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5 Ways To Use Luxardo Cherries

Our quest for the best maraschino cherries ended when we bought a jar of Luxardo cherries. Discover why Luxardo cherries are so special and then discover 5 great ways that you can use them at home.

Luxardo Cherries with Spoon
Image: ©2foodtrippers

We’re obsessed with cherries.

This obsession has motivated us to hunt for Vignola cherries in Emilia-Romagna and hike for Romanian cherries in the Cisnădioara Hills in Transylvania.

We don’t mind hiking through hilly forests and exploring ancient villages but doing so isn’t always feasible. Cherry season is limited and cherries are only at their prime for a few weeks each year.

Cherry Hike - Traditional Romanian Food
Many hike in Transylvania for gorgeous views. We hiked for cherries. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We also have a thing for maraschino cherries. But, even if we had constant access to amazing sour cherries, cooking and candying a cluster would be quite a chore to do ourselves.

So, in most cases, we happily lick cones topped with amarena (sour cherry) gelato instead. We’ve made this sweet sacrifice in Italian cities like Bologna, Florence, Naples, Rome, Venice and Verona just to name a few.

Gelato Cone at Fantasia Gelati in Naples Italy
When it comes to cherries, we’re equal opportunity eaters. We ate this amarena gelato cone in Naples. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Amarena cherries are great but we’ve upped our cherry love a notch since discovering Luxardo cherries at our local liquor store. Not only are we using Luxardo cherries as part of our lazy mixology journey, but we’ve also found a number of great ways to utilize what we think may be the world’s best candied cherries.

Luxardo Cherries History

Luxardo Cherry Jar and Jar
A new Luxardo jar isn’t just filled with cherries. It’s also filled with possibilities. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

“If a man can… make a better mousetrap… the world will make a beaten path to his door.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Luxardo has made a better mousetrap that’s filled with maraschino cherries instead of cheese. Each jar of deep red, practically black beauties sports a juicy origin story to boot.

No overnight sensation, Girolamo Luxardo started producing candied marasca cherries more than a century ago. He made small batches at his family’s distillery in Zara, Italy (now Zadar, Croatia) without using any preservatives or artificial colors.

Spoon in Luxardo Cherry Jar
Alas, this jar of Luxardo cherries didn’t stay filled with maraschino cherries for long. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

After suffering hardships during the second world war, the Luxardo family relocated their cherry operation from Croatia’s Dalmatia Coast to Torreglia, Italy with a marasca sapling in tow. In addition to that sapling, the Luxardo family also brought their top quality recipes.

The Luxardo family still produces maraschino cherries but now they do it in Veneto’s Padua province between Verona and Venice. All these years later, the word Luxardo has become synonymous with maraschino cherries.

Buy a jar of Luxardo cherries.

Why Are Luxardo Cherries Special?

Luxardo Cherries with Spoon and Lid
A spoonful of Luxardo cherry syrup goes a long way. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Make no mistake – a jar of Luxardo cherries is a luxury item. Priced at 12€ in Lisbon (and double that in the US), the jar’s price is more than four times the cost of a jar of neon-red cocktail cherries at the grocery store. Ouch!

Although we love a good bargain, we actually consider this price to be fair. Not only is the intense flavor in each ebony orb sensational, but the rich flavor of Luxardo’s sweet syrup made with sour cherries is equally divine.

Buy a jar of Luxardo cherries.

5 Ways To Use Luxardo Maraschino Cherries

Luxardo Cherries and Cheese
How much do we love Luxardo Cherries? Let us count the ways… | Image: ©2foodtrippers

It’s no surprise that Luxardo cherries are ideal for cocktails. The jar literally makes this assertion. However, despite this recommended use on their jars, Luxardo’s maraschino cherries aren’t a one trick pony (or should we say one stem cherry?).

Being creative cooks and crafty mixologists, we’ve discovered a range of uses for the versatile Italian food product. Once you buy your first Luxardo jar and are ready to experiment, we suggest you start with the following ideas:

1. Cocktails

Whiskey Sour Next to Luxardo Cherries Jar
Luxardo cherries provide the finishing touch to cocktails like this classic Whiskey Sour. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Some people buy a jar of Luxardo cherries to garnish cocktails in their home bar and never use the jar for any other purpose. While we don’t agree with this approach, we totally get the motivation.

