What are Luxardo Cherries and How to Use Them?
Posted on March 04, 2019
The Rolls-Royce of candied cherries, the original Luxardo maraschino cherry serves as the iconic ‘cherry on top’ for a long list of cocktails and desserts. Like a festive and cheerful exclamation point, the dark red and meaty flesh of the Luxardo cherry adds a perfectly sweet flavor and candy-like texture to gourmet drinks and desserts. Made with fresh, all-natural ingredients, including handpicked cherries grown in the fertile volcanic soil of the Veneto region, the Luxardo brand is the gold standard for premium quality cocktail cherries.
Compared to the bright neon-colored orbs floating in the average cocktail, Luxardo cherries are in a class of their own. Other brands contain artificial colors and other chemicals, giving them a waxy consistency and the color of bright red lipstick; they also taste nothing like real cherries. Once you’ve experienced the difference of Luxardo cherries, you’ll never forget the unmistakable flavor it adds to cocktails and desserts. Candied in marasca syrup, Luxardo cherries have a delicious sweet-tart flavor and the chewy tenderness of real fruit.
Established by Girolamo Luxardo in 1821, the Luxardo company was originally a distillery off the coast of modern-day Croatia, which was an Italian province at the time. Their signature product was Maraschino, a cherry liqueur made from the stems, pits, skins, and leaves of sour marasca cherries. The pits are what gives the liqueur its characteristically nutty and almond-like flavor.
While the company made a name for itself with maraschino liqueur, they also began to preserve cherries in marasca syrup in order to extend their shelf life. Fresh cherries bruise easily and only stay fresh for a short time, which makes this preservation technique a practical way to preserve and package the fruit.
In 1905, Luxardo began making the world’s first preserved cherry. Today, they still use the time-honored cherry preservation method and the original family recipe. Soon after it was introduced to Italy, the maraschino cherry made its way to the United States where it became the garnish of choice for fashionable cocktails and ice cream sundaes.
Following the tradition of Old World cuisine, there are no shortcuts in the production of Luxardo maraschino cherries. The liqueur is made from the fermentation of the marasca cherry with juice and alcohol, a process that takes four years for a single batch. Because of their meticulous, handcrafted approach to harvesting and production, Luxardo cherries have maintained their icon status as the premium cocktail cherry for the last 200 years. Made with homegrown marasca sour cherries and a recipe handed down through the generations, Luxardo cherries have a texture and flavor that is second to none.
Along with softening the bite of liquor in fancy cocktails, Luxardo cherries have many uses in dessert making. From ice cream sundaes to puddings and so much more, maraschino cherries add an instant touch of sophistication. An elegant treat from pastry chef Zac Young, Luxardo cherry cordials are made with a sweet and creamy mixture of confectioners sugar and chocolate that covers the cherry for a heavenly, mouth-watering bite.
Young also gives red velvet cake a gourmet update with Luxardo cherry stuffed red velvet cookies, which are flavored with a creamy filling of cream cheese icing and halved Luxardo cherries for a meaty and moist mouthfeel. Mary from the Marysmaking blog loves to bake Luxardo cherry brownies, a luxe version of classic comfort food. The rich and decadent brownie tastes like fudge, which is enhanced with whole cherries filling the center. Then the top is covered with a creamy cherry-infused ganache for a luxurious bite that is tart, sweet, and velvety smooth.
Another inventive use of the Luxardo cherry is the cherry ice cream float from Gastronomista, a simple yet elegant and satisfying combination of vanilla ice cream, a splash of cherry syrup, soda water, and a few cherries on top. For an easy way to elevate your morning yogurt, Luxardo cherries add a bright array of sweet and tart flavors to other toppings like chopped nuts and shredded coconut; it all comes together with light and creamy yogurt.
Keep your pantry stocked with Luxardo cherries and always be ready to add the quintessential ‘cherry on top’ to your favorite desserts, cocktails, and so much more.