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