Luxardo maraschino liqueur. To start, this tastes nothing like those neon plastic-y cherries generally associated with “maraschino” (more on those later – the history there is also quite interesting). As one of the oldest European liqueurs (1821), Luxardo is a staple for a well-rounded collection both to recreate classic cocktails as well as modern creations. It’s made by distilling sour marasca cherries (pits included!) and aging for 3 years before it’s diluted and sweetened.
The liqueur is clear and actually tastes quite different from what you might expect from a cherry-based liqueur – it actually does not taste like cherries and has a very unique and potent flavor (a little bit goes a loonnng way!). This is one of very few liqueurs created thru distillation (instead of macerating/infusing a distilled spirit with fruits and/or herbs), which makes this closer to a sweetened brandy, with added complexity from the usage of the cherry pits during distillation to give Luxardo its unique bitter nuttiness. This can definitely transform your drink, though it may be somewhat of an acquired taste (I’m still workin’ on it but can appreciate it).
Here’s a classic:
- 1.5oz gin (try Old Tom gin if you have some!)
- 1oz sweet vermouth (Dolin Rouge, or a mix of Dolin&Carpano)
- .25oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
- 2 dashes bitters (Angostura or mix of ango and orange bitters)
Stir with ice and strain. Garnish with an orange twist.