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Maraschino Liqueur

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I've also had no success tracking down maraschino liqueur here in Vancouver, like jlo mein mentioned above (I've actually posted in another thread hoping someone would have a local lead on it).  Anyway, short of making a cross-border run, how close is kirsch to maraschino liqueur?  What is the taste profile (sweetness, etc.)?  Thanks!

The main difference being kirsch is a distilled spirit and maraschino a liqueur.

Sort of like the difference between Scotch and Drambuie.

A few other differences.

Kirsch, being an Eau de Vie, is not typically aged. The base spirit of Maraschino may spend a couple years in wood before being sweetened and bottled.

Not all Kirsch is made from a whole fruit distillation. Some is made just from fermented cherry juice. The base spirit of Maraschino liqueur typically involves the pits, giving it a slight almond-like flavor.

I've never tried to sweeten a kirsch and then compare it to Maraschino. Anyone?

Once in desperation, determined to make something like Floridita Daiquiris in a place where I couldn't find Maraschino, I did mix a 2-1 sugar syrup with a blue plum eau de vie. It was actually not a horrible substitution.

Oh, and I will point out, that a lot of the stuff labeled kirsch or kirschwasser in the US is really awful. Some of the products from LeRoux and others are artificially flavored and sweetened, not Kirsch at all.


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Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I've also had no success tracking down maraschino liqueur here in Vancouver, like jlo mein mentioned above (I've actually posted in another thread hoping someone would have a local lead on it).  Anyway, short of making a cross-border run, how close is kirsch to maraschino liqueur?  What is the taste profile (sweetness, etc.)?  Thanks!

The main difference being kirsch is a distilled spirit and maraschino a liqueur.

Sort of like the difference between Scotch and Drambuie.

A few other differences.

Kirsch, being an Eau de Vie, is not typically aged. The base spirit of Maraschino may spend a couple years in wood before being sweetened and bottled.

Not all Kirsch is made from a whole fruit distillation. Some is made just from fermented cherry juice. The base spirit of Maraschino liqueur typically involves the pits, giving it a slight almond-like flavor.

I've never tried to sweeten a kirsch and then compare it to Maraschino. Anyone?

Once in desperation, determined to make something like Floridita Daiquiris in a place where I couldn't find Maraschino, I did mix a 2-1 sugar syrup with a blue plum eau de vie. It was actually not a horrible substitution.

Oh, and I will point out, that a lot of the stuff labeled kirsch or kirschwasser in the US is really awful. Some of the products from LeRoux and others are artificially flavored and sweetened, not Kirsch at all.

I would also add to that that the process for making Kirsch includes the cherries and their pits, imparting a very nutty character, whereas Maraschino (to my understanding) includes some of the stems and leaves in there as well, imparting a characteristic not unlike grappa. It also has, to my taste, a distinct funk similar to that found in tequila, cachaca, etc.

-Andy


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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A few points:

  • Kirschwasser is not an acceptable substitute for maraschino
  • Maraschino is a distilled spirit of the whole cherry. Luxardo pits the cherries, distills the pits and fruit separately, combines them later, ages for 2 years in larch wood vats, adds sugar and dilutes to bottle proof. I don't know whether Maraska has a similar or equivalent process.
  • I wouldn't say that the main difference between kirschwasser and maraschino is that one is a distilled spirit and one is a liqueur. They are both distilled spirits. Maraschino is sweetened and diluted, and maraschino also uses the pits. Kirschwasser is dry and high proof, and I'm not aware of any kirschwasser that actively distills the pits as is done for maraschino.
  • Erik, I see where you're going by likening the difference to the difference between scotch and Drambuie, but it's really a different kind of difference. Drambuie starts off with scotch, then it is infused with herbs and sweetened. Maraschino starts off as a completely different spirit (I don't think an unaged, unsweetened maraschino would taste like kirschwasser), and is simply sweetened without the any flavorings being added.

Unfortunately for those who can't get it, there really is no acceptable substitute for maraschino liqueur. Fortunately for those of us who can get it, this is because it is such a distinctive and unique product.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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the closest taste you can get to maraschino (it's by no means a very good or complex substitute...but it's more similar than anything else)...is equal parts apricot brandy and kirsch combined.

