New Nocino Recipe for 2016

It’s green walnut season again… nope, it’s over. These things are only around for a few weeks, so grab them while you can.

The last time I cranked out a significant batch of nocino was 2010, and I loved it, but my partner in crime at the time found the menthol and herbal flavors too intense (the term she used was medicinal), so this batch is a little warmer, sweeter and less herbal, but still true to tradition.

Five months is more than adequate maceration time, so if you’re already gearing up for Christmas presents, your nocino will be ready just in time. You will also find that it matures and flavors develop in the bottle for up to a year.

Nocino is a fantastic winter warmer, served chilled or over ice after dinner, but also works remarkably well in place of sweet vermouth in classic cocktail recipes and adds great flavor to hearty cold-weather desserts. I’ll post some recipes soon.

 nocino1a

Nocino Nuovo

  • 19 green walnuts, washed and quartered
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 750 ml bottle of vodka
  • 1 cup port
  • Zest of one lemon
  • Zest of one orange
  • 3-inch cinnamon stick
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon Szechuan peppercorns

nocino2b

1. Combine walnuts, herbs and sugar in a glass jar, stir to coat, and set in a warm spot for two days.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients, cap tightly and give it a good shake.
3. Let your infusion sit for at least 4 months, or up to a year, shaking the jar weekly, if not daily.
4. Pour into a clean glass bottle through a coffee filter-lined funnel.

This recipe yields over a liter, and makes fantastic holiday gifts, packaged in small bottles or flasks with a hand-made label and a couple of cocktail recipes.

nocino5a

 

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Three More Equal Parts: The Simplest Cocktail Recipes Expanded

It doesn’t get much easier than this: equal measures of three ingredients to make these six fantastic cocktails from only eight bottles – and now I have an excuse to make a new Venn Diagram (here is last week’s).

three_equal_parts

Stir ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or an old fashioned glass with a big cube of ice.  Garnish with an orange twist.

  • Bijou: 1 ounce Green Chartreuse, 1 ounce gin, 1 ounce sweet vermouth, dash of orange bitters
  • Boulevardier: 1 ounce bourbon, 1 ounce Campari, 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • Contessa:  1 ounce Aperol, 1 ounce gin, 1 ounce dry vermouth
  • Dry Negroni: 1 ounce Campari, 1 ounce gin, 1 ounce dry vermouth
  • Negroni: 1 ounce Campari, 1 ounce gin, 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • Old Pal: 1 ounce Campari, 1 ounce rye, 1 ounce dry vermouth

 

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Three Equal Parts: The Simplest Cocktail Recipes

It doesn’t get much easier than this: equal measures of three ingredients to make these four fantastic cocktails from only six bottles – and now I have an excuse to make a Venn Diagram.

three_equal_parts

Stir ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or an old fashioned glass with a big cube of ice.  Garnish with an orange twist.

  • Bijou: 1 ounce Green Chartreuse, 1 ounce gin, 1 ounce sweet vermouth, dash of orange bitters
  • Boulevardier: 1 ounce rye, 1 ounce Campari, 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • Dry Negroni: 1 ounce Campari, 1 ounce gin, 1 ounce dry vermouth
  • Negroni: 1 ounce Campari, 1 ounce gin, 1 ounce sweet vermouth

 


 

Note: This has been updated since it was pointed out to me that, despite my preference, a bijou is made with sweet vermouth and not dry, so in reconfiguring my original design (below),  and I dropped the Vieux Carré, which was a stretch on the theme, but also delicious without the benedictine, bitters or lemon twist.

3_equal_partsVieux Carré: 1 ounce rye, 1 ounce cognac, 1 ounce sweet vermouth, 1 teaspoon of benedictine, 2 dashes orange bitters, and is garnished with a lemon twist)

 

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Bitters Kits and Cocktail Recipes

bitterskitAlways a hot holiday gift, I’ve expanded my offering of DIY Cocktail Bitters Kits to include new flavors and Mini Bitters Booster Kits. (Underlined text all links to the corresponding item in my online store if you are looking to purchase)

If you’re wondering how to use them, you can start off by replacing the Angostura, orange or Peychaud’s bitters in most any classic cocktail, and here are three excellent drink recipes (1 strong, 1 light and 1 bowl of punch) for each of the flavors I offer.

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Drinker’s Dictionary Volume 2 (Your Input Is Needed)

 

ddv2

One of my most popular posts (thanks, Reddit) and the best-selling item in my Etsy Store are both based on Ben Franklin’s compendium of words and phrases meaning drunk, The Drinker’s Dictionary.

Now, more than 275 years after he published it, it’s time for an update. so I’m compiling the best contemporary terms for “drunk”.

I will publish it here, and etch it into another decanter, to make a matching set with the original.

Add your favorites in the comments box below, and one randomly selected contribution that makes it into the final piece, will earn the contributor a free set of Drinker’s Dictionary Decanters.

Note: depending on submissions, I may exclude profanity from the final list. After all, we want this to be family-friendly list of terms for getting effed-up. If there are a lot of unique, profane and obscene submissions, that may just necessitate me making a third volume, in which case, one of you shit-faced shit-talkers will also get a free set.

B – Bashed, Basted, Besotted, Blitzed, Blotto, Bombed, Boozed up, Buzzed…

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Kerf-Bending Coffee Cup Cuffs

I’ve been so busy developing new gizmos that I haven’t been posting much lately, so here’s a peak at my most recent project. Along with new decanters, including a set with quotes about the spirits they contain, and some DIY cocktail kits with etched bottles, I’ve been working more with wood.

Along with creating woodcut stamps to make fun packaging, I stumbled onto a great new concept. I’m turning rigid sheets of plywood into “koozies” that fit paper coffee cups and pint glasses of beer, to protect your delicate fingers from extreme temperatures. Still testing design and resiliency, but so far results are  impressive. If you’re in SF and want to be an alpha tester, take me out for a cup of coffee and I’ll give you a free cuff.

 

cupcuff

 

Note: Kerf-bending or “kerfing” is using the space created by a saw blade (called the kerf) or in this case, a laser, to create flexibility in an otherwise stiff material. The 1/4-inch plywood I am using for this project is remarkably inflexible, and yet once I’ve sliced it up, I can roll the whole thing up like it’s made of paper.

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