Homemade Luxardo Maraschino Cherries and Princes

by Pamela


Homemade Maraschino Cherries

This is Part II of the Sour Cherry Series…

Yes Virginia, there is such a thing as a discernible cherry in maraschino cherries – if you make your own.  And it’s so easy to make your own maraschino cherries, you’ll kick yourself for eating those neon colored pieces of vinyl all of these years.

I’ve always been a sucker for maraschino cherries.  Yes, even those red dye no. 2 jobbies (If you’re under the age of 40 you probably have no idea what I’m talking about…Google it, if you care.) that have  plastic consistencies.  Yes, I even perfected the technique of tying the cherry stem into a knot with my tongue, a la Lara Flynn Boyle in Twin Peaks (Old college days trick. Seriously, I don’t do that anymore.  I’m a refined woman now. Bwhahahahahah ROFLMAO!).

But I digress.  Back in the olden days, pre-Prohibition, maraschino cherries were made by letting the sour Marasca cherry (hence, the name) luxuriously bathe in Maraschino Liquor (you may remember that The Aviation called for a splash of this lovely spirit.) for a few days.  Once bath time was over, these little cherubic lovelies found themselves doing the backstroke in many of the popular drinks of the day, including The Old Fashioned and The Manhattan (Watch Mad Men?  They drink these A LOT.).  Even young children would partake of these drunken delicacies.  Prohibition, here in the States, saw the demise of the proper maraschino cherry and, dare I say, the first instance of “politically correct” behavior of parents who would no longer be serving their children booze soaked fruit in their Shirley Temples or on top of hot fudge sundaes.  (Although, I will acquiesce that the booze soaked cherry bombs in this post are admittedly unsuitable for anyone under the age of 21.  Carding is a must prior to serving even one of these babies.)  And Craig has decided even though I’m nuts for making my own maraschinos…these are pretty damn good (really damn good).

I suppose I should give the government a bit of a pass.  Stay with me here…companies in the United States started screwing with the original recipe for maraschino cherries before Prohibition started.  In fact, back in 1911 the New York Times wrote this little missive:

Few persons who have been reasonably well-bred, and choose their edibles and drinkables with some regard for hygienic laws, know much, if anything, about the cocktail cherry. It is a tasteless, indigestible thing, originally, to be sure, a fruit of the cherry tree, but toughened and reduced to the semblance of a formless, gummy lump by long imprisonment in a bottle filled with so-called maraschino. The liquor known as maraschino, when authentic, has its merits, and though we may shun it we are not disposed to condemn it, for it is derived from the most luscious cherries. But the so-called maraschino of commerce has been found, on analysis, to contain benzaldehyde, glucose and other objectionable ingredients, and this is the liquid in which the cocktail cherry of commerce has been preserved. The information comes none too soon. The cocktail cherry should be suppressed. . .the cocktail cherry is an abomination of comparatively recent origin, and now that its utter unfitfulness has been manifested, we trust that it will disappear.

In my manic quest to procure sour cherries, make store bought things better at home (lard) and continuing that whole retro thing even further…I decided I needed to turn a pound of my sour cherries into some fine/artisan maraschino cherries.

For the record, you can buy the official Luxardo Maraschino Cherries from various sources online.  The least expensive place I found them was at Amazon for .36 a piece (and no, you can’t buy them individually – it’s a jar of 50 for the minimum).

Relationship Advice

I talked about the Princess problem in my last cherry post.  This time I’m taking on the Disney Prince and what women have learned from them.

So Disney animators, being mostly male, had a seemingly easy time of coming up with (no pun intended) the female princess species in their tales but what about their male suitors?  The prince of each melodrama.  These men (ok, cartoons) had to represent all of the most desired male qualities of the day.

John Smith – Rumor has it that Mel Gibson was the model for the Englishman that wooed Pocahontas.  Not quite the textbook ‘prince’ but close enough.  He was chosen for his rugged good looks and acting ability in action films.  Of course, this was before his anti-Semitic rants and racist phone messages.  Now you wouldn’t catch him within 10 feet of Pocahontas.  But hey, who knew? (Lesson learned– Pocahontas is a Disney princess based on a technicality due to reality.  So she doesn’t experience the same benefits as a traditional princess (including the perfect prince).  Who needs reality?)

