Rosetta's Nocino (Walnut Liqueur) Recipe

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    • #3344
      Michael Horne

      Personally I enjoy some of the bitter-but-sweet aperativi and digestivi of Italy (think Campari, Averna, Aperol…), but what I really enjoy are the very-local concoctions made from nuts, roots & herbs. In Italian restaurants, these peculiar liqueurs are usually rolled out after a big meal as a digestivo – something that help your digestion.

      Many years ago while Teresa and I were exploring the Naples area, we ran across Nocino, a liqueur made from green walnuts. We had just finished an amazing lunch of 40-day-old lamb (solo latte!) and spring peas at a tiny osteria on the far side of Mount Vesuvius, when the family patriarch brought us 2 glasses of this dark brown elixir. One taste and we were astonished.

      Nocino has a distinct bitterness balanced with a sweet herbal finish that is rather pleasing, particularly after dinner. It’s tough to find here in the States, and probably best to look for it at your local liquor store (since it’s usually 60-80 proof).

      I just happened to run across this recipe by Rosetta Costantino, author of My Calabria: Rustic Family Cooking from Italy’s Undiscovered South, and I thought I’d pass it along.  It’s not hard to make, though you may need to wait til mid-June to find green walnuts to use for the recipe.

      green-walnutsNocino (Walnut Liqueur)

      By Rosetta Costantino
      Published: June 24, 2010

      June 24 is the day when people in Calabria and throughout Italy start the process of making nocino.  June 24 happens to be San Giovanni’s day  (St John’s day) and tradition has it that the green walnuts must be picked on this day to make the best nocino.

      Nocino is a dark-colored liqueur with a hint of spice, and  is typically served cold. It is considered a digestive in Italy but I like to use it in desserts. I make a walnut cake (the recipe will be in my book) that I serve with a custard sauce flavored with nocino and it is so good! I also drizzle it over ice cream…


      Michael Horne, CS
      Los Gatos, CA USA
    • #3349
      Teresa H

      I have June 24 marked on the calendar!

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