Today’s to do list:
- Run 5 miles = done/nice run
- Instruct Pilates = great group this morning
- Make a trip through the Aldi construction with a one-year-old for all the legs of lamb they have = 2
- Shop the Earl May clearance for planter = $90 planter pot – 75% off!!
- Trellis wild straw bale tomatoes and cucumbers = they seem sad to be tamed but I’m sure they’ll thank me once they get the hang of their new home
- Laundry = um, maybe later
- Dehydrate nettles for tea = they almost passed for kale chips
- Make beef broth = simmering presently
- Make beet green breakfast smoothie = better than it sounds, but it made for a killer blow-out diaper
- And make Vin de Noix
This is my second attempt at Vin de Noix, which in French means Nut Wine. It should hardly be considered “wine” since it includes a half liter of your choice liquor. But whatever. I like the name. And I like making it.
A French friend tipped me off on the drink. A couple of years ago she was visiting and we made a trip to my family farm. Seeing the bountiful black walnut trees, she mentioned that I should make Vin de Noix. To that point, I’d never heard of the drink. She explained it as a “country drink” using cheap ingredients, or sort of whatever liquor and cheap red wine you have lying around. She told me the steps: you take green walnuts picked only after mid-to-late-June up until mid-July or le Jour de Bastille, July 14, then you quarter them, macerate them in liquor and sugar for a couple months, after that you add several liters of red wine and allow it all to sit months longer. So that was what I had to go on. Pretty easy.
Last year I made a batch. It was not a flop. It was okay. However. After perusing a few, emphasis on a very few Internet recipes, I decided to incorporate some other flavors. One main flavor that all of the three English recipes I found suggested was cinnamon. I also included some vanilla bean, and I think a lemon peel or two. But the cinnamon was overpowering. So in my Cinnamon Wine, it was hard to distinguish the walnut flavor.
This year, no cinnamon. And I delved a bit deeper and found some reputable French resources. I really like this recette, and I followed it pretty closely for my recipe. For extra spices, I just added: cloves, vanilla and coffee beans. She also suggested the use of only 40-50 proof alcohol and if you have something more stout, then water it down. I thought that sounded good. Here’s what I’ve put in my Vin de Noix so far:
- 50 green black walnuts (sounds redundant, but yes, green, unripe nuts from the black walnut tree)
- 2 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 24 cloves (whole)
- 24 coffee beans (whole)
- 2 vanilla beans (sliced lengthwise and cut in about thirds)
- 1/2 liter Gin (last year I used Brandy; Gin may be a mistake but it’s what I had lying around)
- About 1/3 liter of water (or enough water to cover the nuts)
And liquor… and enough water to cover (or if you’re using Vodka or something around 40 proof, then just add enough liquor to cover nuts but no water.)
Don’t forget the spices.
Cover with something that will breathe and allow to sit for a couple of months in a cool, dark place.
After that, I’ll add two liters of red wine. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll strain out everything and just add the red wine to the liquids or keep it together for a while. Last year, I strained everything and just added the wine. We’ll see.
Now, the laundry.