What if I told you that Nocino can become a special ingredient for creating excellent cocktails ready to be poured and enjoyed in company?
If you think that our beloved Nocino is just “after dinner” stuff, this article will turn your ideas upside down.
Ready to change your way of seeing this traditional liqueur?
Nocino: the digestive of the Modena tradition
If you don’t know Nocino, let me take a step back.
One of Modena’s many excellences, Nocino is the traditional digestif, an ancient liqueur obtained from the infusion of walnuts.
Although it is found all over Europe, in Modena it has become a specialty protected and promoted by the Order of Nocino Modenese.
The ingredients at the base of its preparation are: alcohol at 95 degrees, sugar, walnuts, cloves and cinnamon (optional and in small doses).
Being a home-made preparation, there are many recipes for Nocino (the original, however, is kept by the Order).
Tradition has it that walnuts must always be in an odd number, harvested locally, on the night of St. John, June 24th.
Yes, because an aura of legend remains in its preparation, which tells of witches and spells and which has been transmitted from generation to generation in the family preparation of this liqueur.
The walnuts are harvested while still immature and provided with the “husk”, the pulp or fibrous mass that surrounds the fruit, cut into 4 and closed together with the sugar in a glass container, to be kept in an area partially exposed to the sun, stirring occasionally and adding alcohol and any flavorings.
Only after 2 months can the contents be filtered and bottled, strictly in dark glass, or in small wooden casks.
Stored for at least 12 months, Nocino will take on a bright brown color, with a predominant aroma and flavor of walnut, moderate density and sweetness and a balanced alcohol content.
Nocino is usually consumed after a meal, as a digestive, at the end of the most typical dinners.
But this is where the beauty comes in…
From digestive to cocktail
I love drinking nocino and in all honesty I have always been a traditionalist, consuming it at the end of a meal…. until I tried it in a cocktail!
To be precise, until I got to know the reality of Toschi more closely, one of the historic companies in the Modena area, to which I dedicated an article: “Toschi Vignola: cherries but not only!”, which I recommend you go read.
Among the various excellences, Toschi also produces Nocino, which aged at least 2 years, follows and respects the production regulations of the “Tradizione e Sapori di Modena” brand.
Obviously Toschi offers his Nocino di Modena in the more classic version but he had the intuition to think that our traditional liqueur could also become a perfect ingredient for daring cocktails by proposing the Nocino Cocktail Experience, which was presented just recently on the market.
The challenge is to be able to make more people appreciate this product of our tradition by presenting it in a totally different moment of consumption and thus opening up its knowledge to younger generations and to people who do not necessarily live in the Modena area.
The goal is to get the Nocino out of our borders to enhance its enormous qualities.
But once again that’s not all…
Nocino Cocktail Experience: what does it consist of?
The Nocino Cocktail Experience is a box that contains a 50 cl bottle of Nocino di Modena Toschi and 2 “ready to serve” packs of NIO Cocktails based on Nocino.
So, Nocino-based cocktails yes, but ready to pour into a glass with ice.
If you don’t know NIO Cocktails, I’ll explain immediately what they are.
Patrick Pistolesi’s idea of packaging all types of cocktails in “practical formats, beautiful to look at and good to taste, as if they just came out of the shaker” was born to bring each of us, even the less experienced, to experience the “Cocktail Experience ” exceptional in your own home.
Not all of us are expert barmen and approaching the art of Mixology is by no means immediate.
Thus, thanks to NIO Cocktails, a glass and a little ice is enough!
Together with Toschi, therefore, NIO Cocktails meets the great Italian tradition of the Nocino di Modena in 2 exclusive proposals: the Nocino Downtown and the Into the Wild.
I bet I’m intriguing you, right?
The 2 Nocino-based cocktails of the Nocino Cocktail Experience
Nocino Downtown is an interpretation of the classic and timeless Old Fashioned, where Bourbon Bulleit marries with the warm and enveloping notes of Nocino of Modena Toschi. The addition of Vermouth di Torino Cocchi makes the cocktail perfectly balanced and enriches it with spicy and vanilla notes.
The result is an “old-fashioned” cocktail, for sophisticated palates who know how to appreciate the strong taste of whiskey and things done well as they once were.
Ingredients: Nocino of Modena Toschi | Bourbon Bulleit | Coconuts Vermout | Angostura | Waterfall
Into the Wild is, on the other hand, a perfect cocktail to be enjoyed both before and after dinner.
The warm and enveloping soul of the Nocino rises in this cocktail with the robust herbaceous notes of the DOM Benedictine, a unique and refined liqueur, which owes its particularity to the infusion of 27 different herbs and spices in the brandy and aged in oak barrels. The skilful balance with Vermouth Bianco Cocchi makes it refreshing but at the same time meditative, perfect for refined aperitifs but also for an after-dinner in front of the fireplace.
Ingredients: Nocino of Modena Toschi | Dom Benedictine Liquor | Americano White Coconuts | Citric Acid | Toschi Liquid Sugar | Waterfall
Serving both drinks is very simple and you can find instructions on each package.
Just shake, tear off the corner of the package and pour over ice in a tumbler glass.
If you want to try this incredible Nocino di Modena-based tasting experience, you can find the box in the best supermarkets.
To do but also to give at Christmas!
What struck me about this idea is the practicality and the possibility of really enjoying excellent Nocino-based cocktails without having to prepare anything.
Nocino is a liqueur that I love and finding it in this version pleasantly surprised me.
I recommend it (but always drink responsibly, please)!
A toast to the Holidays!
In collaboration with Toschi Vignola