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2014 • all rights reserved

How to make your own Vanilla Rum -- great recipe that's wonderful for gifts and special occasions!

Ahh, sailors and rum. A storied connection, and in much of the Caribbean, rum is the most affordable alcoholic drink, sometimes cheaper than beer even.

And so the happy hour choices become Pain Killers, Piña Coladas, Daquiris and Rum & Coke. All great drinks, but how about something different?

When we were aboard Beagle Knot in January, LaDonna pulled out a special treat one day: Vanilla Rum that she and Denis had made. It’s a nice sipping rum (we loved it) and dead easy to do.

Here’s how:

  • Open a bottle of rum. Dark or light can be used; ones that already have flavor or spice should be avoided.
  • Add 3 vanilla beans to a 1 liter bottle — adjust the number of beans for smaller or larger bottles.
  • Recap the bottle and label with the date the vanilla was added.
  • Now for the hard part: put the bottle away and let it steep for 6 months to a year.

Serve in shot glasses or other small glasses. Best sipped, not downed at once as a “shot.” Dave and Denis preferred the dark rum; LaDonna and I both preferred the light.


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  1. I’m inspired – definitely doing this!!

  2. Are you cutting open the beans first, to release the seeds inside, or putting them in whole?Cutting them open would probably requiring some filtering during serving, and perhaps the time to wait wouldn’t be so long!

  3. Michael Teaford says:

    I just got a smoking deal on Vanilla beans, only $100.00 a #. Enough for 6 cases of home made rum. Moonshine rum………………

  4. Cool. We are definitely doing this.

  5. YUM!!!! Oh, the waiting is the hard part for sure!! So easy…I love it! coming over from SITS! Cheers!

  6. I make rum vanilla.

  7. Suggestions: heat the rum (the rum doesn’t care and the infusion is faster). Slice the vanilla (do you pick the seeds out of your French vanilla ice cream?). If you are in the states, buy the vanilla from Amazon (high quality product delivered to your marina at low cost). Don’t wash the vanilla (if you need to wash your spice, get a better i.e. clean source). After starting with the gateway spice vanilla, add a little select mulling spices and a little raw brown “turbinado” sugar to the mix for some real fun. [Mulling spices are: cinnamon stick, whole star anise, cloves, allspice, nutmeg (chips), and orange peel] Find your own blend and maybe Cap’n Morgan will finally put his foot down. Me? I add a a small slice of crystallized ginger.

  8. Where in god’s name can you find vanilla beans in the islands…

  9. James Edgerly says:

    I don’t drink all that often, and when the “urge” hits me I rarely have a year lead time to prepare for it. You got anything with a bit less wait time…like maybe using pure vanilla extract?

  10. I have seen them in the open markets on many caribbean islands!

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