I made vanilla extract for holiday gifts, using vanilla beans that I bought on Valencia Street in the Mission when I was visiting San Francisco in October. I don't remember the name of where I bought them (it was an ice cream shop), but they have the best/cheapest vanilla beans! $20 per pound, which comes to about 300 pods. In NYC we pay $5 per pod, so this was an absolute bargain.
When you have shit load of vanilla beans, you should definitely make vanilla extract. The portion is 750 ml vodka, and 6-10 pods of vanilla. Split the vanilla, throw them in vodka, and 2 months later, you have nicely-flavored, homemade vanilla extract. The longer it sits, the deeper the flavor gets.
I also poured some plum liquor with plums in a jar to give as gifts too.
This post concludes my column for the year. By the time you read this, I will be in Melbourne, then Sydney, eating kangaroo (is it legal?). Then I'm off to Tokyo, and my hometown for the rest of the month, drinking and eating more.