Schubert sent us his recipe. He recommends adding sugar after you’ve fermented the mixture for 6-8 weeks (not before). This will help you control how sweet you want your nocino to be.
Schubert’s favorite alcohol to use is 150 proof potato vodka, preferably Boyd Blair.
(From Christopher Schubert)
Yield: Makes about 1 quart
30 green walnuts, early enough in the season so that they are easily cut with a knife
2 cinnamon stick
5 whole cloves
1-inch piece of vanilla bean
Zest of one lemon, cut into strips using a vegetable peeler
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 liter EverClear (grain Alcohol) or Vodka. Buy the cheap stuff.
1 Rinse and pat dry the walnuts. Cut them into quarters with a sharp chef’s knife or cleaver. Watch your fingers as you are cutting them.
2 Put walnuts, spices, zest, sugar, and vodka into a large glass container. The Everclear or vodka should cover the walnuts. Cover and shake to mix well. Store for 6 weeks, shaking daily. As the days go by you will notice that the color of the Nocino gets darker and darker.
3 When you are ready to bottle, remove the walnuts and solids with a slotted metal spoon. (Again, be careful where you do this, as the walnuts and the Nocino will stain.) Strain the liquid through several layers of cheesecloth into glass bottles. (I’ve seen recipes that call for straining the liquid through coffee filters, which I think would work fine too.) Cork tightly.
Nocino will last for several years if stored in a cool, dry place. The Nocino will initially be rather bitter, but it will mellow over time. It’s best at least a year after it was first bottled.