An Italian traditional liquor, made with walnuts.
Nocino is made with unripe walnuts, gathered in summer (traditionally during Saint John's
week, after the 24th of June). It is typical of Northern Italy, and it is made both in the Appennini and in the Alps regions.
Bittersweet, and typically drunk after meals, it will stain absolutely anything it touches.
- 30 unripe green walnuts, with their aril (notice that you can't do this with ripe walnuts, as it will be shortly apparent)
- 1.5 liters of 100 proof alcohol
- 0.5 liter of water
- a gram of cinammon
- 10 cloves
- 750 grams of sugar (don't skimp, trust me)
- lemon peel, from one lemon
Chop the walnuts into 4 pieces (at this stage you can just use a knife), and dump all the ingredients into an air tight glass container. The container, bizarrely, must be kept in the sun and in a warm place (a window sill will do just fine).
The tannins will leech out of the unripe walnuts, and oxidize with the sunlight; or at least this is what I believe happens. Anyway, the result is that the liquor turns ink black. Shake the bottle every day.
After 40 days, it can be filtered, bottled and drunk. Nocino improves with age, so if you have the will-power to wait some months it will become smoother.
This one is Artusi's canonical recipe. I have seen another that omits the lemon peel, adds nutmeg and, instead of water, adds an equal amount of white wine.
Nocino is drunk at room temperature and straight.