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Jim Dixon

Nocino (Green Walnut Liqueur) & Vin de Noix

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Not to get too Seattle-centric, but Mrs. Cooks at University Village has large flip-lid canning jars (which are also useful for brandied plums...)

~A

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Just an update on the project:  After two weeks the little walnuts I used had come nowhere near to turning the solution dark, much less black.  It was a very pleasant bourbon colored liquid, which didn't seem right.  So I picked another handful of walnuts off of the tree that had two weeks more maturation on them.  Now the liquid is darkening, though is still not going to pass for motor oil. 

A question for other nocino makers-  Are your walnuts English or Black?  My walnuts are  Black, and much rounder than the oblong things pictured here... Do we know whether one or the other type makes a better nocino?

I believe mine are English walnuts.

I'll be straining, adding syrup, and bottling in another week or so.

Mike

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Ok, here's what I finally did. I used two 2 1/2 gallon water bottles. Into each I dumped 750 mls of inexpensive French brandy and 500 grams of sugar. To each I added 4 litres of drinkable (but nothing more) red wine, 15 green walnuts, cut in quarters, and 4 walnut leaves. Into one I also put a cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, and 3 star anise pods. Voila, c'est tout!

I am so hoping that it will be good. Most of the recipes I saw said to leave it until Christmas, but I'll probably have the first tasting for Thanksgiving. Thanks again to Jim Dixon for the walnuts. eG has such generous and cool members. Winesonoma sent me wine for the 4th of July party, Jim sent walnuts....it's time for me to send something to someone, I can see that!

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If it was me, I'd avoid prolonged contact with high ethanol content stuff and plastics, especially the thin and flimsy ones used for water. Even though those plastics are food safe, I think I can taste what they leech into the booze, and they're not really intended to be reused. You can find fairly large flip top Italian glass jars at Cost Plus (all the way down to smaller ones), but a brewery shop is a really good resource for glass carboys and they're not that expensive.

I like a lot less sugar in mine, which would probably explain why I prefer it before dinner and not after. You'll probably want to consume this faster then if you hadn't used the spices, they tend to dominate the flavor after about 6 months and you can't taste the walnut as much.

regards,

trillium

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Hmm, I hope you're wrong about the plastic! Because of the narrow mouth of the water jugs, there's no way to get the walnuts and leaves back out, without cutting the whole thing open. On the French thread I read about using plastic jerrycans, so I assumed that a food grade plastic would be ok. I'm wary of plastics myself, but am just keeping my fingers crossed on this one. Unless I now get consumed with worry, go invest in glass jars, and cut the whole project up, that is.

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I'm wary of plastics myself, but am just keeping my fingers crossed on this one.  Unless I now get consumed with worry, go invest in glass jars, and cut the whole project up, that is.

Abra, how were you going to get the walnuts out when the wine was done? :)

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I was just going to leave the walnuts in the jugs and let the wine filter itself out through the water spigot.

Does everyone think it's nuts to use plastic?

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I don't think its nuts to use plastic, but I'm pretty leery of the stuff: specifically, I don't reheat things in plastic anymore, even the thicker tupperware-type containers. I was under the impression that plastic food-safe containers were relatively stable unless they were heated. On the other hand, I'm not a chemist (nor do I play one on TV) and alcohol is a pretty powerful solvent.

And then I read on the vin d'orange thread that Lucy's mother-in-law specifically says not to steep the fruit in plastic because it "does funny things to the wine, and makes the caps pop off the finished bottles". :unsure:

If you get glass canning jugs, you can empty them when you're done (and reuse them for making brandied plums. ;) ) Since all of my canning supplies are in storage for a few more weeks, I'm using temporary steeping vessels for my nocino and blood-orangecello: a 3-gallon glass jug from the foodservice store -- like the kind you see aqua fresca in at taquerias -- and a 1-gallon glass canister with a rubber-gasketed lid, bought on clearance at Pier 1. Neither of them were very expensive.

Good luck!

~A


Edited by ScorchedPalate (log)

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Ok, if Lucy's MIL says non, then it's non! I have 1/2 gallon jars and will make a big mess and transfer the stuff tomorrow. Rats.

I never heat in plastic either, and I tell my clients not to do it.

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Ok, if Lucy's MIL says non, then it's non!  I have 1/2 gallon jars and will make a big mess and transfer the stuff tomorrow.  Rats.

I never heat in plastic either, and I tell my clients not to do it.

might be too late now, but for future use, the "container store" has all kinds of large jars. That's where I got mine.

I was thinking about removing the spices after a few months as well. Abra, stuff like star anise can be very overpowering. I used a cinnamon stick, vanilla and a couple of cloves.

Elie

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I'll have a little taste when I move the wine to glass, and if the spices are threatening to become overpowering, I'll take them out then. I won't be able to get to it for a few days, though, so I hope the plastic behaves itself in the interim.

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Don't stress out about it! People are drinking wine out of boxes and living to tell the tale, I just thought I'd throw that out for next time.

If you end up using glass carboys the nuts are easier to remove if they're quartered, not halved, when you're done.

