Walnut Liqueur Recipe

This is our version of a lovely traditional liqueur; in Italian it is Nocino, in French it is Liquer de Noix. It was introduced to us when we lived in France, however, we have recently discovered the Italians drink a similar liqueur too. It can be very strong dependant on the spirit used.

A word of warning before we start, the juice from the green walnuts will stain everything bright yellow , so wear gloves when you are handling them and wash everything down as soon as you have chopped the nuts.

Ingredients:

15 to 20 green walnuts (Fig 1), they need to be young enough to be cut into quarters, therefore they should not have formed nuts inside. They are too old if they have formed nuts.

 

1.5 kg granulated sugar.

 

1 Litre of vodka, Eau De Vie or a similar white spirit, Grappa is also a good one to use.

 

4 Litres red table wine.

  Figure 1

Be aware that some spirits can be very high in alcohol; this will alter the strength of the final result. For instance the Eau De Vie we use here is over 40% and was a gift from a French farmer friend of ours. We have also added 200 Millilitres Grappa which our friend Riccardo gave us. (See the two weeks in Tuscany article)

If you wish, you can do as the Italians do and spice up the recipe with the addition of a couple of cinnamon sticks, a couple of cloves and the zest of a lemon, lime or orange which you would add at the first stage along with the walnuts; but we don't bother.

Method:

Chop the walnuts into quarters (Fig 2 & 3) and place in a "Mash tub" or fermenting bucket (Fig 4).

Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4

 

Add the sugar and leave it to stand for an hour or so, then pour all of the liquids over the top and stir until the sugar has dissolved (Fig 5 & 6).

Place the lid on the bucket and let it stand in a warm dark place for about 6 to 8 weeks, stirring and checking the liquid once a week. You will notice the liquid will take on the smell of the walnuts and become a very dark brown.

After the 6 or 8 weeks, we drain off the liquid into a demijohn (Fig 7) on to which we then place an air lock (Fig 8).

Figure 5 Figure 6 Figure 7 Figure 8

 

 

The walnuts which have now become very dark brown are discarded (they will still stain everything so be careful) (Fig 9).

 

We top up the demijohn with red wine and stand for a further 6 weeks.

 

After that time, we draw off the liquid into another demijohn through 3 layers of cheese cloth placed in a funnel; wine makers call this "wracking", we do this to ensure we leave behind any sediment.

 

We then bottle into wine bottles and cork.

  Figure 9

 

The recipe should give just under 5 litres of delicious after dinner liqueur, or you can use it to make the aperitif Kir Noix, by adding a cold dry white wine.

We also make up some gift bottles (Fig 10).

 

Figure 10 Walnut Liqueur