Liqueurs - e.g. Nocino / Vin de Noix

I was going to make a thread about Nocino specifically, but I thought we could use this space to discuss any kind of liqueurs we're making with foraged or homegrown goods.

I'm sure we have all made limoncello. The method for making most liqueurs is the same: extract flavors from a substance with a neutral spirit* (vodka or grain alcohol - I like to use 100 proof), strain, add a syrup, let it mature, and enjoy.

* Though not always - some liqueurs use brandy, rum, or whatever you like as the carrier.

Did you know you can add herbs to limoncello? A couple years ago, I made a version with catnip and lemonbalm added:


It added a lovely complexity, and mellowed it out a bit too.

How about a thai blend of kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass, and Thai basil? I just used the herbs. But I imagine using lime zest as the base would be fabulous too.


Which brings me to nocino...

I was up in Pine last weekend, and noticed the walnuts were a good size and still nice and green. So I gathered as many as I could reach, and recruited my friends to do the same.

We probably got about 30.


I waited a few days, then chopped them up. You're supposed to quarter them, but my poor knife got plenty of abuse just halving them. They do have a shell inside, after all. I assume they are Arizona walnuts (juglans major):


Into the jar they go, with a bottle of grain alcohol, and the remainder of some sauvignon blanc I had:


Doesn't look like I had quite enough alcohol.


Over night, it developed an ominous, inky hue:


I added a few cloves, some lemon verbena, a vanilla bean, and topped it off with 100 proof vodka and sweet vermouth.

After it has steeped for a couple months, I'll strain it, and add a simple syrup, and then wait some more.

I was Googling around, and some people have managed to make something similar with green pecans, which I thought might be useful, since they are more prevalent here in the Valley.

You need to be a member of AZ Herb Forum to add comments!

Join AZ Herb Forum

Email me when people reply –


  • For the adventurous, there is loquat seed liqueur.

    1) Dry the pits in the sun for a few days


    2) Steep in grain alcohol or 100 proof vodka, with a little lemon peel (maybe a vanilla bean too, if you like) for a few weeks


    3) Strain, add simple syrup, and wait. After a few months, you're left with a sweet, delicious, almond and cherry flavored beverage.


    I say this is for the adventurous, because, like peach and apricot pits, loquat pits are known to have a cyanide-like compound in them. So, tipple sparingly. ;c )

  • And on a seasonal note, I just came across this recipe for a prickly pear liqueur recipe, from Italy:

    Cactus Pear Liqueur (Liquore di fico d'india)
    10 ripe cactus pears
    500 ml alcohol 95%bv
    500 ml water
    400 g sugar
    Peel cactus pears. Steep fruit in alcohol for 10 days. It acquires
    from the fruit a dark orange to red color. Remove fruit and add sugar
    syrup. Strain and age for 20 days.

    Though not a liqueur, per se, there is a fizzy beverage from Mexico called "colonche", which is made from fermented prickly pear fruit. From what I understand, you boil down the fruit into a thick syrup, and simply allow it to ferment, for about 20 days.

    I found this out AFTER I decided to try and make a fermented beverage from some nearly rotten prickly pears that a friend gave me. I had them soaking in a bucket of water, when I noticed they were bubbling. Which told me there was fermentation taking place. So I mashed them up, and strained them into a bottle, added a little honey and topped it with an airlock.


    We shall see!

    • I would be interested in trying this liqueur recipe... do I need to hit a brewry supply for an airlock/bottle to make the liqueur, or are those necessary only if you are fermenting?  Or would the liqueur BE fermenting?  Sorry if that's a really obvious question, I am not used to working with alcohols, just vinegars for pickling and canning.  It would be fun to branch out, tho, and I have a bunch of prickly pears that I'm trying to decide what to do with. :)

    • The colonche actually isn't a liqueuer, but a fermented beverage. Sorry I posted two different prickly pear alcohol drinks together. That's confusing.

      No airlock is needed if you leave it open. In fact, after I found the recipe, I reconfigured my set up to do without the airlock. 

      This morning, I set aside a small amount of the liquid - I wanted to keep some of the bug alive. The rest, I reduced on the stove. After allowing it to cool, I added the bit I set aside. 

      Then I poured the whole thing into a crock. I still don't think it reduced enough for adequate sugar to be available, so I added some more honey. Then I covered the crock with a cloth.

      Hopefully it will start bubbling again, and in a few weeks, I'll have a fizzy, yummy drink.

      The closest thing I could find to a recipe was in this report from 1908:

      There are also general instructions in this FAO report:

      And finally, there is this video. It's in Spanish, but at least you can see what the final product is supposed to look like.

    • Ah ha! I think I finally found an exact recipe:

    • I love that 1908 pamphlet!  Aside from tripping down memory lane over the font and style of writing that reminds me of old books I met as a kid, it has a lot of useful info. :D

      The recipe for the fermenting reminds me of ginger beer, which I also like but haven't made myself yet.  Perhaps it's time to give fermentation a go.  If I like it, it will be great, and if I don't, it's only a few tunas to spare for the sake of "science." :)


    • I made some ginger beer a while back - the method is indeed quite similar.

      BTW, there is a big huge lactofermentation discussion here that went on last year, if you're interested:

      Happy fermenting and good luck!

  • You're welcome! 

    Peggy, I saw someone use bourbon as the base for a pecan liqueur, which sounded interesting -- and appropriate. You know, that whole Southern thang going on. ;c )

    However, I have yet to find a specific recipe, or anyone posting the results of their pecan liqueur making experiments. If you do it, I hope you share with us how it goes!

  • You certainly inspired me to make these.  I will have to ask my neighbor if I can pick some pecans!  

    I haven't made limoncello either so I'll have to patiently wait for lemons.

  • Great stuff...I am on my way to the liquor cabinet...:)  Have never made limoncello, but all sounds great..thx for the post

This reply was deleted.