We finally bottled our vin de noix from last year, and the vin d'orange we made with Seville oranges in December. They'd been in glass carboys in the cool dark basement. I am lazy and never filter them but the partner was bottling a batch of beer and took it over and filtered everything through coffee filters and I have to say it's much prettier that way. The brewery store sells those plastic and cork toppers that fit into old wine bottles for around $0.30 each. We use those when we run out of the flip top bottles. Corking is better but a big pain that we reserve for big batches of fruit wines and mead that has to age for years and years. The vin de noix has already aged in bulk, so I'm guessing we'll be drinking it up in the next year or so. The vin d'orange never lasts through summer.

I'm really happy with how the vin de noix tastes, it's has Punt e Mes overtones with a nut fragrance. I'm going to have to take a bottle to the guys at the wine shop who picked out and ordered the $5/bottle red for me. It's inspired me to revist making vermouth and bitters this fall.

regards,

trillium

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My vin de noix is now completely black in color, looking good! I stirred it yesterday. Smells really good. I think I might take the spices out. I'll taste tonight and see. This past weekend at a party they served some sangria in some really pretty jars. I took a picture and will post it tonight. :smile:

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I have tasted it - and I love the pepper (poivre long). The star anise is present and I'm pulling it from the brew because I don't want it to develop any more, it might assert itself too much, I am so glad that you mentioned it and I caught it on time! However, the pepper is just amazing, it is present right at the front and then as the flavor of the nut develops on your tongue it goes away and the nuts come through. I imagine when it's done and bottled I'll make spicy sesame crackers and serve mini chevre and bleu tartines to compliment out the peppery nut wine. Although I used Maple syrup to sweeten, you can't taste the maple sugar flavor, and my guess was about right for the sweetness. I suspect that it will take on even more nut flavor in the coming weeks.

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Lucy - I am glad it is turning out well. I agree about the long pepper, I have made Hippocras ( Ypocras in French?) a few times and the addition of this spice really likes the other flavours. It is quite a hot spice though, do you detect heat in the vin de noix?

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Lucy - I am glad it is turning out well. I agree about the long pepper, I have made Hippocras ( Ypocras in French?) a few times and the addition of this spice really likes the other flavours. It is quite a hot spice though, do you detect heat in the vin de noix?

It's pulling something out of the vermouth I added, I would also say that all of the pepper flavor instead of being heat in the mouth, is present at the outset in the nose, and a very brief high flash of black pepper flavor that completely dissapears into the nuts - I would not describe it as heat, though.

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That is interesting, long pepper (Piper longum and Piper retrofractum) is highly aromatic and I get nutmeg/cinnamon aromas, but it also has a higher concentration of piperine then back pepper (Piper nigrum), so tastes hotter.

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I has only been steeping for about 2 weeks yet, I'm going to leave it for another month. I may remove the pepper at some point, because it is already prevalent. I don't want it to overpower anything. As long as the flavor stays up on top I'll leave it in. If it gets close to heating the mouth I'll remove them.

Adam, can you tell me something about Hippocras? Sounds very interesting.

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Adam, can you tell me something about Hippocras?  Sounds very interesting.

This site has a good description and some historical recipes. I have seen modren versions for sale in Lyon ~ 10 years ago as well.

I made mine with a sweet Jurancon (which is in no way traditional, but what the hell), long pepper, grains of paradise, cinnamon, star anise, mace, cloves and ginger.

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Wow, grains of paradise. I have those, although no long pepper. Maybe if I remove the star anise I'll add a few grains of paradise. Cool idea!

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I've had mine in a sealed jar in the basement now for about a month.

There was some black coloring at the top in the begining; but, since, not much change in color.

Is it oxidation that causes the color change or exposure to light?

At this point mine is, 16 walnuts quartered, a few pieces of lemon zest, and about a bottle of vodka.

-Erik

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Yes its oxidation that makes walnuts go black.

Stir it a bit and leave the top off

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I just sampled a few tablespoons of both the Vin De noix and the nocino yesterday, it's been more than a month since they have been aging. Remember the sweetness I was afraid of in my Vin, well it's more or less gone. Instead the falvor is amazing, very earthy, slightly sweet and rich, with a mild undertone of walnut. The spices in there are present but not overpowering so I opted to keep them in.

The Nocino's flavor profile is very different. In addition to the much higher alcohol (this needs some dilution), the walnut flavor is much more present, probably due to the higher alcohol that coaxed more soluble walnut oils out. The sweetness of the Nocino is also more evident than the Vin and I can detect the faint flavors of lemon peel and cloves in the background.

Overall I am very pleased with the results so far and am looking forward to the final results.

Elie

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My Nocino,

see here for more details, should be mature (40 days) today and I will be straining it and bottling it soon. So, what should I do with the walnuts? I do not want to throw them away. I was thinking maybe use them to infuse some fortified wine to make a type of aperitif. Does that sound reasonable? I also read they can be chopped up to use in desserts. Any thoughts?

Elie

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So, what should I do with the walnuts? I do not want to throw them away. I was thinking maybe use them to infuse some fortified wine to make a type of aperitif. Does that sound reasonable? I also read they can be chopped up to use in desserts. Any thoughts?

Elie

Mine have a strange gritty texture, which wouldn't be so great in desserts, I don't think... Don't know what to do with them.

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