Beech Leaf Noyau and Beech Nut Nocino

Noyaux is French for ‘nut liqueur’ which makes me wonder if the beech nuts (beechmast) were ever used to make a liqueur, as well as the leaves? Here is a tried and tested leaf noyaux recipe and an experimental beech nut nocino!

Beech Leaves

Beech Leaf Noyaux

A bag of young green beech leaves
1 litre of gin
100 g sugar or honey

Gather your beech leave in early May when they are new, young and green. Fill about two thirds of a 1.5 litre preserving jar with leaves. Cover with gin. Close the lid and leave for two weeks. The colour should have changed to a fresh yellow-green and smell a little nutty. Strain after 2 or 3 weeks and compost the leaves.

Dissolve the sugar or honey in a little water and add to the strained gin along with a barman’s measure of brandy. Bottle and keep for 6 weeks – if you can wait that long!

PS I recently discovered a jar I’d forgotten. So it was left ‘on the leaf’ for six months. I’ve strained it off and it is still excellent. So don’t worry too much about timing!

Beech leaf noyau

Beech Nut Nocino

1 litre of grappa (vodka or other white spirit 40 – 45 % vol.)
250g to 400 g sugar (depending how sweet you like liqueurs)
50-60 unripe beech nuts (more or less)
2 roasted dandelion roots

Gather the beech nuts when still green in June before they go hard and brown in the Autumn. Roughly chop the nuts and put into a preserving jar. Pour the alcohol over them, adding the dandelion root. Seal the jar tightly and leave on a sunny windowsill for 4 weeks.

After 4 weeks, strain off the liquid, discarding the nuts. Gently heat the sugar in a little hot water until all the crystals have dissolved. Add the resulting thin syrup to the filtered alcohol. Bottle and leave for another 4 weeks.


  1. How did the nocino turn out, Mo? I’ve just made my first batches of brandy and pomace brandy, so I have to try a Sussex noyaux soon! But green walnut palinka is a favourite of mine, so the beech mast nocino sounds really interesting too.

      • Hi Mo, I had a lot of fun with this in the end. I made a beech leaf noyaux with our Sussex Dry Gin and Sussex Brandy, sweetened with birch syrup and aged in oak barrels. I’m calling it Three Trees at the moment! Didn’t make much this time round, but hoping to do a lot more next year. Will bring some to Wales! Hope you’re well.

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