Popular for its unique flavor, maraschino liqueur is a key ingredient in many classic cocktails. One of the most common uses for this cherry-flavored liqueur is the Aviation cocktail. But what if you’re out of this specialty liquor and need a substitute?
There are several options you can use as a maraschino liqueur substitute, depending on what you have on hand and what flavor profile you’re going for. The most common substitutes are Cherry Heering and other cherry-flavored liqueurs. In this article, we’ll go over the 13 best substitutes for maraschino liqueur.
What is maraschino liqueur?
Maraschino is a clear, slightly sweet liqueur made from the pitted marasca (maraschino) cherries grown in Dalmatia. The cherries are macerated in a still with neutral alcohol and sugar for several months before distillation. The resulting cherry spirit is then redistilled and flavored with a touch of almond extract.
Maraschino liqueur has a light, delicate flavor that is perfect for mixing in cocktails. It can also be enjoyed on its own or used as a topping for desserts. The bitter-dry flavor, a lack of overwhelming sweetness, and rich cherry taste makes maraschino stand out in classic cocktails.
Whether you’re looking for a unique ingredient for your next drink or simply want to expand your liqueur collection, maraschino liqueur is worth seeking out. We still have some alternatives, in case you can’t find it.
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13 substitutes for maraschino liqueur
Here is a list of the thirteen most common maraschino liqueur. These substitutes are unique in terms of application, but they all make a great swap for the different uses of maraschino liqueur.
1) Cherry Heering:
Cherry Heering is a cherry-flavored liqueur that is similar to maraschino. It is made from cherries, Neutral Spirits, and sugar. It has a deep red color and a sweet cherry flavor.
As a significant part of the Singapore Sling, Cherry Heering is also used in many other cocktails. Blood and sand is one other cocktail where Cherry Heering can be used as a maraschino liqueur substitute.
If you need to make some Cherry Heering at home (although it originated from Denmark), mix Stevens cherries, spices, and neutral grain alcohol. The result is a sweet and bitter flavor, closely resembling that of Maraschino liqueur, except it now has a deep red color.
Amaretto is an almond-flavored liqueur that is often used as a maraschino substitute. It is made from a base of apricot pits or almonds, Neutral Spirits, and sugar.
While Amaretto does not have the same cherry flavor as maraschino, it does have a similar almond flavor. This makes it a good substitute in cocktails that call for maraschino.
One such cocktail is the classic Boulevardier, which calls for bourbon, sweet vermouth, and Campari. Amaretto can be used in place of the maraschino to add a touch of almond flavor in cakes, icing, and cookies.
3) Cherry Brandy:
Cherry brandy is a cherry-flavored and sweetened liqueur that can be used as a maraschino substitute. Bols Cherry Brandy is one of the most well-known brands.
Cherry brandy is made by macerating maraschino cherries in Kirsch. It has a sweet cherry flavor with a hint of almond.
Cherry brandy can be used in cocktails that call for maraschino, such as the Aviation. You could also make syrup for your winter desserts by adding sugar or sweeteners to the cherry brandy.
4) Cherry Vodka:
Cherry vodka can be used as a maraschino substitute in cocktails. It is made from cherries and vodka.
Cherry vodka such as the Vodka Absolut has a mildly sweet cherry flavor. It can be used in cocktails that call for maraschino, such as the Cosmopolitan or the Cherry Blossom.
You can also use the unsweetened type in pace of kirsch, or to replace maraschino in cocktails like Martinez and Avion.
Pinnacle cherry vodka is a sweeter, mildly tarty flavored vodka ideal for making cherry cola or chocolate covered cherries.
Kirsch is a cherry-flavored brandy, and quite the closest substitute to maraschino. It is made from Morello cherries that are macerated in eau-de-vie.
Kirsch has a strong cherry flavor with a hint of almond. It can be used in cocktails that call for maraschino, such as the Aviation or the classic Manhattan. Other recipes suing Kirsch as a base ingredient include Rose, Florida, and Ladyfinger.
By taste, Kirsch is very comparable with maraschino, in addition to their closely similar calorie counts and alcohol by volume. For substitution, a ratio of 1:1 is preferable.
6) Grenadine cocktail syrup:
Grenadine is a pomegranate-flavored syrup that can be used as a maraschino substitute. It is made from pomegranate juice, sugar, and Neutral Spirits.
Grenadine has a sweet and tart flavor. It can be used in cocktails that call for maraschino, such as the Tequila Sunrise or the Shirley.
If using store-bought grenadine, factor in the high fructose from corn syrup. This is thus a sweeter grenadine syrup, which might not be ideal in some cocktails. You could make your own grenadine if you have pomegranate juice, sugar, and Neutral Spirits on hand.
7) Maraschino cherry juice:
Maraschino cherry juice can be used as a maraschino substitute in some cocktails. It is made from maraschino cherries, sugar, and water.
Maraschino cherry juice has a sweet cherry flavor. It can be used in cocktails that call for maraschino, but without the alcohol volume.
Some cherry juice brands are Maraska, Luxardo, and Toschi.
8) Port wine:
Port wine is a fortified wine that can be used as a maraschino substitute. It is made from red grapes that are macerated in Neutral Spirits.
