During our last trip to Poland, I spent a couple of nights in Warsaw. The main purpose of my stop in Poland’s capital was to take a cooking class. I added the optional vodka tasting. During the four hours we spent cooking, our instructor served samples of various tinctures. It was the first time I’d tried a Polish Hazelnut Liqueur (Nalewkę z Orzechów Laskowych).
I knew it wouldn’t be long before I tried making my own because I have a fascination with the Polish art of tincture making. So far I’ve made, cherry, raspberry, plum, honey/spice, mandarin orange, lemon, pineapple, orange/spice, and now hazelnut.
The hazelnut tincture reminded me of Frangelico but like most things Polish, less sweet, less syrupy. The Warsaw class was also my first sample of a quince liqueur, so I’m keeping my eye open for quince now.
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Hazelnuts have been around forever. There is evidence of them being cultivated 8,000 years ago. They’re right up there with almonds when it comes to my favorite flavors.
I’m not alone in this. Worldwide production comes to 743,500 tons, with Ferrero SpA using 1/4 of that amount, think Nutella and Ferrero Roche. A much smaller percentage goes into this hazelnut liqueur, but that may be changing soon. 😉
I read recipes on various Polish blogs before deciding to try this, one of three versions on Moje Nalewki. I’ll include notes in the recipe about the many variations you might like to try.
If you need more encouragement, my research also turned up this: “tincture of hazelnut tastes great and supports brain work.” It’s on the Internet, so it must be true, and who doesn’t need a little help with brain work?
It takes 6 – 8 weeks for the hazelnut flavor to seep out of the chopped hazelnuts and into the vodka, so if you put this mixture together right after Christmas, you’ll have a delicious Polish Hazelnut Liqueur (Nalewkę z Orzechów Laskowych) in time for Valentine’s Day.
A Polish hazelnut liqueur, similar to Frangelico but not as sweet
- 25 hazelnuts, shelled and chopped
- .75 liter bottle of vodka
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want your liqueur)
- 1 vanilla bean, split, scrape seeds from the pod
- 2 whole allspice berries
- Add chopped hazelnuts to a large container (that can be sealed) with the vodka, sugar, vanilla bean pod and seeds (I had 1/2 a vanilla bean pod that had already been scraped in a jar of sugar, I used this pod and vanilla sugar in this recipe, it may be why my tincture is lighter than some others) and allspice
- Seal and shake or swirl the container every day until the sugar dissolves
- After 6 – 8 weeks, strain out the chopped hazelnuts and vanilla pod, the mixture may be a little cloudy, let it sit for 4 – 5 days, very fine bits will settle to the bottom leaving you with a beautifully clear liqueur, carefully decant to a new container or siphon out with a turkey baster
Additional options you may want to include one or two of these:
- zest of a lemon
- 4 cloves
- 2 cardomom pods
- cinnamon stick
- zest of an orange
Keywords: Polish Hazelnut Liqueur (Nalewkę z Orzechów Laskowych)
An accountant by trade and a food blogger since 2009, Lois Britton fell in love with Polish cuisine during the years she lived in Poznań, Poland. As the creator of PolishHousewife.com, she loves connecting readers with traditional Polish recipes. Lois has a graduate certificate in Food Writing and Photography from the University of South Florida. She is the author of The Polish Housewife Cookbook, available on Amazon and on her website.