We all, I am sure, remember our Nan’s cherry brandy on the sideboard at Christmas; and then there is the cherry alcohol one uses for fondue. They are very much part of the ‘spirit’ family of drinks. Then there is Maraschino Luxardo, which is a sweet liqueur, and an indispensable bottle behind any bar with a passionate barperson in front.
Maraschino Luxardo is a popular liqueur made from Marasca cherries grown near Padova, in Northeast Italy, and it’s been around for a while. This isn’t a new kid on the cocktail block. Girolamo Luxardo was sent to Zara, capital of Dalmatia, as consular representative of the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1817. His wife Maria Canevari wanted to reproduce a liqueur that had been enjoyed in Dalmatia for hundreds of years. So Girolamo founded a distillery in 1821 to make this now-famous Maraschino. Generations passed and the distillery, along with most of Europe, fell victim to various wars and conflicts. In 1947 Giorgio Luxardo rebuilt the distillery in Padova in the Veneto region of Italy.
Cherry pits add a distinct hint of almond
The celebrated Marasca cherries are harvested from Luxardo’s own trees and the fruit is then infused in wood casks. The cherry pits add a distinct hint of almond to the finished product. The cherry infusion is distilled in small copper pot stills, the liqueur being adjusted with sugar before bottling. Authentic Maraschino liqueur should only be made from these bitter Marasca cherries.
Luxardo Maraschino follows the original recipe from 1821, and it requires several years to produce and mature this iconic clear liqueur. It is presented in an instantly recognisable straw-covered bottle with a white label boasting some of the many medals won in international competitions since the formation of the original company. It is well-textured and sweet, so ideal for many contemporary cocktails, and is a key ingredient in classic drinks such as the Martinez, the sophisticated and addictive Hemingway Daquiri, the Beachcomber and the Aviation.
Try a Bloody Fernet as an alcoholic summer dessert
30 ml Fernet
22.5 ml Maraschino Luxardo
2 large scoops blood orange sorbet
Put the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Serve in a champagne goblet.
Garnish: candied orange peel.
OR: Mix the two alcohols with half a scoop of the sorbet and then pour over 2 scoops of sorbet.
Note: This can also be made with regular orange sorbet – and then I’m going to call this a Sunny Fernet!