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One of our founding principles at Long Road is that we take no shortcuts, and for us, that starts with the ingredients. 

We take pride in sourcing Michigan grown ingredients and turning them into spirits worthy of admiration. If you know anything about the history of Nocino, you know that the harvesting of ingredients and the care that goes into it is a part of the “magic” of the spirit. 

Nocino is not only an Italian tradition, it is also the stuff of legends. The green walnut liqueur is said to be ancient, consumed by both the ancient Romans and Celtic tribes. 

The preparation of Nocino is linked to witches and the nighttime, giving it an air of mystery and magic. On June 24th, witches would congregate, barefoot, to collect the unripe walnuts intended to craft their Nocino. The liqueur, heralded for its ability to bring wealth, well-being and health, was to be prepared by expert women who gathered them with their bare hands so as to not disperse the magic of the walnuts before making the liqueur.

Today, its use as a digestif and recreational spirit make it a flavorful addition to anyone’s spirit collection. Our Nocino was conceived of with an ancient Italian recipe in mind. According to our Head Distiller, Jordon Muschiana, whose Italian heritage lends itself perfectly to crafting Long Road’s own Nocino recipe, many modern Italian liqueurs and amari are derivatives of recipes that date back hundreds of years. 

Our foundation at Long Road is heavily focused on showcasing the variety of ingredients we can source from Michigan’s diverse agricultural landscape. This makes using the Michigan native black walnut trees, standing tall in nearby Tallmadge Township and Byron Center, an easy choice for us to combine with our base spirit. 

The initial trial batches were made with varying amounts of clove, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg as the main ingredients. 

“The base neutral spirit with its heavy body and light vanilla notes plays along readily with baking spices,” Jordon said. “We tried a variety of other botanicals in an attempt to put a unique  spin on the classic Nocino before we eventually landed on using the main four baking spice ingredients with very specific soaking regimens that give you the Long Road Nocino that we enjoy today.” 

Check out a few Nocino-based cocktails that you can enjoy at home this holiday season! 

Sour Italian

Ingredients needed: Long Road Straight Rye Whisky, Long Road Nocino, lemon juice, simple syrup.

Tools needed: Jigger, shaker, strainer, cocktail glass.

  1. Add 1.5 oz Rye Whisky to shaker.
  2. Add 1 oz Long Road Nocino.
  3. Add 3/4 oz lemon juice.
  4. Add 1/4 oz simple syrup.
  5. Add ice and shake vigorously.
  6. Strain into cocktail glass.
  7. Garnish with lemon peel.
  8. Enjoy!

The Novena

Ingredients needed: Long Road Aquavit, Long Road Nocino, sweet vermouth

Ingredients:

  1. 1 oz Long Road Aquavit
  2. 1 oz Long Road Nocino
  3. 1 oz sweet vermouth

Pour all three ingredients into a rocks glass. Add ice and stir to chill. Garnish with orange peel twist and enjoy!

Nocino Negroni

Ingredients needed: Long Road Nocino, Long Road Gin, Long Road Red Amaro.

Tools needed: Mixing glass, bar spoon, jigger, strainer, glass.

  1. Add 1 oz Long Road Nocino to mixing glass.
  2. Add 1 oz Long Road Gin.
  3. Add 1 oz Long Road Red Amaro.
  4. Add ice and stir evenly.
  5. Strain into glass over large ice cube.
  6. Garnish with lemon twist.
  7. Enjoy!
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