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Thanks for the tips, folks! Too bad BC gets such a bum deal with spirits variety. Guess I'll have to be patient till my next visit to the US!

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[...]...is equal parts apricot brandy and kirsch combined.

Assuming you can get Apricot Brandy!

Beebs, I see the BC Liquor Stores carry some Luxardo products. Can you special order from them?


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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A few points:

  • [...]
  • Erik, I see where you're going by likening the difference to the difference between scotch and Drambuie, but it's really a different kind of difference.  Drambuie starts off with scotch, then it is infused with herbs and sweetened.  Maraschino starts off as a completely different spirit (I don't think an unaged, unsweetened maraschino would taste like kirschwasser), and is simply sweetened without the any flavorings being added.

[...]

Yeah, fair enough. My point, though, was more general, and that Maraschino and Kirsch, like Scotch and Drambuie, are quite different, and simply sweetening Kirsch (or Scotch) will not result in an acceptable substitution.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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[...]...is equal parts apricot brandy and kirsch combined.

Assuming you can get Apricot Brandy!

Beebs, I see the BC Liquor Stores carry some Luxardo products. Can you special order from them?

Yes, some Luxardo is available, but unfortunately maraschino isn't one of them. I checked out BC Liquor Store's special order service too, but you must order a minimum case size which is way too much for personal use. I've just recruited my sister who lives in the US to hunt some down for me, though, so all is not lost! :smile:

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I checked out BC Liquor Store's special order service too, but you must order a minimum case size which is way too much for personal use.

I wonder if there are enough interested eGulleteers in BC for us to get together and split a case? You could count me in for a couple of bottles. If the three of us [jlo mein, Beebs and I] did that then we're at half a case already. Perhaps a cross-post to the Regional forum is in order?

cheers

Derek

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so while I was having a Last Word made at Milk & Honey last night I noticed that they were using Stock Maraschino. I asked if they preferred it to Luxardo and Maraskova. they stated that Luxardo was too difficult to balance in cocktails...too strong and that it was better sipped on its own.

this seems to fly against CW but I have noticed that when I make an Aviation at home with Luxardo I use less of it than when I used Stock...alternatively, it works well when tempered with violette liqueur.

thoughts?

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If the three of us [jlo mein, Beebs and I] did that then we're at half a case already. Perhaps a cross-post to the Regional forum is in order?

cheers

Derek

lol...sorry but please count me out. At the rate I'm using the Maraska Maraschino, it's going to last me for quite some time. Perhaps it's my natural reaction to hide it whenever I make cocktails for others... :raz:


Edited by jlo mein (log)

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so while I was having a Last Word made at Milk & Honey last night I noticed that they were using Stock Maraschino.  I asked if they preferred it to Luxardo and Maraskova.  they stated that Luxardo was too difficult to balance in cocktails...too strong and that it was better sipped on its own.

this seems to fly against CW but I have noticed that when I make an Aviation at home with Luxardo I use less of it than when I used Stock...alternatively, it works well when tempered with violette liqueur.

thoughts?

Personally, I think Stock maraschino is pretty lame. I'm not even sure it's real maraschino. Now... that said, the real thing (Luxardo or Maraska) can be a bit funky and strong for inexperienced palates. So, for those people, Stock has its place.

As for that the person said at M&H... Well, let's just say that they have to make hard decisions as to what they will stock, because they just don't have room for 3 different brands of maraschino. Last time I was there, they also weren't stocking Lillet -- I guess there just weren't enough orders for Lillet cocktails to justify taking up the space with a bottle. So, I guess if they want an easy-mixing brand of maraschino that will be acceptable to the largest number of customers, Stock is a logical choice. And, let's be honest, Milk & Honey isn't getting the same percentage of die-hard cocktail geeks they were getting 3-4 years ago. It's too well-known now, and there are too many other games in town. You or I might be disappointed if an Aviation didn't have that Luxardo funk, but the average M&H customer might be put off by the funk.