Prince Philip – Prince to Princess Aurora (aka Sleeping Beauty) – Fashioned after Rebel Without a Cause James Dean and politically incorrect (real life) Prince Philip (married to real life Queen Elizabeth), Disney’s Prince Philip lives on to be every woman’s fantasy arranged marriage – a dashing older man that truly knows what he wants and will stop at nothing to get it.  As a young child, Prince Philip is betrothed to Princess Aurora at her christening (The only date my parents ever set up for me was a disaster that they make movies of on the Discovery Channel – hurricanes/earthquakes/famines are a close second when comparing outcomes.).  He then goes on to pursue Princess Aurora, not knowing that she is his betrothed, as he is truly in love with her as the person that she is. (Lesson Learned – older men are the bomb and younger men don’t have a clue.)

Prince Naveen – from The Princess and the Frog – The look of this prince came from a mixture of the look of the 3 Jonas Brothers.  Really!  The supervising animator asked his teenage daughter who the cutest boys were.  As he drew each derivation of the prince, he asked her which one she would go out with.  Yeah, nothing like setting your daughter up for pure disappointment and boys with unachievable physical aspirations (huh…could this be Disney’s unintentional payback for all the years of girl’s physical and emotional pain of the “ideal” beauty? Doubtful)  Just chalk this up as one more emotional scar a father has put upon his daughter’s psyche.  (Lesson learned – an attractive but physically weak male suitor may look good on paper and in the fantasy realm…but in the real world has yet to prove he can really get the job done.)

Makes 1 pint of cherries

Recipe from The New York Times


  • 1 Cup Maraschino Liqueur (I used Luxardo)
  • 1 Pint Pitted Sour Cherries (I used fresh cherries and left a few of the stems on. Can use canned/bottled drained sour cherries – similar results but will be a bit soggier)


Bring maraschino liqueur to a simmer.

Add cherries and remove from heat.

Cool mixture.

Pour mixture into glass container and seal.

Refrigerate for at least 3 days ( I let mine sit for a week before they were done to my liking.)

Will keep refrigerated for several months.  ( If they last that long.)

Next up…an old school Old Fashioned.


Lentil Breakdown July 28, 2010 at 11:24 pm

I loved Shirley Temples growing up, but I can’t stand those fake cherries with the red dye #87 anymore. Glad to see you’re onto a healthier version that’s swimming in alcohol! ; )

Kim July 28, 2010 at 9:48 am

On a side note, I just use Amaretto to flavor ours. You can make them with sweet cherries as well. Simmer with sugar until they release their juice, put into jars, cover with the hot juice syrup and water bath process. Yum. I like it much better even with sweet cherries than sour. Nothing like homemade ice cream with sweet amaretto cherries mixed in. Wowza.

Lynne @ CookandBeMerry July 26, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Your analysis of the princes was hilarious. Thanks for the belly laugh!

Pamela July 27, 2010 at 5:47 pm

You’re very welcome!

Steve July 26, 2010 at 9:03 pm

What funny timing. I bought my 4 year old her first Shirley Temple last night and she fell in love with the neon red maraschino cherries.

Pamela July 27, 2010 at 5:47 pm

What 4 year old couldn’t fall in love with them? They’re just so bright and cute. What timing…how did she like her Shirley Temple?

sippitysup July 26, 2010 at 5:59 pm

At last I see them! Now where’s my Manhattan? GREG

Pamela July 27, 2010 at 5:49 pm

They finally were drunk enough to debut. The 3 day rule for this recipe just didn’t cut it for me. They definitely needed a week to mature. And have I got a Manhattan recipe for you….

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks July 26, 2010 at 11:05 am

I was also a fan of the old neon version. I haven’t eaten them in years and never tried to master the stem knot thing.

Pamela July 27, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Wait til you try the grown up version….

The Cilantropist July 25, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Haha, this post was awesome! From the origins of maraschino cherries to disney princes. 🙂 I will definitely be making these, I have a free jar now that needs to be filled!

Pamela July 27, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Fill that jar!

pegasuslegend July 25, 2010 at 12:40 pm

I cant believe as much as I love cherries have never had or heard of these type, I live rainier and bing so will have to look for these too! thanks

Pamela July 27, 2010 at 5:52 pm

You should be able to find sour cherries back East a bit easier than we can out here. Check the freezer section of your grocery store. I know when I’m back in Ohio I’ve been able to get some there (when sour cherries are out of season).

marla {family fresh cooking} July 25, 2010 at 10:57 am

I love that you give us a homemade recipe for Maraschino cherries. I was always a fan of Shirley Temples with extra Maraschino cherries when I was kid. Not sure which of those princes i could tolerate in my life. Think i’ll stick with my hubs. xo

Pamela July 27, 2010 at 5:53 pm

As we all find out, when we hit adulthood, Prince’s can be quite overrated.

penny aka jeroxie July 25, 2010 at 6:00 am

Oh! That is so simple. Looking forward to Old Fashioned!

Pamela July 27, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Coming Friday…

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