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Nocino Recipe Italian Walnut Liqueur

Nocino - An Italian Walnut Liqueur

Course Drinks
Cuisine Italian, Mediterranean

Ingredients

  • 1 64-ounce mason jar with a lid
  • 28 green walnuts young + about the size of a small lime
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 3 whole small cinnamon sticks (about 3 inches long each)
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 1 organic lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 liter vodka
  • 1 32-ounce mason jar with a lid

Instructions

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the zest off of the lemon, trying to get as little of the white pitch on the zest strip as possible. Set the zest aside, and place the lemon in the refrigerator for another use.

  2. Cut the vanilla bean in half length-wise, and then cut it into roughly 1-inch long pieces. Set it aside.

  3. Begin cutting the walnuts into quarters (taking heed of the staining warnings outlined in the blog post above under "A Note on Green Walnut Harvesting & Cutting") and placing them in the 64-ounce mason jar.

  4. Try to evenly distribute the spices, lemon zest, and vanilla bean pieces throughout the jar as you tightly layer the green walnuts. When the jar is about 1/4 full, add the granulated sugar. Continue adding the green walnuts, spices, lemon zest, and vanilla bean pieces until you have about 1-inch of headspace from the top of the jar, and all the spices, + lemon zest + vanilla bean bits are incorporated. (It's okay if you have one too many or too few green walnuts, the important thing is to leave a little space at the top for the vodka to cover everything.)

  5. Pour the vodka into the jar, leaving a small 1/4-inch of headspace at the top. Seal tightly and store in a cool and dark part of your kitchen. It should be visible, so that you remember to shake it once a day over the next two months (ideally—it's not the end of the world if you miss a few days, though).

  6. During this aging process, the mixture will darken, (see the second-to-last image in the post). After the two months have passed, place a large strainer lined with two layers of cheesecloth over a large bowl and strain out the nocino. Discard the solids, and empty the infused liquid back into a 32-ounce mason jar and seal it tight. Store in a cool and dark place for 3 more months, then serve and enjoy it!