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Nocino: Walnut Liqueur

Ingredients

  • Alcohol for liqueurs, or vodka 1 liter
  • Walnuts green and unripe, 1 kilogram or about 30, rinsed and quartered
  • Granulated sugar 1/2 kilogram
  • Cinnamon sticks 10 centimeters (3 to 4 one inch pieces)
  • Whole cloves 7
  • Lemon peel from one large untreated lemon only the yellow outer skin

Instructions

  1. Pour the alcohol into the mason jar(s) and close.
  2. Pick the walnuts when they're still very green, at the end of June. Discard any that are black inside.
  3. Rinse the walnuts, pat dry and quarter. The walnuts will turn your hands black; to avoid this wear gloves while you are quartering them.
  4. Add the walnuts to the alcohol.
  5. Add all other ingredients.
  6. Seal the mason jar.
  7. Shake the mason jar to combine the ingredients, then place the jar in a sunny spot.
  8. At first the liquid will be transparent but by the second day it will have turned black.
  9. Every so often, about once a day, shake the jar.
  10. After 45 days use a fine mesh cloth or coffee filter to strain the alcohol mixture. I usually strain twice although this isn't strictly necessary.
  11. Wash the mason jar then pour the alcohol mixture back into it.
  12. The mason jar now needs to be kept in a dark, cool place for about three to four months to mature and age.
  13. Occasionally shake the jar; several times a week.
  14. Tradition has it that nocino is served at Christmas.
  15. You may want to bottle the nocino to make wonderful holiday gifts.

Recipe Notes

Special Equipment needed:

A large mason-style jar big enough to hold all the ingredients, about 2 liters (2 quarts). If you can't find a large mason jar use several smaller ones and divide up your ingredients among them.