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Nocino- Has anyone tried making walnut liquor?

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A friend of mine was traveling in Eastern Europe and told me about homemade walnut liquor he enjoyed. A little research and some walnuts yielded a product which is currently maturing. I used the following recipe as a guide, omitting some spices and a large % of sugar. Did not want syrup. I seems to be traditional to the Italians and French among others. Has anyone else tried doing this?

http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/nocino/

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  1. Yes! I made a HUGE batch two years ago. It takes several years to really be delicious. My recipe looks similar to yours. I don't have access to my recipe right now to compare. It *is* like syrup though. I like it over ice cream, but I am very sensitive to sweet things and cannot drink them. I can only handle a tiny bit of this stuff at a time -but it really is unique.

    1. I haven't made nocino specifically (it looks intriguing by the way), but an Italian friend was happy to show me how he does things like lemoncello and mandarino. With a bumper crop of homemade grappa, he'd infuse the booze with lemon or mandarin peel.
      Not having my own grappa, I'd use store bought, 94% alcohol, steep the peel for a month or so, then double the volume with water and add simple syrup to taste.
      Interesting results sometimes great, sometimes not ;-/)
      My friend said when returning to Italy one summer, he and a buddy would try infusing grappa with whatever they thought of. One of his favorites was fresh thyme.
      I gotta try the walnuts.

      1. Getting fresh nuts is the trick, I used them from a wild tree that was a naturalized English or Persian walnut. Never tried a Black for nuts. All types must be harvested while still tender, approx end of june. I only used lemon rind and vanilla bean to flavor, the cloves and cinnamon seem too fragrant.

        1. If you do a search on this board you will find some pretty extensive discussions on making nocino.

          1. Here's a discussion that has been going on for several years:

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3048...

            I've got a batch that I started in June using Curmudgeon's recipe. I think it only really gets good after a couple years.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Junie D

              Thanks for the link. I followed a more basic recipe with a few variations. The sparkling wine addition does not appeal to me, actually it sounds bizarre, like a punch bowl at a college party, I am eager to try my bottle at the 1 year mark. I will keep everyone posted.

              1. re: CCSPRINGS

                Don't be put off by the sparkling wine. Of course it goes flat almost immediately. It just adds a touch of acidity which is a nice counterpoint to the bitter walnuts and sugar.

            2. yes- for the first time last week and also this week. I will put up one more batch tomorrow as there is an abundance of very nice green walnuts here this year and I want to try several different spice, etc. combinations with the walnuts.

              2 Replies
              1. re: cecig

                Just made a batch using black wallnuts which were super plentiful this year, picked them June 25th. The English wallnuts seemed to have a low yield this spring, probably due to the damp weather during flowering. I only added vanilla to the current batch, figuring I can add sugar later.

                Last years batch which is in month 11 of bottle aging is getting close to ready!

                1. re: CCSPRINGS

                  Just bottled the second batch and it smelled great! I expected the black wallnuts to be a stronger flavor but seemed more velvety.

              2. Yes.

                I have a walnut tree and I've been making it for several years now. I've done it with vodka, Everclear and red wine (vin de noix). They're all pretty excellent tho I agree with those who have said that they continue to age in the bottles and get better and better over the course of a couple years.

                When I give it as gifts I give a current year and one that's a year old.

                I pick my green walnuts in early- to mid-June and steep my brew until late July or early August. Then I let the strained brew sit in a large glass jar until a week or 2 prior to Thanksgiving for tasting when it's not so raw. At that point I make a decision about how much simple syrup to add to it and bottle.

                A friend tells me she adds it to her eggnog every Christmas.

                1. It is finally ready! Yippie! So how was it? Quite good. I first had some at room temp straight up and it was delicate and smooth. A hint of bitterness. A little more bottle aging should soften that component. It is great over ice or served with seltzer. Beautiful deep green color. Has a slight cola or root beer fragrance. I am glad I added very little sugar. Have another batch aging, let you know how it goes in about a year.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: CCSPRINGS

                    Thanks for the update. It is still green? Not brown?

                    1. re: Junie D

                      Deep green, really deep green. Would love to have a car that color.

                      Going to try pouring some over vanilla ice cream.

                  2. I have several jars of nocino steeping in my basement for the last two months. the liquid in one of the jars is turning black, as I expected, while the others are still clear. Does anyone know of any reasons this might be so? Will both types be ok to drink?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: BernieMSY

                      Are the clear ones the same type of nut as the dark tinted ones?

                      No clue why a wall nut would not infuse its color. As far as ok to drink, of course. How did you prepare the batches?