What Is Maraschino Liqueur?

Hemingway Daiquiri, which contains Maraschino liqueur
Hemingway Daiquiri, which contains Maraschino liqueur. Wikimedia Commons/Achim Schleuning

Maraschino is a cherry-flavored liqueur that is made from Marasca cherries. The pits of the cherries are included in the fermentation and contribute a slight bitter almond flavor to the clear, dry spirit.

Maraschino was developed in Italy where it received its name. It was also used as one of the original preservatives for the maraschino cherries used regularly as cocktail garnishes, though today the cherries themselves are typically sweeter varieties.

The liqueur is pronounced using the Italian mare-uh-SKEE-no while the cherries are typically pronounced mare-uh-SHEE-no.

Most maraschino liqueurs are 32% alcohol by volume (64 proof).

The Taste of Maraschino Liqueur

Modern production of maraschino liqueur varies greatly by distillery and some include other varieties of cherries or ingredients. Typically, you can expect "maraschino" liqueurs to be drier than "cherry" liqueurs, which can be very sweet. The juice from maraschino cherries is also sweeter and not a recommended substitute for maraschino liqueur.

Drinking Maraschino Liqueur

Maraschino can be served straight or on the rocks and makes a wonderful digestif. It has also been used in many cocktails for over a century and is included in many of the great classic cocktails including the Martinez, the so-called "grandfather" of the Martini.

Maraschino Liqueur Cocktails

Popular Brands of Maraschino Liqueur

  • Bols
  • Briottet Maison Edmond
  • Giffard Marasquin
  • Luxardo (most popular)
  • Maraska
  • Schladerer
  • Toschi