Words by Simon Difford
Photography by Dan Malpass
Maraschino is as delicious a word as it is a liqueur made from sour Marasca cherries. The cherries' flavour, along with that of its pit (stone) are extracted by distillation to produce a clear, complex, relatively dry liqueur with subtle almond notes from the cherry stones. It's a classic cocktail ingredient and all these 20 best maraschino cocktails contain at least 15ml (½oz) maraschino.
A generous slug or aromatic maraschino particularly suits two classic cocktails: the Aviation and Last Word, so many of the following are riffs on these. However, we've 180+ other tasty maraschino cocktails, such as the Club Cocktail with 12.5ml maraschino liqueur. And where there's maraschino liqueur, there should be a maraschino cherry.
Aviation Cocktail (Difford's recipe)
With: Dry gin, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, creme de violette and lemon juice
We say: Benefits from a long shake/dilution. Citrus, floral gin with a slightly sour finish.
With: Dry gin, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, and orange bitters
We say: Basically, an Aviation without crème de violette, dried and made more complex with a dash of orange bitters.
With: Mezcal, Green Chartreuse, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and lime juice
We say: A mezcal-based Last Word. It works! End of argument.
With: Mezcal, Aperol, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and lime juice.
We say: A mezcal inspired variation of the Last Word with a refreshing, boozy blend of ingredients.
With: Irish whisky, Green Chartreuse, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and lime juice
We say: A riff on the classic Last Word cocktail substituting Irish whiskey for gin. Named after Frank Fogarty, a vaudeville performer known as the The Dublin Minstrel. Fogarty is referenced in Ted Saucier's 1951 Bottoms Up! book as introducing the Last Word to the Detroit Athletic Club around 1920 and is possibly who the Last Word was originally named after.
With: Bourbon, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, Angostura bitters and orange bitters.
We say: Aromatised, tamed bourbon with complex maraschino notes.
With: Light white rum, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and lemon juice
We say: If there is such a thing as a 'Rum Aviation', then this is surely it.
The Last Word
With: Dry gin, Green Chartreuse, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and lime juice
We say: Chartreuse devotees will love this balanced, tangy drink. I'm one.
With: Genever, Green Chartreuse, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and lime juice.
We say: A Last Word made to classic equal parts proportions but with jenever replacing London dry gin. The more robust flavour of jenever stands up well to the other very characterful ingredients.
New Orleans Minute
With: Mezcal, tequila, Antica Formula, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, sugar syrup and orange bitters
We say: Perhaps not a Bourbon Street staple but characterful nonetheless with tequila, mezcal, aromatised wine, maraschino and orange bitters.
New York Minute
With: Reposado tequila, Antica Formula, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, sugar syrup and whiskey barrel aged bitters.
We say: Honeyed tequila and aromatic maraschino with complex herbal vinous notes.
With: Mezcal, cognac, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, full-bodied sweet vermouth, creole bitters.
We say: Mezcal and cognac fuel this stirred and strong nightcap sipper.
With: Rye whiskey, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and Punt E Mes.
We say: This boozy Manhattan-like drink was inspired by the Brooklyn Cocktail, hence it is named after a neighbourhood of Brooklyn.
Sandy The Showgirl
With: Tequila, mezcal, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, agave syrup and lavender bitters
We say: Tequila based with complex mezcal smokiness, rich maraschino cherry and floral lavender bitters. It's a drink that likes dilution so consider serving on the rocks.
Seventh Heaven No.2
With: Dry gin, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and pink grapefruit juice
We say: Grapefruit citrus bitterness balances rich floral Luxardo Maraschino liqueur in this gin-based cocktail.
With: Chablis wine, poire eau-de-vie and Luxardo Maraschino liqueur
We say: Delicate pear and aromatic maraschino over a wine base.
With: Dry gin, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, Green Chartreuse, Islay single malt whisky and lemon juice
We say: A boozy riff on the Last Word made more interesting by subtle notes of peaty Islay whisky.
With: Gin, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, parfait amour and lemon juice.
We say: A wonderfully aromatic flower-powered Aviation.
There It Is...
With: Scotch whisky, genever, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and blood orange juice
We say: Genever is basically a blend of whiskey and gin and in this drink combines wonderfully with Scotch as a base to which maraschino and blood orange flavour and lengthen.
With: Mezcal, Green Chartreuse, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, pineapple juice and lime juice
We say: This riff on the Last Word is named after the direct Spanish translation of Last Word, hence the use of mezcal in place of gin. Pineapple juice, another distinguishing feature of this riff on the classic, works brilliantly - adding a fruity sweetness and complexity.
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