Cherry Bomb

Go retro with this classic bitter-cherry liqueur


It's a bit of a time machine. Adding a bottle of maraschino liqueur to your home bar opens the door to long-forgotten cocktails, the ones served before Prohibition, the Depression, the first World War. While this alluring, bittersweet liqueur has a historical relation to those tiny red cherries that come in the jar, we're not referring to the brine in which they're packaged.

Maraschino is a spirit distilled from Marasca cherries; during production, the liqueur gains additional flavor from the cherries' pits, giving it almond-inflected contours that play nicely with everything from gin to whiskey. If you want to take a cherry-laced trip to the past, try these retro cocktails on for size.
Brooklyn Cocktail

2 oz Bourbon
3/4 oz Dry Vermouth
2 teaspoons Amer Picon
2 teaspoons Maraschino liqueur

In a bar glass half-filled with ice, pour all ingredients and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

East India Cocktail
Originally printed in 1882 in the New and Improved Bartender's Manual by Harry Johnson, and later recovered by vintage cocktail expert Ted Haigh.

3 oz Brandy
1/2 oz Raspberry syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 teaspoon Orange curacao
1 teaspoon Maraschino liqueur

In a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice, combine all ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Hemingway Special

2 oz White rum
1/4 oz Maraschino liqueur
1/2 oz Lime juice
1 oz Grapefruit juice

In a shaker filled with cracked ice, combine all ingredients and shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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  • Snooth User: denisstad
    437389 7

    The Avation is one of my favorite drinks but recently the recipe was updated in a magazine I saw that added 3/4 oz of Parfait Amour. It made the aviation even better!

    Aug 01, 2010 at 4:38 PM

  • Snooth User: courgette
    124481 158

    Actually, Creme de Violette was the original purply-blue liqueur used in the Aviation. I like mine with or without-- either way, I go with 2 oz (Plymouth) gin, 1/2 oz lemon juice, 1/2 oz either all maraschino, or combination of maraschino & creme de violette.

    I really like Parfait d'Amour with the same recipe, in place of maraschino, but it's quite a different experience from creme de violette, which also gives the drink a really great color-- kind of a pale, transparent navy blue.

    Rothman & Winter c. de v. began to appear in the US a couple of years ago, thanks to Alpenz:

    And by the way-- I've been through a good dozen bottles of maraschino (mostly Luxardo, but also Stock), but would never described it as "bitter sweet." Sweet, yes-- bitter, no. It DOES have a wee bit of that mysterious and distinctive flavor that's in grappa, though. I'm not sure how to describe whatever that is, but wouldn't call it bitter. I also would never have guessed it was made with cherries! Really an addictive flavor, though.

    Aug 09, 2010 at 4:36 PM

  • Snooth User: Cwany
    496034 9

    Took a shot at East India Cocktail. I've replaced raspberry syrup with lakka (don't have the first one on the stock) and skipped tha angosture (short of this one at the moment). Result - quite interesting drink, but needs working on, it's not so great (5 in my 1 to 10 scale). But you know - there's no accounting...

    Sep 04, 2010 at 2:11 PM

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