Luxardo vs Maraschino Cherries

Luxardo and Maraschino cherries are two popular types of cherries used in cocktails and desserts.


While both cherries are technically Maraschino cherries, there are significant differences between the two. Luxardo cherries are considered artisanal and high-end, while Maraschino cherries are more commonly found in grocery stores.

Luxardo cherries are made from Marasca cherries, a sour cherry variety that is native to Croatia and Italy. The cherries are soaked in a liqueur made from the same cherries, along with sugar and other ingredients. The result is a sweet, tangy, and slightly bitter cherry that is perfect for garnishing cocktails or adding to desserts.

Maraschino cherries, on the other hand, are made from sweet cherries that are preserved in a sugary syrup. They are often bright red in color and have a distinct artificial taste. While they are a popular garnish for cocktails, they are not considered to be of the same quality as Luxardo cherries.

Luxardo Cherries

Luxardo cherries are a type of maraschino cherry that is considered artisanal and high-end.

Aviation Gin Cocktails Garnished with Luxardo Cherries

They are made from Marasca cherries, a sour cherry native to the Veneto region of Italy, and are known for their sweeter and more complex flavor compared to other maraschino cherries.

The process of making Luxardo cherries is a labor-intensive one. The Marasca cherries are harvested by hand, and the pits are removed using a special machine. The cherries are then macerated in alcohol and sugar for several weeks before being cooked in copper pots. This process gives the cherries their distinctive flavor and texture.

Luxardo cherries are often used in high-quality cocktails and are a popular garnish for drinks like the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned. They are also delicious on their own and can be enjoyed straight out of the jar.

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One of the reasons Luxardo cherries are so highly regarded is their versatility. They can be used in a wide range of cocktails and dishes, and their sweet, complex flavor makes them a favorite of bartenders and chefs alike. Whether you’re making a classic cocktail or adding a touch of sweetness to a dessert, Luxardo cherries are a great choice.

Maraschino Cherries

Maraschino cherries are a popular garnish for cocktails, desserts, and other food items. They are made from sweet cherries that have been preserved in a mixture of sugar syrup and maraschino liqueur.


The term “maraschino” refers to a type of liqueur made from the Marasca cherry, which is native to Croatia. The liqueur has a slightly bitter almond flavor and is often used in cocktails.

Maraschino cherries were first created in the late 19th century in Europe and were originally made from the Marasca cherry. However, today’s maraschino cherries are typically made from American Royal Anne cherries, which are sweet cherries that have been dyed bright red with food coloring.

The bright red color of maraschino cherries is achieved through the use of red dye, which gives them a fluorescent appearance. The cherries are also sweetened to enhance their flavor.

Maraschino cherries are commonly found in supermarkets and are a popular garnish for cocktails such as the Old Fashioned and Manhattan. However, some people prefer to use higher-quality cherries, such as Luxardo cherries, which are considered artisanal and high-end.

Historical Context

Luxardo and Maraschino cherries have a long and complicated history that dates back to the early 1800s.


The Marasca cherry, which is native to Croatia and Italy, is the key ingredient in both types of cherries. In the early days, Maraschino cherries were made by preserving the cherries in a liqueur made from the pits and stems of the Marasca cherry. This process was known as “maraschino-ing.”

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During Prohibition in the United States, many bartenders turned to Maraschino cherries as a way to add flavor to their cocktails. However, due to the high cost of importing the cherries from Europe, American companies began producing their own versions of Maraschino cherries. These cherries were made by bleaching and dyeing low-quality cherries and then marinating them in a mixture of sugar, water, and almond flavoring.

In contrast, Luxardo cherries are the original Maraschino cherries, made from the Marasca cherry by the Luxardo family since 1905. Founded in 1821, Luxardo first became famous for its cherry liqueur, which was made from the Marasca cherry. When the company began producing Maraschino cherries, they used the same traditional process of preserving the cherries in the liqueur.

Today, Luxardo cherries are considered the gold standard of Maraschino cherries, and are prized by bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts for their rich, complex flavor and natural color. In contrast, the modern “maraschino cherry” found in most grocery stores is typically made from low-quality cherries that have been bleached and dyed, and then soaked in a mixture of sugar, water, and almond flavoring.

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