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Luxardo Maraschino
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Luxardo Maraschino PDF Print E-mail
Featured Spirits - Liqueurs

a picture of Luxardo Maraschino
Girolamo Luxardo SpA
Italy

64 proof


The recipe for maraschino liqueur dates back to the early 16th century. Developed by apothecaries at the Dominican monastery at Zadar, Croatia, the liqueur was distilled from both the fruit and leaves of the marasca cherry tree, native to Zadar. Marasca cherries are small and bitter, making them especially good for distillation, but these cherries are also the original base cherry for the maraschino cherries often used in cocktail garnishes.

The Luxardo family got into the maraschino liqueur game in 1817, when Girolamo Luxardo was sent to Zadar as “consular representative of the Kingdom of Sardinia.” While there, his wife began making the cherry liqueur out of her home, as was apparently customary at the time [where is this tradition now!?]. Due to its local popularity, Girolamo brought her recipe into full production in 1821. Tragically, the Luxardo Distillery (and most of Zadar, now part of Italy) was almost completely destroyed by bombings during World War II. Many people in Zadar were killed, including all but one member of the Luxardo family. Thankfully, he rebuilt the distillery and his famous brand following the war.

Luxardo Maraschino, while not the only brand of maraschino liqueur, is by far the most famous and most sought-after. It has a nutty aroma (from the crushed pits of the cherry, which is distilled along with the fruit and leaves), with only hints of cherry. The flavor, too, is nutty and sweet with notes of sour and bitter cherry and an herbal character. It plays a major role in dozens of classic cocktails, including the Aviation, Brooklyn Cocktail, La Floridita Daiquiri, Blood and Sand, Dubonnet Fizz, Pousse-Cafè and Rainbow Pousse-Cafè, Singapore Sling, Tuxedo and The Last Word.