Nocino (Walnut Liqueur)

2017-01-30

Ingredients

  • 18 green (raw/unripe) English Walnuts – rinsed & quartered
  • 750ml 151-proof Vodka/Everclear or Rum
  • Skin of 1 Lemon (yellow part only)
  • 4” Cinnamon Stick
  • 1’” vanilla bean – split
  • 1 Star Anise
  • 4 Cloves
  • 10 Coffee Beans (light-medium roast)
  • 5 Allspice Berries
  • ½ Nutmeg – cracked
  • Simple Syrup (see instructions)

  • Add all ingredients to a lidded 2-liter jar and allow to infuse on the countertop for 2 months (swirling occasionally). After the 2 months, strain the infused spirit through a fine mesh sieve into a 4-cup measuring beaker. Make note of the volume and add 1.5x that amount of Simple Syrup (equal parts of sugar dissolved in water). Stir and pour into clean bottles. Let sit overnight. Flavors will deepen over the months ahead. Store at room temperature. Yields ~1.8 liters at 30% ABV (60-proof).

Traditional to Northern Italy, walnuts for this wonderful liqueur are customarily harvested on San Giovanni Day (June 24th) and the aged liqueur is first enjoyed during the initial rains of fall or on All Saints Day (November 1st). Also seen commonly in Eastern Europe and around the Mediterranean, this sweet and perfumy liqueur boasts rich notes of forest, maple, spice, nut, and tobacco. You need a high-proof spirit to extract the maximum flavor, but this can be made with either rum or a vodka (neutral grain spirit). We make and enjoy them both ways, and find that we favor the rum-based Nocino for sipping or mixing into tiki drinks or other rum cocktails, while the vodka is more versatile in cocktails featuring other base spirits. As with most home-made liqueurs, this will deepen and richen in flavor as it sits in the bottle – coming into its own at 6-months and beyond. Enjoy!

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