While I’ve been creating home-crafted cocktails for over 10 years, I've learned that you don’t need to be a professional mixologist to create delicious cocktails at home. One of the easiest ways to level up your happy hours at home is by infusing your own liquors. This recipe for vanilla infused rum is so easy you won’t believe it. All you need is two ingredients and a bit of time!
This infused rum was inspired by my rum-based espresso martini recipe, which features this infusion. While you can buy store-bought vanilla flavored rums, they are more often than not artificially flavored. Infusing your own with real vanilla beans is an easy way to create a rich and deeply vanilla flavored rum, full of real vanilla taste!Jump to Recipe
💕 why you'll love this vanilla infused rum recipe
😌 easy to make. All you need is a vanilla bean, a bottle of rum, and a little patience to make this recipe. The best part is, you can continue to add more rum to the bottle as you use it, meaning you can keep this infusion on hand as long as you like!
🤩 cocktail star. This infusion is perfect for using in homemade cocktails, but it’s also super smooth for sipping on the rocks.
🎁 great for gifting. If you’re looking for unique and thoughtful holiday gifts, this vanilla-infused rum is a great option to share with family and friends. You can even print up your own labels to stick on bottles when gifting!
- silver rum - silver rum is the perfect blank canvas for this infusion because it hasn’t been aged or flavored in any way. This allows the vanilla flavor to be front and center in the rum. Use a nice quality rum for this infusion, because it will be the base flavor you are going off of. Bacardi is a great rum at a great price point!
- vanilla beans - You will need at least one vanilla bean for this recipe. Using the seeds inside the pod makes for a quicker infusion, but you don’t have to scrape it open to get a great flavor. I also love using spent vanilla bean pods, or pods that have already had the seed scraped out and used in a different recipe.
Step 1: Cut a vanilla bean in half.
Step 2: Gently pry the bean open with the tip of your knife or your fingers.
Step 3: For this infusion, you can use the bottle of the rum you're infusing as the container, meaning you don't need extra containers!
Step 4: Drop each vanilla pod into the bottle of rum.
Step 5: Seal the bottle shut.
Step 6: Give the bottle a good shake. Place it in a dark place out of direct sunlight, like the pantry or a cabinet.
Step 9: Use the rum once it is the flavor you like, and store it indefinitely.
Step 10: Continue to add to the bottle as you use it, to refill it. You can also add more vanilla bean pods (empty or full) as you use them in recipes.
Hint: Shake it every day, or every other day, until it darkens. When you are shaking the rum, take a moment to taste it. Whenever you like the flavor, you can start using it! You can strain the beans out or leave them in--it's up to you! If you want a super strong vanilla flavor, you can add more beans or let it infuse longer!
Want more seasonal entertaining ideas? Subscribe to the mailing list below!
🍽️ serving tips
How to Use Vanilla Infused Rum
- in cocktails - use this rum in cocktails like this rum based espresso martini.
- on the rocks - once infused, this rum is excellent for sipping as a nightcap on the rocks!
- in baking recipes - use this infused rum in rum cake recipes or to glaze cakes!
Other Ideas for Your Rum
- gifting - this is a great gift for family and friends, especially around the holidays. You can make your own cocktail kits and put a small bottle of this rum in the baskets for a cute gift!
ℹ️ troubleshooting tips
While some liquor infusions can be over-infused, this vanilla rum doesn’t have those same problems.
Vanilla beans are shelf-stable, so you can leave it in the rum to infuse as long as you like. I also like to add “spent” vanilla beans into my vanilla infused rum as I get them. This helps add to the flavor of the rum as you refill it.
If you like the flavor of the rum and don’t want the vanilla flavor to develop any more, you can remove the vanilla bean pods by straining through a fine mesh sieve and discard them.
⚖️ Scaling Tips
This recipe can be scaled up or down based on your needs. Sometimes you don’t want a whole bottle of infused rum and you only need a cup or two. After all, a cup of rum is 8 ounces, which is 8 shots of rum! 😉 If you use a whole vanilla bean for a cup or two of rum, it will also infuse a lot quicker than an entire bottle of rum.
🔆 top tip
While you can (and should) use a whole vanilla bean with the seeds inside, you can also use spent vanilla beans without the seeds in it to infuse rum. I like to continually add in vanilla bean pods as I use them in other recipes. I save all my vanilla bean pods to make liquor infusions or vanilla sugar!
