Combine all ingredients except mint in a cocktail shaker and shake well. Muddle the mint in the bottom of a cocktail glass. Add Ice, optional. Strain mixture into the glass with the mulled mint, and serve.
In a large container or glass jar with an airtight lid, pour 1/2 of the sugar. Add bean quarters and cover with remaining sugar. Seal and place in a cool, dark place. Two or more times a day, shake the container to distribute the vanilla essence. Shake daily for at least 1 week and up to 3 weeks. Replenish the sugar as it is used.