Sunday, September 24, 2006

Homemade Cheer: Nocino & Apricot Wine

Another busy month: my 40th birthday in New York with 10 terrific friends, the after school program started up for the year, my friend Natalie’s baby shower, trying out some yoga classes (I can almost touch my knees), working like mad, and writing tons. But yesterday—a beautiful warm Saturday with just a touch of autumn in the air—I finally managed to get into the kitchen and do something about the muck of Everclear and green walnuts I’ve had on my counter for the past two months.

It doesn't take long for the walnuts to start turning black

Following is my adaptation/merger of the Mount Lassen nocino recipe and the recipe for Vin de Noix II in the Style of Mme Marcelle Fine of Sisteron in Haute-Provence from Aperitif, by Georgeanne Brennan.


- 1 750 ml 151 proof Everclear + 1 cup
- 30 green walnuts Mount Lassen Farms
- 4 cinnamon sticks
- 1 tsp vanilla (use a vanilla bean if you have one)
- 2 nutmegs, crushed
- 1 bottle Bordeaux
- 2 ½ cup sugar


Day 1:

- Pour the Everclear into a jar.

- Quarter the walnuts and add to the Everclear. Be careful! The walnuts stain everything they touch. I wrapped my cutting board in saran wrap and wore plastic gloves.

- Put the lid on and leave the mixture for 1 months

- During this time, the clear liquid containing gem-like green walnuts will turn to motor oil black.

Day 30:

- After 1 month, add the cinnamon sticks, vanilla and nutmeg.
- Put the lid back on and leave for another month.

Day 60:

- After the second month has passed, strain the walnuts and spices out of the liquid.

- Add 1 more cup Everclear to the walnut-infused Everclear.

- Boil the wine and sugar, until the sugar has completely dissolved.

- Wait until the wine/sugar mixture has cooled, and then add to the walnut-infused Everclear.

- Bottle.

- Serve during the holidays.

The liquid will look like motor oil for most of time.

Apricot Wine:

While in the kitchen, I also bottled my Apricot Wine. I made it exactly the same way I made my Strawberry Wine, although straining this time was more difficult. The sediment in the apricot liquid wasn’t as heavy as that in the strawberry liquid, so it shifted around when I was trying to strain it. Also, some of it made it through the coffee filters. Still, it’s pretty yummy. I recommend this recipe with any favorite fruit.

So beautiful during the first days ...

Then oxidization sets in

The joys of straining ...

After the first strain, I let the sediment settle to the bottom,
then strain it out through a coffee filter.
Straining is definitely the most complicated part.