Missing an ingredient? No problem. Check out these tried-and-true substitutions, or comment below with your question. I’m here to help you troubleshoot!
- liquor - You can use almost any clear liquor for this recipe, it doesn’t have to be white rum. Blanco tequila would also be great, as would vodka! You can even infuse bourbon or whiskey with vanilla! Vanilla vodka or vanilla bourbon would be great substitutions for this recipe!
Feeling like a rebel?! 😈 Feel free to stray from the recipe card using these variations, or leave me a comment with your own!
- add fruit - cherry and vanilla go very well together! Adding some cherries to your liquoe and vanilla bean mixture will give you a great flavor. If you do choose to add fruit, make sure you infuse your mix for only 3-7 days, as you can over-infuse the fruit. Check out these posts about infusing strawberries in tequila or watermelon in tequila for more information about fruit infusions.
- add spices - add in other spices, like cinnamon sticks and allspice, to make your own vanilla spiced rum! If you do add more spices, make sure to continue to taste your rum after each day it infuses because you don’t want it to become too spicy. Once it reaches the flavor you like, strain out the spices and discard them. You can add the vanilla pods back in if you like!
🧰 equipment needed
- pairing knife - a small pairing knife is perfect for processing vanilla beans! I love the Wüsthof Ikon collection, but if you are on a budget this pairing knife is a more economical choice!
- infusing jar or bottle - This is an optional extra if you don’t want to use the bottle the rum comes in. It’s a nice extra step if you want to up your presentation game. 😌
- cutting board - you’ll need a small cutting board to cut your vanilla beans open on. I love using this set of bamboo cutting boards.
Once made, this vanilla infused rum will last indefinitely. Since vanilla pods are shelf stable, you can simply leave them in the rum and continue to add rum to the bottle as you use it!
Vanilla infused rum lasts indefinitely, but if you don't continue to add vanilla beans to the bottle, you may notice the flavor begin to deteriorate after about 8-9 months.
Since vanilla beans are shelf-stable, you can store your vanilla infused rum at room temperature. If you like, you can store it in the fridge, but it isn't necessary.
Clear liquor is the best "blank" flavor canvas for infusions. Liquors that have been aged, darkened, or had colors or flavors added can impact the final outcome of your infusion. So, if you want to make a flavored rum using infusions, choose clear rum, which is also called light rum or silver rum. Using dark rum, or aged rum, can alter the final flavor of your infusion.
Homemade vanilla extract is made by infusing vodka, bourbon, or rum with many more vanilla beans than this infusion. Usually, you use 5-6 vanilla bean pods per cup of liquor. It is then aged for upwards of 6 months. This recipe is a much more gentle infusion, because it uses less vanilla and more liquor.
If you make this recipe, please leave a review in the comments and a star rating!
I read every single comment! I also love connecting on social media, so snap a pic and hashtag it #myrecipeforfun and tag me on Instagram, TikTok, or pin this recipe on Pinterest!
Vanilla Infused Rum
- 750 mL Silver Rum preferred brand is Bacardi. Also called white rum or light rum
- 2 whole Vanilla Beans
- Cut a vanilla bean in half.
- Make a slit down the halves of the bean.
- Gently pry the bean open with the tip of your knife or your fingers.
- Drop the beans into the bottle of rum.
- Seal the bottle shut and give it a shake.
- Place it in a dark location, like the pantry or a cabinet.
- Shake it every day, or every other day, until it darkens.
- Taste it every day, or every other day, until it reaches the flavor you like
- Use the rum once it is the flavor you like, and store it indefinitely.
- Continue to add to the bottle as you use it, to refill it. You can also add more vanilla bean pods (empty or full) as you use them in recipes.
🧯food safety & other information
Food safety is an important ingredient in any recipe for success! Here are some tips to keep you safe in the kitchen!
- Always enjoy alcohol responsibly, and never give alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age. For more information about responsible alcohol consumption, click here.
- For the safest storage, keep your alcohol infusions in the fridge for longer-term storage. Contrary to what you may have read, infusions can spoil, especially if they still have the organic matter in them.
- If anything ever smells or tastes "off," it's your best bet to toss it.
- Use sterilized containers whenever possible. You can sterilize your containers by boiling them briefly, running them through your dishwasher with the sterilize feature activated, or pouring boiling water into the containers.