We have been contacted by customers asking about the strong smell of alcohol in our pure vanilla extracts. So we thought we’d address this question. There are good reasons and a simple fix for this. The Reasons 1. The FDA requires alcohol in vanilla The FDA Standard of Identity for pure vanilla extracts requires that there must be a minimum of 35% alcohol in pure vanilla extract. The alcohol may be made with grain alcohol or sugarcane alcohol. In the case of our vanilla extracts, we use sugarcane alcohol because it is both gluten- and gmo-free.