“Procrastination makes the heart grow fonder” said no one, ever. I am a world class putter-offer which guarantees me a job paving that road to hell. Back at the end of summer, I planned all sorts of things to do with walnuts. We have several trees on the farm and I often forget to harvest any till it is too late. This year I had the best of intentions to harvest some of the green nuts and make my own Nocino Walnut Liqueur. That did not happen, but life provides. Won’t you please join me now, as we stand and make the Nocino Sour.
This drink comes to us from Indiana’s Cardinal Spirits to showcase their seasonal limited edition Nocino. This traditional Italian liqueur is made with unripened, green walnuts and has an unusual mellow earth flavor like nothing else. I had found a couple of recipes and consider making my own, but I let my walnuts ripen and did not have the patience to wait for next year’s crop, so I was excited to find this one at the store. I love Cardinal’s Songbird Coffee Liqueur, so I knew they made good stuff and this particular elixir of the early autumn forest gods is wonderful. They say you can drink it neat, mix it into cocktails or pour it over ice cream. All excellent options, but only one fits our purposes are, so let’s make a cocktail.
Grab your tins and pop in 1 1/2 ounces of Nocino, I chose Cardinal Spirits out of Indiana; 3/4 of an ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 an ounce of Demerara syrup, 1/4 ounce of sweet vermouth and 3 drops of 18-21 Prohibition Bitters. Add ice and give it a good shake to the beat of “And We Danced” by The Hooters because you need more melodica music in your life. You know this be true. When your tins are good and cold, strain into a chilled glass and garnish with a Luxardo Cherry on a pick with an abundance of lemon peel only made possible by a good channel knife.
That is surprisingly nice. Of course, it would be, the ingredients are all lovely on their own, but I was concerned that the vermouth might try to jump to the forefront, instead it adds a nice, mildly acidic base to the drink. I was sold on this one as a good winter holiday drink and I am not getting that, but it is lovely. Nice and fragrant, a good carrier for that walnut liqueur, a bit on the sweet side for a sour, but a nice after dinner drink, indeed.
I should know better than to put things off. Who am I kidding, I do know better. Realistically, we only have so many more seasons to make hay while the sun is shining. Even if we get way more than we expect, there are only a few more summers when the kid is paying baseball, before he is off with his kid playing baseball. There are a limited number of opportunities left to sit with the grandma shucking corn on the back porch. We all know this, so why do we let life get in the way of living? The older I get the more I begin to wonder if it is because we know that the clock is running down. That sometimes, it is a little too uncomfortable to take part in those little rituals because you fear their ending. Which is crazy. It doesn’t do any good to sit on the sidelines worried because someday the dance will be over, but it happens. All too easily, if you let it. I know I’d give a lot to sit and talk to my grandfather one more time. A pain made all the more poignant when I consider how often I had the time to visit and did not. Take the time to “gather ye walnuts while ye” may for we know not whether the season shall pass again. Isn’t that wonderful? How boring would it be if we knew how long we had? I guess the point is to make your time count and don’t put off the little things in life, because, for the most part, they are the ones that truly matter when it is all said and done. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.