With many whiskies presenting lovely stone-fruit qualities, it’s no wonder that the spirit pairs so nicely with Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, which exudes bright aromas and flavors of the marasca cherry distillate, along with roasted nuts, dark chocolate, vanilla, and orange marmalade. The liqueur has been made the same way since its inception in 1821: The leaves, pits, stems, and skins of marasca cherries infuse in larch wood vats for three years, it’s then distilled in copper pot stills, and matured in ash wood vats for a year, with simple syrup added before bottling.
“Luxardo Maraschino is round, rich, and floral, with hints of marzipan, and it mixes well with whiskies across the spectrum in slightly different ways,” says Eryn Reece, head bartender at Banzarbar in New York City. “It can hold its own with the generally higher proof and big barrel notes of vanilla and toffee that often characterize American whiskeys, but its fruit and nut notes also beautifully underscore the subtler flavors of scotch and Irish whiskey.”
Luxardo Maraschino has different functions in a cocktail, Reece adds. “Because of its concentrated flavor, it can be used in a ¾-ounce measure all the way down to just 1 or 2 dashes,” she says. “When I’m building a whisky drink that’s heading in a heavy-handed direction with too much of what I call ‘bass note’ flavors, I reach for Luxardo Maraschino—it helps balance that bass with a strident treble note.”
4 Balanced Whisky and Luxardo Maraschino Cocktails
Sound & Vision: 1 ½ oz. Islay scotch + ½ oz. Luxardo Maraschino + ¾ oz. Aperol + ¾ oz. lemon juice + grapefruit peel for garnish
Shake all ingredients vigorously with ice. Strain into a coupe and garnish with a grapefruit peel.
Created by Eryn Reece
Fancy Free: 2 ¼ oz. bourbon + ½ oz. Luxardo Maraschino + 2 dashes orange bitters + 2 dashes Angostura bitters + orange peel for garnish
Stir all ingredients together with ice 10 to 12 times. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass over fresh ice and garnish with an orange peel.
From “Crosby Gaige’s Cocktail Guide and Ladies’ Companion”
Brooklyn: 2 oz. rye whiskey + 1 tsp. Luxardo Maraschino + ¾ oz. dry vermouth + ¼ oz. Bigallet China-China liqueur + lemon peel for garnish
Stir all ingredients together with ice for 20 to 30 seconds. Strain into a coupe or Martini glass and garnish with a lemon peel.
Adapted by Eryn Reece from “Harry Johnson’s Bartenders’ Manual”
Earl Green: 2 oz. green tea-infused Irish whiskey* + ½ oz. Luxardo Maraschino + ¾ oz. dry vermouth + lemon peel for garnish
Stir all ingredients together with ice 10 to 12 times. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass over fresh ice and garnish with a lemon peel.
Created by Eryn Reece
*Add 4 green tea bags to 750 ml of Irish whiskey and infuse for 30 minutes. Strain and squeeze remaining liquid out of tea bags.