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Infusing Black Walnut into Vodka - What Are the Best Recipes

Updated on September 9, 2016
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Char is a writer who has written for the Freelance Writers International, Yahoo, Constant Content, Squidoo and now Hubpages.

These Are Green Walnuts From My Tree


The Needle Test is the Answer

When your black walnuts appear on the tree in the first part of June, they are growing quite rapidly and the husks are a light green color. If you break them open, you will find a yellow fluid that stains your hands brown and a thin, white nut casing and some liquid. The nuts are not solid at first. My assumption is that the squirrels gnaw through the outside and drink the nut.

What is the needle test? Apparently, if you can poke a needle through the black walnut, it is the right texture inside for making nocino. There is a time that people who make this drink pick their black walnuts. I believe it is June 24. There is a 'Day' in honor of this date.

L. A. Weekly Reports on Scott Peacock

California Nocino

Note: Nocino can be enjoyed immediately after decanting, though we recommend allowing it to sit for a few months to mellow, just in time for holiday celebrations at the end of the year.

Makes: a little over one liter of liqueur

30 green walnuts, quartered

1 liter of 80 proof neutral spirits (vodka, tequila, grain spirits)

2 1/2 cups sugar

Zest from half a lemon (zest from an orange also works well)

2 cinnamon sticks

5 cloves

1. Wash and quarter the walnuts and place in a 1-gallon, wide mouth glass jar.

2. Add sugar and alcohol and stir until sugar is dissolved.

3. Add the remaining ingredients and affix the jar's cap.

4. Allow the liqueur to steep between 40 and 60 days, occasionally shaking the contents to encourage extraction. Decant into clean and sanitized glass bottles using either cheesecloth or a coffee filter in the funnel to filter out sediment. Cork and label.

Postcards from Umbria: Nocino

20 chopped green walnuts, picked from the tree at dawn on the Feast day of St. John the Baptist (24 June) before the dew dries
30 petals of a scarlet rose, dried in the shade
6 whole cloves, crushed
¾ of a cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
the zest of one lemon cut into strips, not grated

Add these all to 1 liter of alcohol in a large glass jug, seal it, and place it in the sun for 40 days, making sure to shake it every day.

After 40 days, prepare a sugar syrup with 500 g of sugar and 500 g of water. Add this syrup to the infusion and strain through filter paper. keep it bottled for 6 months to a year before drinking it, but that’s the young whippersnapper technique. Our older relatives start drinking it the day after it’s filtered.

This Is Umbria


The Guardian of the Nuts


Walnut Stain is Made From Black Walnuts Too

I find it incredible to imagine that people would drink this stuff because you would think it would turn your teeth brown. Walnut stain does a good job turning pine boards to a dark brown color. People like to take the black walnut nutmeats and add them to cookies and banana bread.

How About You

Have you tried Nocino?

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Black Walnut Nocino

Ideas for Infusion


Making Vodka


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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Well, I missed tasting Nocino when I went to Umbria. Another reason to go back. This is the first time for me to see walnuts not in nut form. Still have to see the tree.


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