Friday, July 15, 2011


Old and scratched jar; the liquor already dark.
It has been approximately six months (give or take a few weeks) since I'd started the multiple batches of limoncello, meyer lemon limoncello, lime-oncello, orange liqueur, and blood orange liqueur. I'm so glad that I started several different liqueurs at the peak of citrus season, as now we have the various flavors to incorporate into our favorite drinks. The slightly floral and milder meyer lemon limoncello has been my favorite (chilled, with a splash of sparkling water); I also love the fact that we now have orange liqueur that is good enough to drink on its own, if we wanted to. All the liqueurs will continue to improve with time, and will last us a good, long while.

I've been thinking about making nocino ever since I discovered limoncello. I was curious about what it would taste like, and had been gearing up to pick walnuts on the customary day (Solstice), and completely forgot about it (we were out of town for so much of June, it was easy to forget). Fortunately, I remembered about it about a week ago, and hurried to pick the walnuts before their shells had hardened any further. The walnuts I found were quite large, and it took only 16 of them (quartered) to fill a half-gallon jar. I used this recipe, for the most part; if there's anything that my experiments with liqueurs have taught me is that I prefer a less sweet liqueur. Thus, I only put a couple tablespoons of sugar in with the walnuts, and actually combined all the ingredients (including the Everclear) in the jars all at once. Now, I wait for two months, shaking the jars (two half-gallons) every now and then; in two months, I'll strain the liquor and add simple syrup. The Nocino will be ready by January, just in time for the colder months.

I know that this cycle of making liqueur takes a long time, but now that I am imbibing the earlier infusions, I'm growing to appreciate the process. It's secondary to my main food preservation, but I like it--there's something quite irresistible about home-made liqueurs, and it impresses people without a lot of hands-on effort on my part.

If you can get your hands on some green walnuts, why not start a batch of nocino of your very own?

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