Since 1821, people have identified Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur by its straw-plaited bottles. Originally it was used to avoid breakage during sea travel. Now it is a staple of the brand, visually pulling it forward on liquor shelves across the globe. Still owned and operated by the sixth generation of the Luxardo family, it is one of the oldest European liqueurs (learn more about the history of Luxardo).
Luxardo Maraschino is a true classic and is one of the most important bottles to purchase if you’re trying to complete your collection at home. Obtained from the marasca, a sour cherry variety exclusively cultivated by Luxardo, it is one of the very few liqueurs in the world produced by distillation. The distillate is allowed to mature for two years in Finnish ash wood vats and is then diluted and sugared. For a nice touch, they leave the cherry pits in with the fruit, which adds a fabulous almond-like flavor. Ultimately, Luxardo is distilled from ripe marasca cherries, their crushed pits, sprigs and leaves, honey, and other ingredients that remain a secret.
One may think this is going to taste like cherries. You might be surprised to hear that they’d be wrong. The nose smells of pine, tree bark and lemon. The taste is sophisticated, but not unapproachable. It may be bit of an acquired taste, but definitely one worth putting the time into. The up front flavor is very floral with a handful of pine and tree bark. The mild nutty mid palette comes from the cherry pits and is very subtle. Luxardo finishes out with a peppermint candy freshness that cleanses the palette nicely. The texture is dense and syrupy, coating the mouth.
Even though it is matured for years in wood vats, you’ll notice it has a clear color. Luxardo Maraschino has a rounded taste and a surprisingly persistent aroma. If you’re planning on starting up a serious collection this is a great place to start. You cannot make the classic Aviation without a bottle of Luxardo on hand. If you do plan to make Aviations at home please garnish your cocktails with a true Luxardo Maraschino Cherry. Those little neon red cherries you see so often just don’t cut it. It is amazing how one little piece of fruit can take your cocktail creation to the next level. It only makes sense to pair the two.
Hint: For dessert try pouring a little Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur over your ice cream. And of course top it with a Luxardo Maraschino cherry.
Under $30 a bottle Here’s a classic cocktail recipe featuring Luxardo Maraschino:
Aviation (one variation)
- 2 oz gin
- 1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
- 1/2 oz creme de violette
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- 1 Luxardo Maraschino cherry