How to Make Homemade Nocino

With it’s delicately nutty and subtly spiced flavor, Nocino is one of my favorite after dinner sips. It turns out it’s also easy to make, heres how:

NOCINO (Walnut Liqueur)

  • Zest of 1 lemon cut into strips. A potato peeler was the best tool for this job
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1/4 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 inch piece of vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 liter of  good, high proof Vodka
  • 30 green Walnuts - The walnuts should be young and green.  They should have a soft inside before the wooden case has hardened. 
  • Rubber cleaning gloves or latex gloves

Historically green walnuts are collected between Midsummer’s eve (June 23rd) and Saint John day (June 24th). Depending on where you live you might have a friend with a tree, or they can be purchased online or from local farmers or markets while in season (May – June).  Walnut trees can be hard to find in Colorado so we got ours here


Step 1

Cut the walnuts into quarters wearing gloves. Walnut hulls are historically used to dye fabrics, and they may dye your hands. Put them in a large seal-able glass jar with vodka, lemon zest, clove, cinnamon and vanilla.  Close jar and leave under sun for 60 days, shaking a few times.



Step 2

At the end of 60 days, cook sugar and water over low heat until sugar dissolves, let cool.


Step 3

Filter the alcohol through a chinois straining out the walnuts and herbs.  Mix with the sugar syrup and filter again (you can also use paper filters, jam filters or a fine cloth). Bottle and seal it up!


Now wait patiently while letting it improve with age, at least 6 months – 2 years! Once ready the taste should be sweet and nutty with subtle hints of earth and greenery. We enjoy sipping Nocino after dinner, mixing it into cocktails like manhattans and it's even delicious poured over vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!


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  • Posted by Giulia on July 28, 2017

    I assume there may be slight variations to the original true recipe but this not what nocino is made from. I am 100% native Italian from the region where the recipe is actually from , passed it down from Generation to generation . This is not the nocino recipe.

  • Posted by Diana on July 27, 2017

    Please tell me where I can get the walnuts. I live in New York right outside of New York City. I work with an 82 year old Italian lady and she would like to make it

  • Posted by Kenneth Brumback on July 18, 2017

    English (Carpathian) walnut are typically used. Heartnuts (Japanese Walnuts), Butternuts, and Black Walnuts may be used – but if using Black Walnuts, expect some bitterness to the finished product.
    You also need to check the nuts – (in central Indiana) by June 24, about 1/4 to 1/2 of the nuts are difficult to cut.
    While true and sunlight affect certain items negatively, others are the opposite. Also there will be a temperature differential between yours and the traditional method.

  • Posted by Ann Wooledge on June 27, 2017

    Hi – I’d love to try this recipe. I have two huge black walnut trees in my back yard that are both FULL of nuts this year and the squirrels haven’t gotten them yet! However, my black walnuts don’t look like your picture. Are you using black walnuts or English walnuts? If not black walnuts, would they work even though it would be difficult to cut them into quarters. Thanks in advance.Love your website!!

  • Posted by Simon on March 01, 2016

    Hi there, how much water do I cook the sugar in during step 2? I imagine a cup, is that right?
    Many thanks,

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