Port wine has a sweet and fruity flavor. due to its woody and spicy aroma, Port wine closely resembles Cherry Heering, making it a good maraschino substitute.
Both tawny-colored and red types can be used as maraschino substitutes, but if you want an ideal one for cooking, Ruby Port is your best bet.
9) Cherry Extract:
Cherry extract can be used as a maraschino substitute in baking recipes. It is made from cherries and Neutral Spirits.
Extracts are very concentrated, so a little goes a long way. Be sure to use less than what the recipe calls for if substituting cherry extract for maraschino.
You could also make your own cherry extract by macerating cherries in Neutral Spirits for a few weeks.
10) Maraschino cherry syrup:
Maraschino cherry syrup can be used as a maraschino substitute in cocktails. It is made from maraschino cherries, sugar, and water.
Maraschino cherry syrup has a sweet sour flavor. It can be used in cocktails that call for maraschino, but without the alcohol. However, the sour taste makes up for the alcohol, while preventing an overly sweet flavor in cocktails.
A 1:1 ration is ideal for substitution, given that a single serving of the syrup is as high as 90 calories.
11) Glace cherries:
Glace cherries can be used as a maraschino substitute in baking recipes. They are made from cherries and sugar resulting in sugary syrup.
Glace cherries have a sweet flavor. They can be used as a maraschino substitute in baking recipes like pineapple upside-down cake. However, the final product will be very sweet.
12) Homemade cherry liqueur:
You could make your own cherry liqueur at home as a maraschino substitute. It is made from cherries, sugar, and cherry vodka/brandy.
Homemade cherry liqueur has a sweet flavor if you use the brandy, but prominently tangy if you use vodka.
Either way, this option is inexpensive and easy.
- Simply pit about 24 ounces of cherries and put in a glass jar containing 80 ounces of sugar dissolved in 750ml of 80% proof vodka/brandy.
- Store the mixture in a dark and cool place for 8 weeks, and then remove the solids.
- Add a cup of sugar syrup and let your homemade liqueur age for three months.
It can be used in cocktails that call for maraschino, such as the Aviation or the Martinez.
13) Other Non-alcoholic substitutes:
There are some other non-alcoholic substitutes that can be used in a pinch.
Fruit syrups: Cranberry, raspberry, and strawberry daiquiri syrups are ideal for substituting maraschino in cocktails.
For baking: Maraschino cherries, fresh cherries, and Amarena cherries can all be used as substitutes in baking recipes.
Cherry Heering vs. Maraschino Liqueur
When it comes to cherry-flavored liqueurs, there are two that stand out above the rest: Cherry Heering and maraschino liqueur. Both are made with real cherries, but they differ in both flavor and color.
Cherry Heering is a deep red color and has a rich, complex flavor that is dominated by notes of cherry, spice, and almond. Maraschino liqueur, on the other hand, is clear and has a much sweeter flavor with brighter cherry notes.
It’s also worth noting that Cherry Heering is significantly higher in alcohol content than maraschino liqueur. When choosing between these two liqueurs, it really comes down to personal preference.
If you’re looking for a strong cherry flavor, go with Cherry Heering. If you prefer something sweeter and more light-bodied, maraschino liqueur is the way to go.
Maraschino liqueur nutrition
Maraschino liqueur is made from cherries, so it contains the same nutritional benefits as fresh cherries – calories!
One ounce (1oz) of maraschino liqueur contains:
- Calories: 73
- Carbs: 9g
- Protein: 0g
- Fats: 0g
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is Maraschino Liqueur the same as Cherry Liqueur?
Maraschino liqueur and cherry liqueur are two very different types of liquor. Maraschino liqueur is made from the distilled spirits of the marasca cherry, while cherry liqueur is made from a blend of different types of cherries.
The marasca cherry is a sour cherry that is native to Croatia. It has a strong, bitter flavor that is often used in cocktails. Cherry liqueur, on the other hand, is made from sweet cherries and has a much sweeter flavor. It is often used in baking or as a topping for desserts.
While both liquors can be used in cocktails, they will give the drinker a very different experience.
How is Maraschino Liqueur made?
Maraschino liqueur is a clear, cherry-flavored spirit that is made by macerating marasca cherries in alcohol. The cherries are first soaked in a brine solution, then drained and macerated in neutral grain spirits for several months. This process extracts the flavor and color from the cherries, resulting in a deep red liqueur. The macerated cherries are then filtered out and the liqueur is bottled.
What does Maraschino Liqueur taste like?
Maraschino liqueur is a clear, cherry-flavored alcoholic beverage. The flavor is produced by macerating marasca cherries in neutral spirits, then infusing them with almond and vanilla extract.
When sipped neat, Maraschino liqueur has a sweet, cherry flavor with hints of almond and vanilla. It is smooth and easy to drink, making it a popular choice for those who are new to the world of spirits. Whether you enjoy it neat or in a cocktail, Maraschino liqueur is sure to add a touch of sweetness to your day.
When it comes to finding a maraschino substitute, there are many options available, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Each option has its own flavor profile that may work well in certain recipes or cocktails. Use this guide to help you find the best maraschino substitute for your needs.