All that said, it's disappointing to me to hear that a leading cocktail bar in New York City is using Stock instead of Luxardo because, supposedly, Luxardo is "too difficult to balance in cocktails." That's like choosing Stock triple sec over Cointreau because Cointreau is "too difficult to balance in cocktails." I don't think there can be any argument that Luxardo isn't a superior product, and if it's intensity of flavor and funk makes it a little more "difficult to balance" -- well, that's why we're paying 15 bucks a cocktail at M&H: to have people with the expertise to balance the best, most distinctive spirits in a cocktail.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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so while I was having a Last Word made at Milk & Honey last night I noticed that they were using Stock Maraschino.  I asked if they preferred it to Luxardo and Maraskova.  they stated that Luxardo was too difficult to balance in cocktails...too strong and that it was better sipped on its own.

this seems to fly against CW but I have noticed that when I make an Aviation at home with Luxardo I use less of it than when I used Stock...alternatively, it works well when tempered with violette liqueur.

thoughts?

I gotta echo slkinsey's sentiments.

Purposely picking a brand because it is easier to mix? Instead of what? Training your staff to use it properly? I call "Bullshit". Likely, it's a pour cost issue.

I also think it's a bit odd to say that Luxardo Maraschino is better sipped on its own.

Aside from Jagermeister, do bars get any calls for straight liqueurs?


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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so while I was having a Last Word made at Milk & Honey last night I noticed that they were using Stock Maraschino.  I asked if they preferred it to Luxardo and Maraskova.  they stated that Luxardo was too difficult to balance in cocktails...too strong and that it was better sipped on its own.

this seems to fly against CW but I have noticed that when I make an Aviation at home with Luxardo I use less of it than when I used Stock...alternatively, it works well when tempered with violette liqueur.

thoughts?

I gotta echo slkinsey's sentiments.

Purposely picking a brand because it is easier to mix? Instead of what? Training your staff to use it properly? I call "Bullshit". Likely, it's a pour cost issue.

I also think it's a bit odd to say that Luxardo Maraschino is better sipped on its own.

Aside from Jagermeister, do bars get any calls for straight liqueurs?

I agree that answer smacks of horsecrap. Sounds totally like a cost issue to me. Don't know what the price differential is in NYC, but I bet it's significant enough to make them switch. That's also a lot easier than revamping the cocktail menu ever so slightly.

I can't imagine sipping Luxardo Maraschino on it's own. That's just a bizarre suggestion. But I certainly get requests for liqueurs on their own - generally after dinner. Sambuca white and black, Amaretto, Grand Marnier, Kahlua or Tia Maria all go with coffee or by themselves at the end of a nice meal.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Personally I don't like Stock too much, but I know it does have it's place in a few cocktails. I know D&C has all 3 maraschinos and uses stock in one of their house cocktails on purpose.

Personally for me if I have a drink that calls for more than 1/2 oz or greater of Maraschino I will use Maraska, otherwise I will use Luxardo. I find any more than 1/2 oz of Luxardo and the drink turns into a Luxardo drink.

John


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Personally I don't like Stock too much, but I know it does have it's place in a few cocktails.  I know D&C has all 3 maraschinos and uses stock in one of their house cocktails on purpose.

Personally for me if I have a drink that calls for more than 1/2 oz or greater of Maraschino  I will use Maraska, otherwise I will use Luxardo.  I find any more than 1/2 oz of Luxardo and the drink turns into a Luxardo drink.

John

I too am a Stock detractor but I'm also not a fan of Maraska either. Sure I'll take it over Stock any day but to me Luxardo is THE Maraschino. There's nothing wrong with a cocktail being a Luxardo forward drink and if you find that more than 1/2 an oz is overpowering the obvious answer to me seems to be dial down the amount rather than reach for a different brand of maraschino.

John, do you prefer Maraska over Luxardo in a Last Word or Final Ward?

