By Jeremy Bowers
Looking for a distinctive and bitter ingredient for your short winter cocktails? The Tuscan green walnut liqueur nocino (no-CHEE-no) might be for you. Nocino is traditionally spiced with cinnamon and clove, two flavors that pair well with the holiday season. The walnuts are picked in the summer and macerated until January, when they are bottled and left to rest until March.
Francesco Amodeo of DC distiller Don Ciccio & Figli’s says his nocino recipe was first recorded by his grandfather in 1931. His grandmother perfected it years later and it’s her recipe they use today.
Amodeo sources unripe walnuts from a farm in California. In late June, he splits and macerates the soft green walnuts in a neutral grain spirit. Cinnamon, cloves and other spices are added in September. The spirit rests “until it is ready,” according to Amodeo, and they bottle it by January. He prefers to use as little sugar as possible, because he likes to “let the walnuts speak for themselves.” Don Ciccio & Figli serve The Alexis at their tasting room / bar at 6301 Kansas Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20011. Only 520 cases were produced this year. Available in March 2017 at their tasting room (Saturdays, 1–6pm) or online. http://donciccioefigli.com/nocino/
- 1 ounce bourbon
- 1 ounce Don Ciccio & Figli Nocino
- 1 ounce Don Ciccio & Figli Amaro delle Sirene
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- 1 orange peel, twisted
Stir the liquors together with ice. Pour into a coupe; splash the bitters; add the orange twist.