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  • Writer's pictureJennifer McIlvaine


On the eve of St. John's Day, or La Festa di San Giovanni, on June 24...or 25...depends who you talk, unripe walnuts are harvested to make Nocino, the traditional walnut liquor of Italy. A friend of Salvatore's brought some for me to try. Nocino is one of those things in Italy where there are literally 1000s of different recipes - some can be very complex including the exact angle of the sun on the jar, and how many times to shake the mixture a week, and with what certain force...I went the simple route: 1. quarter 29 green walnuts (it has to be an odd number) gathered on the feast of St. John 2. place in jar with 2 cloves, 10 g cinnamon sticks, 4 coffee beans lemon peel (no white), and 325 g sugar 3. cover with 1.5 L pure alcohol (readily available everywhere in Italy) 4. let sit in a sunny, warm location for between 48 and 60 days, depending on your superstition of choice 5. shake, spin, twirl or turn the jar, every day, or every other day, or once a week, depending on your superstition of choice 6. after 2 months, add a simple syrup made from 325 g sugar and 400mL water 7. remove from sunny location 8. filter through coffee filters and bottle during the autumn equinox 9. store and consume after 1 year (I know I'll be trying well before that) 10. serve chilled as a digestivo and enjoy

Originally posted June 2007

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