Vanilla extract - like the stuff you put in the dough when you are making delicious chocolate chip cookies - has a surprisingly high alcohol content. According to the FDA, vanilla must be contain at least 35% alcohol. Some popular brands have as much as 41% as more alcohol results in a richer flavor. Compared to many brands of vodka and bourbon, which are often 80 proof, or 40% alcohol, vanilla extract is about on par.
Of course, when you cook or bake with vanilla extract, that alcohol is burned off in the process. But if you drink it... well, that's a completely different case as we've discovered with the story of a woman from New Canaan, CT that was recently charged with a DUI for being drunk on, you guessed it, vanilla extract.
The woman, who was not identified, failed her field sobriety tests and then refused to take a breathalyzer and the police hauled her off to jail. New Canaan police added, “In addition, several bottles of pure vanilla extract were located inside the vehicle.” It doesn't sound like she was about to cook a bunch of cookies, does it?
The best advice we can give is to keep the vanilla for the homemade ice cream. Stop drinking it.