Last Updated on June 28, 2021 by laurenpacek
Table of contents
- What are Luxardo cherries?
- What makes Luxardo cherries so special?
- What is Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur?
- What kind of cherries should you use?
- What should you do with these Luxardo cherries?
- Can you preserve these cherries?
- What should you make with leftover Luxardo liqueur?
- Looking for other delicious additions to your home bar?
- Where did this recipe come from?
- What equipment will you need to make these cherries?
- Pin this recipe for later!
Homemade Luxardo Cherries (aka Maraschino Cherries) can really elevate a cocktail. They add that special *something*.
What are Luxardo cherries?
They are the OG fancy cocktail garnish cherries.
I bet you have had Luxardo cherries if you've ever ordered a cocktail and it had a really delicious cherry in it as garnish. Either that or maybe it was a brandied cherry. Both are quite good.
What makes Luxardo cherries so special?
I think many of us tend to think about the neon pink/red Maraschino cherries that you buy in the grocery store. These cherries are nothing like those.
So what makes them so different? First of all, they're delicious.
To achieve such a high level of deliciousness, Luxardo cocktail cherries take a bit of a warm bath in, and get their distinctive and delicious flavor from, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur. Plus some sugar and spices, of course.
What is Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur?
According to an article on Epicurious, Luxardo was once a distillery in present-day Croatia (at the time, the area was an Italian province). The company became famous for its cherry liqueur, called Maraschino, made from marasca cherries.
They distilled the liqueur from ripe marasca cherries (a kind of sour cherry), their crushed pits, branches and leaves, honey, and various other secret ingredients.
In the early 1900s, the distillery started selling selling cherries that were candied in a syrup of marasca cherry juice and sugar. And thus, the OG Luxardo cherry was born.
Following World War II, one of the Luxardo family members fled to the Veneto region of Italy, taking with him a marasca cherry tree sapling and the recipe for Luxardo liqueur. Ever since that time, Luxardo liqueurs and cherries have been made in that region of Italy!
While it does have a cherry flavor, you'll also notice floral, piney, and nutty flavors, too. It's really interesting! The pits of the marasca cherries are responsible for the nutty flavors you'll notice.
What kind of cherries should you use?
I used regular old dark red sweet cherries that you'll find at just about any grocery store. You can use sour cherries if you want, too! It's really just a matter of personal preference. Several readers have commented that they've used sour cherries, with good results. You do you.
If you want to use frozen cherries, please bear in mind that several readers have reported that while the flavor of these cherries will be the same as if you used fresh fruit, the texture will likely suffer. Folks have reported that using frozen cherries often results in mushy Luxardo cherries.
What should you do with these Luxardo cherries?
Personally, I'd recommend plopping them into a strong cocktail. As a bourbon lover, I happen to think that they are particularly good in an Old Fashioned.
If you are looking for a non-boozy drink, you can totally plunk these guys into a Shirley Temple. However, because these maraschino cherries are made with a liqueur, I probably wouldn't recommend serving this to your kids.
Don't tell anyone, but I may also be known for eating them out of the jar. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Can you preserve these cherries?
I haven't done it personally, but several readers report that these cherries can be canned! Make a bunch, can 'em, and enjoy homemade Luxardo cherries for a long time to come.
What should you make with leftover Luxardo liqueur?
Worry no longer! If you have leftovers, please consider making my Cheerwine Sangria. You will not regret it.
Or... And just hear me out here... Just make more Luxardo Cherries! They're delicious and great for gift giving. And like I said above, you can can them for later!
Looking for other delicious additions to your home bar?
- You can't go wrong with this easy and delicious Homemade Sour Mix!
- Rosemary Infused Vodka is herbaceous and easy to make.
- Summertime is right around the corner, making Basil Infused Vodka a must-make.
Where did this recipe come from?
This recipe was adapted a bit from the one found at Love & Victory.
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1 cup Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
- 1 lb cherries, pitted and stemmed
- Combine water, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a saucepan, and bring it to a simmer. Stir occasionally as the sugar dissolves.
- Add the Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur and cherries. Stir to coat all of the cherries in the syrup. Cook for 5 minutes to soften the cherries slightly.
- Turn off the heat and allow the cherries to cool. Once cooled, store in the fridge in a tightly sealed jar.
- Readers have let me know that they've used frozen organic cherries in this recipe (instead of fresh) and that it has turned out well! So when cherries aren't in season, or maybe don't look so great, you can still make this recipe and enjoy!
- Readers have also noted that you can make this with sweet or sour cherries, depending on your preferences.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 80 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 13Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 0g
This is based on the estimate that 1 lb of cherries contains approximately 80 cherries.
What equipment will you need to make these cherries?
Not much that's out of the ordinary, but...
- I've found this cherry pitter to be invaluable when making these cherries
- You can store them in Mason jars pretty easily
- Sometimes it's hard to find cinnamon sticks in the regular grocery store (or they're expensive)
Pin this recipe for later!
Old photos from the original blog post are below. Look at your own risk 😉