[edit for clarification]For those not familiar with the Last Word or Final Ward. This drink is equal parts Gin:Marashino:Chartreuse:Lime or Rye:Marashino:Chartreuse:Lemon respectively. Traditionally the recipe is 3/4oz each but since it's equal parts it can be scaled down to 1/2oz each or up to 1oz each. Therefore it really is a question of if Maraska or Luxardo balances better against the citrus/spirit/Chartreuse when all things are equal.[/clarification]


Edited by donbert (log)

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Personally for me if I have a drink that calls for more than 1/2 oz or greater of Maraschino  I will use Maraska, otherwise I will use Luxardo.  I find any more than 1/2 oz of Luxardo and the drink turns into a Luxardo drink.

Yea, I'm with you on that one (not that I have too many drinks with more than a half-ounce of maraschino). Although sometimes I might be tempted to just dial back the Luxardo a little bit to balance the drink. On the other hand, Maraska maraschino is a very good-quality product, albeit less assertive and funky than Luxardo maraschino, so there's no reason not to use it -- especially if dialing back the Luxardo means that you have to add sweetness from another source (e.g., simple) to balance against a sour component.

I guess one might compare the difference to, say, the difference between Wild Turkey and Maker's Mark. Both are high quality, distinctive products, but Wild Turkey is much more assertive. Different drinks would lend themselves to different choices between these two. Stock, on the other hand, compares to an okay-quality blended whiskey. Yea, there are a few cocktails where the blended whiskey might be just the thing you need. But I wouldn't choose to stock just the blended whiskey because it was "easier-mixing." If I could only choose one and was wanted one that was broadly compatible in a wide variety of cocktails, I guess I'd probably choose Maker's. This same reasoning might lead me to stock Maraska as my only maraschino, but never Stock.

Edited to add: Don, I'm with you in thinking that Luxardo is THE maraschino (although fwiw, I have an extremely knowledgable friend that makes the same argument in favor of Maraska). I probably go through 4 bottles of Luxardo for every 1 of Maraska.


Edited by slkinsey (log)

Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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Personally I don't like Stock too much, but I know it does have it's place in a few cocktails.  I know D&C has all 3 maraschinos and uses stock in one of their house cocktails on purpose.

Personally for me if I have a drink that calls for more than 1/2 oz or greater of Maraschino  I will use Maraska, otherwise I will use Luxardo.  I find any more than 1/2 oz of Luxardo and the drink turns into a Luxardo drink.

John

Both are the Maraska and Stock are pretty uncommon out here, so I'll have to take your word for it. I think I've really only ever seen the Maraska in bars, and I don't think I've ever seen the Stock.

But, yeah, you do have to be careful not to overdo with the Luxardo.

Katie, your right, I forgot about Sambuca until you mentioned it. I could see more liqueurs being sold as digestivs in bars attached to restaurants. But, does that happen in bars not associated with restaurants? I'm more curious than anything else.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Personally I don't like Stock too much, but I know it does have it's place in a few cocktails.  I know D&C has all 3 maraschinos and uses stock in one of their house cocktails on purpose.

Personally for me if I have a drink that calls for more than 1/2 oz or greater of Maraschino  I will use Maraska, otherwise I will use Luxardo.  I find any more than 1/2 oz of Luxardo and the drink turns into a Luxardo drink.

John

I too am a Stock detractor but I'm also not a fan of Maraska either. Sure I'll take it over Stock any day but to me Luxardo is THE Maraschino. There's nothing wrong with a cocktail being a Luxardo forward drink and if you find that more than 1/2 an oz is overpowering the obvious answer to me seems to be dial down the amount rather than reach for a different brand of maraschino.

John, do you prefer Maraska over Luxardo in a Last Word or Final Ward?

[edit for clarification]For those not familiar with the Last Word or Final Ward. This drink is equal parts Gin:Marashino:Chartreuse:Lime or Rye:Marashino:Chartreuse:Lemon respectively. Traditionally the recipe is 3/4oz each but since it's equal parts it can be scaled down to 1/2oz each or up to 1oz each. Therefore it really is a question of if Maraska or Luxardo balances better against the citrus/spirit/Chartreuse when all things are equal.[/clarification]

Hmm that is an interesting question. I have had both the Last Word with Maraska and Luxardo, but unfortunately don't have enough memory to recall which I like better. This is an odd one because it is equal parts. I think some further research is required.

