So whats the final word? It depends on your usage patterns. If you use vanilla regularly in baked goods like cookies and cakes, theres no reason to spring for the fancy stuff, or even the real stuff—artificial extract will do just fine. If you drink a lot of nog or make uncooked ice cream bases or cold desserts like panna cotta, you might consider buying real extract. But if all you’ve got on hand is artificial extract? Don’t worry, just add a touch of booze to the mix a teaspoon of vodka or bourbon for every teaspoon of extract works, and you’ll do just fine.