Nocino – The Magick of the Summer Solstice in a bottle

Nocino – The Magick of the Summer Solstice in a bottle

June, 2023- Jenni Love

Picture it, Sicily, 1322... it’s the evening of June 23rd and you’re a barefoot virgin, who’s dressed in white and who is about to scale an old walnut tree for some dude name John.


The above scenario was just part of an ancient Italian ritual for making the “witches’ liqueur” known as Nocino (no-CHEE-no).  Nocino is a liqueur whose main ingredient, and relevant magick, is Black Walnuts.  More specifically, unripe, still on the tree, still green, soft, Black Walnuts.

I don’t know about you, but I want to drink a charmed elixir, made by barefoot virgins, dressed in white, under the light of the Moon… just sayin’.

I digress.

Walnut trees are famous for being sacred to witches, especially in Italy and Sicily.  Their magick is diverse, immense and ageless.  Their capability to weather the harshest elements and still bear fruit is just one of the reasons the tree was considered holy by some.   Subsequently, due to this association with witches, the tree was later considered a “bad omen”.  The Romans deemed the tree baneful as Black Walnut does not let anything grow under it.   Conversely, the fruit or nuts (or noci as they are called in Italian) are considered favorable, bountiful and often strewn about at weddings and celebrations because of the good fortune they bring.  There was not ONE holiday growing up that walnuts were not prominently displayed on the table, usually brought out with dessert.  The fruit or nuts were also known as ‘Jupiter’s nuts’ which the gods themselves dined upon while man ate acorns. Veneration of the Walnut tree was so vast and widespread that a very famous walnut tree in Benevento, Italy, was destroyed in the 7th century siting “questionable forms of worship being practiced at the tree.” 

An ancestor of Ron Desantis, perhaps?

And even though ‘tree worship’ was all but eradicated throughout Europe, the walnut tree continued to be associated with magickal powers.  

In order to make this elixir, by magickal decree of a congress of witches, on Saint John’s Night, the aforesaid barefoot virgin dressed in white must; ascend the walnut tree and collect the fruit in odd numbers on the night between the 23rd and 24th of June.  The walnuts must be left out overnight to cosmically be charged and to collect the vital solstice dew.  The next day, the liqueur itself must be prepared by an ‘expert woman’ and no tools made of iron must ever touch the walnuts or the cordial.  The walnuts are quartered and covered in alcohol.  Other spices and ingredients are then added for their potency, magick, healing and taste.  This magick usually varies from family to family.  Recipes are kept top-secret and are passed down through lineage.   Finally, our concoction brews until the eve of Ognissanti – All Saint’s Day, the 31st of October.  Nocino must never be tasted before November 3rd and must be bottled and stored in a cool place until the next Winter Solstice.

This potion is meant to be shared when the nights are dark, cold & long, with the ones we love to ward off the most ghastly of evil and baneful spirits. 

Whew… that’s intense!


Basic Recipe


  • Rubber gloves for cutting up the green walnuts, to avoid black staining on hands and nails
  • A wide-mouth jar with a good sealing lid.
  • A fine cheesecloth or jelly bag
  • Bottles to store the finished Nocino in


  • 29/31 green walnuts {always odd number}
  • 1 quart (or more, depending on jar size) vodka, grappa, aquavit, or other white spirit
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 vanilla bean (optional)
  • 1 pound sugar

Gather the green walnuts directly from a tree; you won’t find them for sale.

***If you encounter a hard shell forming inside the nut, it’s too old to use for Nocino.

Wear Gloves – even though they are green - walnuts stain everything.

Wash and quarter the green walnuts.

***Don’t forget your gloves. Did I mention the walnuts will stain everything?

Place all the things in the jar – except sugar – cover with alcohol.

Shake the jar daily.  Color will darken.

Add sugar at the beginning of week 5.

Continue to shake the jar daily for 2 more weeks.

Strain on week 7

Nocino mellows and is best a year after bottling.

Nocino smells like fresh baked gingerbread cookies, figs, leather and oak.

Its aromatic, nutty & bittersweet.



So let’s bring Nocino and its magick into 2023, shall we?

This ‘must have’ witch’s spirit is still made and purchased today.  In fact, a famous company from the region where the famed Benevento Walnut Tree once stood continues the tradition.  Liquore Strega is an Italian herbal liqueur produced since 1860. 


This little-known liqueur has many healing qualities as well.   Nocino would make a perfect hot toddy in the winter months to keep sickness at bay.  Consider elderberry syrup or four thieves’ vinegar, I believe Nocino to be comparable in medicine and in magick.   There are even claims of topical benefits and skin rescue. Health, well-being, prosperity and protection are just some of Nocino’s magickal claims. It’s linked to the feminine and therefore witches in general.  There is an inherent balance of the light and the dark, having its beginnings on the Summer solstice and its finale on the Winter Solstice.  Even its slow decent from light green fresh walnuts to a deep dark magickal potion, mimics that of our own lives reminding us that there is sweetness in the dark. It’s perhaps the perfect addition to any witch’s cabinet.


The numerous magickal and medicinal qualities of Nocino have certainly contributed to the mystique of the Italian witch, along with the specificity of the collection ritual. It’s clear where particular legends of the Italian witch originated. You can see just how engrossed some Christian traditions are in their Witchcraft history.


Perhaps this Summer Solstice I will hear stories about some of you, high in the trees on a hot summer night choosing just the right Black Walnuts for your magick Nocino – The Witches’ Liqueur.

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1 comment

This is an awesome Blog! So interesting but I think I will pass on making Nocino. It is very complicated and I am far from a virgin! LOL. I’d be happy to drink some of that magic while barefoot under the moon though, if someone else makes it!


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