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What Is Vanilla Rum?

By Sonal Panse
Updated May 16, 2024
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Vanilla rum is an alcoholic beverage made from infusing rum with vanilla extract or with vanilla beans. Many rum companies sell bottled variations of this rum, and it can also be made at home. Vanilla rum is used as a regular rum drink as well as an ingredient to make biscuits, cakes, ice creams, cocktails and various vanilla drinks.

Generally, vanilla beans are preferred to vanilla extract for making vanilla rum. This is because vanilla extract can be quite potent and is often known to change the color of the rum. If such a color change is not desired, it may be best to use vanilla beans.

Vanilla beans can be purchased at specialty food shops or from online food stores; since harvesting vanilla is a rather intensive manual process, the price of good quality vanilla beans can be quite expensive. To use them in making the vanilla rum, the beans are split in half and the black pulp inside is scooped out. The beans and the pulp are then boiled in water for several hours until the water becomes well-infused with the vanilla flavor.

The vanilla-infused water and the boiled beans are now added to a bottle that is half-filled with rum. If a regular rum bottle is purchased, half of the rum should be poured and stored into another container to make room for the vanilla infused water. The rum bottle with the vanilla-infused water and the boiled vanilla beans should then be stored away, away from direct sunlight, and allowed to sit for around six months up to a year. In this time, the rum will take on a strong vanilla flavor.

In the event vanilla beans are not available, vanilla extract should be used in a moderate amount. It can be mixed with water and then added to the rum, or it can be added directly to the rum. If too much vanilla extract is used, it can change the color of the rum and perhaps also lead to a more overpowering vanilla flavor.

To make the vanilla rum last for a long while, it should be bottled in a container with an airtight cap. The rum may be drunk as it is, or it may be diluted with water, cola, soda, coconut milk or lime juice. Vanilla rum makes an excellent drink in the summer, and is included in many refreshing cocktail recipes.

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