When using vodka, do you dump the vodka into the brew as well? How much vodka do you use?
I had some great success with a bag of Cocoa Nibs purchased from a Sprouts grocery store. I just dropped them into secondary without any sanitizing. My rationale (completely flawed or not) was that it is a food product and in theory has to meet some kind of sanitation guide line. Also, the combination of the alcohol and ph of the beer should ward of any issues. I would not have simply dropped them into primary without sanitizing.
Again, this was all my own theory, but the the one-time result quite nice. It was a mocha stout.
Another thought on how one may kill of any baddies would be to pasteurize the nibs. I have used a double boiler (just a metal bowl sitting in a pot of boiling water) for pasteurizing fruit puree prior to putting into secondary. You could sanitize the bowl.. throw the nibs in there with just enough water to keep everything in contact and bring it up to just over 160 degrees F for 15 minutes. Cover, cool, and pitch the whole mess into your secondary.
I am curios to hear more on how people hand this.