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Turning Green Walnuts into Nocino, Liqueur de Noix

One of the many things I love about Europe is how there is a reason and a season for everything. In France and Italy, June is the month for making a fortified wine with green walnuts – Liqueur de Noix (French) or Nocino (Italian). Intended as a digestive, this drink is strong at roughly 30% alcohol. The sweeter, and less alcoholic, version is called vin de noix. The vin de noix is served either as an aperitif (like a sherry) or as an after-dinner drink.

The recipe found below is straightforward. However, it requires a bit of advance planning as green walnuts are only available for a short period. And, according to some the best ones are picked on June 24th – the Fête de St Jean. The walnut is associated with Saint Jean the Baptist the Jewish preacher who baptized Jesus in the River Jordan. His feast day is June 24th, a holiday celebrated in France, Italy, Spain and the Canadian province of Quebec. It’s also the day to collect (or buy) green walnuts and begin making this liqueur.


Nocino Liqueur de Noix Green Walnuts

Nocino or Liqueur de Noix

This recipe is based on one given to me by my cousin Mary.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine French
Servings 2 Bottles (750ml)


  • 30 Green Walnuts see source info below
  • 3 1/2 cups Sugar
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 10 Cloves
  • zest of one lemon cut in pieces
  • 2x 750 ml bottles Grappa see note below


  • Wash and quarter the walnuts. Places them in a large glass jar with a tight-fitting lid.
    Green Walnuts for Nocino Liqueur de Noix
  • Add the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, and cinnamon. Pour in the grappa, and stir.
  • Cover and let sit for 40 days, shaking the container every once in a while. Don’t be alarmed – the contents will start turning brown (a walnut brown, naturally) – very quickly.
  • After the 40 days, strain through a fine-meshed sieve that is lined with cheesecloth into bottles. Seal the bottles, and let age in a dark, cool place for at least 3 months, preferably longer, before serving.


If you are lucky enough to be in Italy, France or Spain head out and pick your green walnuts. If not, here is my source. I got my walnuts from Haag Farm in California. This isn’t an endorsement or advertisement, simply information. The quality was excellent.
Note: Mary does not like using grain alcohol or even vodka to make Nocino. She reported that the Italians she knows use grape alcohol, which is not easily available in the U.S. Based on this information, I opted for grappa, and it worked beautifully.
Keyword Liquor, Walnuts, Wine
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David Scott Allen

David Scott Allen

David Scott Allen is the author, photographer, and cook behind Cocoa & Lavender, a weekly food blog based in Tucson, Arizona. Passionate about travel, he especially enjoys eating traditional foods and learning local customs, whether in the United States or around the globe.

David's first trip to France took place when he was 14, and he returned as often as possible thereafter. However, it wasn't until his 50th birthday that he finally made it south to Provence. The beauty, history, charm, warmth, cuisine, and - of course - the rosé wines captured his heart. He shares his Provençal recipes here on Perfectly Provence, and his food and wine pairings monthly on the Provence WineZine.

David is a firm believer that sharing a meal with friends around the table is one of life's greatest pleasures. And if it happens to be in Provence, all the better!

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