Tasting Tuesday: Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

Luxardo Liqueur

Just in case you think that I only drink bourbon (and other whiskeys), let me assure you that my liquor cabinet is well-stocked with a variety of spirits of all kinds. This includes some specialty liqueurs, such as Luxardo. Luxard is an Italian cherry liqueur made with Marasca cherries, a type of sour Morello cherry that is grown primarily in Eastern Europe and Northeastern Italy. Many cherry liqueurs have a color that ranges from bright red to dark burgundy, but Luxardo is a clear liqueur that allows you to add a cherry flavor to your drinks without changing their color.

Luxardo is clear because the liqueur is distilled, which sets it apart from other liqueurs that are simply infused. A cherry distillate is prepared and aged in ash wood vats for two years, then it is diluted and sugar is added to bring out the natural sweetness of the cherries and create the finished liqueur. The liqueur smells floral, but like dried flowers rather than fresh and with a cherry earthiness. It is smooth and sweet, with a syrupy texture that reminds me a little bit of cough syrup. Unlike cough syrup, however, the liqueur has a great finish that is full of berries and spice. These elements can seem a bit strong on their own, but can add fantastic layers of flavor when built into a cocktail.

Worth another round? This is one liqueur that is definitely worth keeping in your liqueur cabinet. You most likely won’t drink it on its own, but you can use it to make cocktails like The Last Word and Hemingway Daquiris, where it is a main component, or to add a hint of cherry essence to drinks where it is only used in small quantities, like the Whiskey Crusta.

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