Cocktails with the House Nocino
This is the second year in a row that my nocino has turned out to be (1) disappointing on its own, and (2) the alchemical key that opens up another disappointing bottle on my shelf.
Last year’s tricky spirits were the unaged, 100% rye Wry Moon – too harsh to use in almost any context, but far too interesting to pour down the drain – and a cheap apricot-flavored brandy. With equal parts white dog, cheap apricot, and nocino, you have an excellent “flask cocktail” to take camping or sneak into a movie with.
This year, there’s a watery, confusing rosemary shochu from Seattle’s own Sodo Spirits. There’s my own nocino, which is tannic as all hell – the walnut leaves may have been a mistake. Then there’s some Galliano, which is of course perfectly fine, and black pepper extract. 2:2:1 Shochu:Nocino:Galliano + a couple drops of black pepper extract + an orange twist, and it’s delicious.
I’m still going to let the nocino sit on the shelf for a few months longer, to see if the tannins go away. If they don’t, though, I know how I’ll be getting rid of the nocino and the shochu.