Liqueur de noix
Makes two jars 1 quart (1L)
Adapted from Room for DessertUse the absolute (not ‘Absolut’) cheapest vodka you can find. It’s lunacy to use something pricey when the least-expensive swill yields similar results. And believe me, French peasants ain’t cracking open bottles of Stoli to make this.Be very careful cutting the walnuts. They’re tough and if you’re not careful, the knife can slip. I use a cleaver, tap it into the skin of the green walnut, then lift the cleaver and whack it down on the cutting board to split it, keeping my other hand well out of the way.Note that each batch of liqueur de noix will be different. I’ve made some that were lovely and sweet, others that had a distinctive bitter edge. For the first few days, the steeping walnuts will take on a extraterrestrial-green hue, which is normal. After a week or so, it’ll get darker and darker.
2 1/2 cups (500g) sugar
1 liter vodka
2 sticks cinnamon
10 whole cloves
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
in zest of one lemon, unsprayed, removedwide pieces with a vegetable peeler
30 green walnuts; washed, dried, and quartered
1. Mix everything in a large jar, one that will be big enough to hold everything. Stir until the sugar is mostly dissolved, then add the walnuts.
2. Tightly close the jar and let stand for two months on the counter, shaking the jar every day.
3. When it’s ready to bottle, filter the liqueur through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and pour into a clean bottle.

Storage: Liqueur de noix will keep for years stored in a cool, dry place. I use to keep mine in the refrigerator, but now I store it on my liqueur shelf and haven’t noticed any difference.