Make Ahead


December  7, 2009
0 Ratings
  • Serves 1 litre
Author Notes

There is a lot of religious ceremony when making Nocino. The walnuts are picked on June 24th, the feast day of St. Giovanni. (In California the walnuts ripen a little the end of May. ) The ingredients are all measured in amounts of 3, 7, and 21...all mystical numbers in The Church. Sister Marys Renata through SM Camilla would be horrified to know how little I remember of 12 years of Catholic School!) But, all ceremony aside, if you like walnuts , you will love this liqueur. You make it in late spring and it is ready to be filtered and bottled by Christmas. —dymnyno

What You'll Need
  • 21 green walnuts, cleaned and quartered
  • 2 cinanamon sticks
  • 3 vanilla beans
  • zest of an orange
  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cup sugar(depending on how sweet you like liqueur to be) I use about 2 cups
  • 7 juniper berries
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 litre cheap vodka
  1. Clean and quarter the green walnuts. They will be very soft and easy to cut. (wear gloves...walnuts really stain!)
  2. Into a large jar or glass crock, put the quartered walnuts, sugar , orange zest, cloves, cinnamon sticks, juniper berries, whole vanilla beans and vodka.
  3. Leave for 7 weeks, shake every couple of days (3?) It will become very dark brown.
  4. After 7 weeks, take out all the walnuts, etc.
  5. Strain the liqueur through layers of cheesecloth. Leave for at least 6 months, then strain again.
  6. Put into unique bottles as gifts (I often use old Knob Creek bottles ...I have lots)
  7. The Nocino will mellow and improve in flavor with time. I have a batch going every year---ready for gifting.
  8. Remember that this is strong alcohol and drink responsibly. I recently gave a bottle to two friends who drank the whole bottle...boy did they have hangovers!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • lapadia
  • luvcookbooks
  • hardlikearmour
  • dymnyno
  • NakedBeet

13 Reviews

lapadia May 6, 2014
Perfect addition for this contest!
luvcookbooks April 30, 2014
I love nocino. Should I ever meet up with some green walnuts, I will have this recipe saved!
hardlikearmour April 8, 2011
Awesome! I am hoping to make some this summer, just need to find a local source of green walnuts. Thanks, dymnyno!
dymnyno May 17, 2010
If anyone is interested in making nocino...NOW is the time to be picking the green walnuts...if you make some , let me know how it turns out. Or, if you have any questions about making it, let me know if I can help.
NakedBeet March 15, 2010
Eeek! This is great. I wanted to get some walnut liquor for a recipe awhile back and couldn't find any locally. Now I can make it?!!! Thanks for sharing.
shayma March 15, 2010
oh my god! i LOVE this. nocino is a fave fave fave. what better "italian dessert" is there? (well, many, but this is right up there, with the rest of 'em!)
Loves F. March 15, 2010
I have homemade Nocino aging right now! I was considering adding my recipe, but you beat me to it... isn't it so much fun to make!?!
dymnyno March 15, 2010
It is fun to make...I have had a batch going for about 12 years. I always have some ready to drink or give away. Is your recipe similar to mine? A friend of mine made hers with gin!
Loves F. March 15, 2010
Similar, but I used lemon also, and didn't use juniper berries, sounds like a great addition!
Maria T. December 17, 2009
Your Nocino sounds amazing, I love the sequence of the procedure. I live in a very very small village in the middle of nowhere in Tuscany and the carpenter in the village, who is one of my best friends, makes liqueurs out of every single fruit and even vegetables. I love going to his house to watch him making them and have learned to make them with him. His Nocino is also very good but he uses 90% alcohol that we buy here to make Liqueurs, Limoncello etc. and obviously is not sophisticated like yours because he doesn't add the spices and vanilla. I'll tell him about your recipe. Than you for sharing it.
eatboutique December 9, 2009
I'm in love with cordial recipes these days. Thank you for sharing!
QueenOfGreen December 8, 2009
haha! So much to love about this recipe! 1) the numbers (I'm an engineer, can't help it!) 2) that you have "lots" of empty Knob Creek bottles! and of course 3) the story about the friends! Guess I'll just have to try it! I'm assuming the vanilla beans are added with step 2?
dymnyno December 9, 2009