Vin de noix

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 untitled-41 (2)
  • 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

untitled-34 (2)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)

Quarter walnuts

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Add sugar

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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.)

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Don’t forget the spices.

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Cover with something that will breathe and allow to sit for a couple of months in a cool, dark place.

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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.

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