:biggrin:


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Also for clarification: I assume that when John says "more than a half-ounce of maraschino" we're speaking of a standard "cocktailian sized" 3-ounce drink.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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so while I was having a Last Word made at Milk & Honey last night I noticed that they were using Stock Maraschino.  I asked if they preferred it to Luxardo and Maraskova.  they stated that Luxardo was too difficult to balance in cocktails...too strong and that it was better sipped on its own.

this seems to fly against CW but I have noticed that when I make an Aviation at home with Luxardo I use less of it than when I used Stock...alternatively, it works well when tempered with violette liqueur.

thoughts?

I gotta echo slkinsey's sentiments.

Purposely picking a brand because it is easier to mix? Instead of what? Training your staff to use it properly? I call "Bullshit". Likely, it's a pour cost issue.

I also think it's a bit odd to say that Luxardo Maraschino is better sipped on its own.

Aside from Jagermeister, do bars get any calls for straight liqueurs?

I agree that answer smacks of horsecrap. Sounds totally like a cost issue to me. Don't know what the price differential is in NYC, but I bet it's significant enough to make them switch. That's also a lot easier than revamping the cocktail menu ever so slightly.

I can't imagine sipping Luxardo Maraschino on it's own. That's just a bizarre suggestion. But I certainly get requests for liqueurs on their own - generally after dinner. Sambuca white and black, Amaretto, Grand Marnier, Kahlua or Tia Maria all go with coffee or by themselves at the end of a nice meal.

this is Milk & Honey, there is no menu.

my first thought (and nagging inclination) was that it was a cost issue...but at $15 a drink and with their (presumably relatively low) rent...that's hard to believe.

as donbert noted, it isn't really a "mixing" staff/training issue...the Last Word has equal parts and I haven't noticed a drop in the M&H staff quality (East Side Company Bar and Little Branch are a different matter)...its strange.

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Also, it's entirely possible that you caught M&H on a night when they ran out of Luxardo. I know, it seems like a silly oversight, but they could have just grabbed a backup bottle of Stock and went with it... It is the kind of place that would try and own that mistake, pumping up the virtues of Stock when they really didn't have a choice.

As someone who works in the same neighborhood, I've been stupid enough on a couple occasions to not order a bottle and gone running around to every bar/store around, only to find that the closest maraschino is at Astor -- not too helpful at 11:00pm when you go rummaging through the liqour room. AND i shot myself in the foot with a menu heavy on the stuff...lame.

So, you know, it's possible...

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Katie, your right, I forgot about Sambuca until you mentioned it. I could see more liqueurs being sold as digestivs in bars attached to restaurants. But, does that happen in bars not associated with restaurants? I'm more curious than anything else.

I do work in a place that is primarily a restaurant with a nice and well stocked small bar. We had a couple come in tonight that joined us for dinner (and had a couple of cocktails at the bar before their meal) and then left to attend the theater (my restaurant is pretty convenient to most of the theaters in Philly) and then stopped back in at the end of the evening for a nightcap just as I was getting ready to close up. The gentleman ordered a B&B. I thought of this thread as I poured it for him... :smile:

As a more specific answer to your question I've certainly been known to order an Amaretto as a nightcap in one of my favorite local bars from time to time. And this is a place that's mostly a bar (great draught beer, good wines by the glass and fully stocked liquor selection) that happens to have a really good chef and good food. This particular bar carries the Luxardo Amaretto which is my personal favorite. So yeah - folks will order a liqueur in a regular bar sometimes. Sometimes even not directly after a meal in the same place.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Mmmmm. . . Luxardo Amaretto is dandy! I have to weigh in as a fan of all Luxardo liqueurs and bitters. Good stuff! Definitely a fan of their Maraschino.

I believe something was mentioned about their cherry orchards earlier in the post. There specialty has always been cherries and they own a 12,000 acre of cherry orchard, which is the largest cherry orchard in the world, if I remember correctly.

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I've seen discussions about Maraska Maraschino in this thread. I saw a bottle of Maraska Cherry Liqueur at a store last weekend. Is this it, or should I specifically be looking for a bottle labeled Marschino Liqueur?

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