Luxardo cherries are an ideal finishing touch that makes a great cocktail even greater. We currently use these luxurious cherries to garnish Manhattan and Old Fashioned bourbon cocktails. They’re also great for non-bourbon cocktails like the Aviation, Brooklyn, Hemingway Daiquiri and Mary Pickford.

Bourbon Manhattan on Steps
We garnished this Manhattan with three Luxardo cherries and then we drank it. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We see these cherries working in as many alcoholic drinks that our thirsty imaginations allow, plus a Shirley Temple or two. Heck, we could probably add them to any liquor, straight up or on the rocks, and be happy with the resulting drink.

Aviation Cocktail Next to Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
We added Luxardo maraschino liqueur as well as a Luxardo maraschino cherry to this Aviation cocktail. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Pro Tip
Take your mixology to the next level with a bottle of Luxardo maraschino liqueur. You can add the sweet elixir into cocktails, drizzle it over fruit or imbibe it in tiny glasses.

2. Breakfast

Yogurt with 3 Luxardo Cherries
Luxardo takes the plain out of plain yogurt. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

If you agree with the adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then you’ll surely want to enhance that important meal with a few Luxardo cherries. It just makes sense.

As for us, we like to start some of our days by adding a few cherries to a bowl of Greek or artisan yogurt. Another breakfast idea is to drizzle Luxardo syrup over pancakes or french toast for an extra special start to the day. Daryl even wants to try them with Frosted Flakes.

3. Cheese Board

Cheese and Luxardo Cherries
Cabrales cheese from Spain and Luxardo cherries from Italy are a match made in cheese plate heaven. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Adding Luxardo cherries to a cheese plate is a tasty game changer. If you’re wondering which cheese pairs best with maraschino cherries, we recommend that you create a board with your favorite wedges to find out what YOU like best.

Copy us if you’re feeling overwhelmed. We included wedges of funky Cabrales and sheepy Manchego as well as a wheel of washed rind Au lait cru Époisses on our latest cheese plate. They all tasted great paired with Luxardo cherries.

4. Dinner

Duck with Luxardo Cherry Sauce
Eating Magret de Canard with savory Luxardo sauce made us quack with delight. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

Savory sauces made with Luxardo’s sweet cherries and even sweeter cherry syrup complement meats like duck and even chicken. When done right, the yin of the savory sauce takes on a sweet yang that will make you say “yum” in glee.

We developed a savory pan sauce recipe using Luxardo cherries, Luxardo syrup, red wine, tarragon, shallots and butter. We then drizzled the sauce over pan roasted duck breast to create a birthday dinner that was nothing short of a celebration on our plate.

5. Dessert

Vanilla Ice Cream with Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sprinkles
Luxardo cherries and chocolate jimmies transformed this simple bowl of vanilla gelato into a sundae. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

We saved the best for last – dessert.

A spoonful of Luxardo cherries is the ultimate dessert topping. Whether the dessert is a simple bowl of vanilla ice cream or a decadent slice of cheesecake, these cherries just work.

Dedicated dessert lovers will want to go further and add Luxardo cherries to a loaded ice cream float or sundae while bakers won’t resist using leftover Luxardo syrup in their cake recipes.

Buy a jar of Luxardo cherries.

Frequently Asked Questions

Luxardo Cherries and Yogurt
There’s no question as to whether Luxardo produces premium maraschino cherries. The proof is in the jar. | Image: ©2foodtrippers

It’s obvious that we’ve piqued your interest. If you still have questions, we have answers:

Frequently Asked Questions

How many Luxardo cherries are in a jar?

Each Luxardo jar has approximately 50 maraschino cherries.

Are Luxardo cherries worth it?

Yes. Each cherry packs a punch. Since these are maraschino cherries on steroids, 30 cents per cherry is a great value in our book. (Price varies by market and is subject to change.)

Are Luxardo cherries alcoholic?

No. Luxardo uses sugar and marasca cherry juice to create its cherry syrup.

Do Luxardo cherries need to be refrigerated?

No. However, Luxardo cherries last longer when refrigerated. The difference is 6 to 12 months in the refrigerator compared to 1 to 2 months in the pantry.

Can I make Luxardo cherries at home?

No. You can make homemade maraschino cherries but they won’t be Luxardo cherries. Only Luxardo makes true Luxardo cherries.

Video Recap

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Cheese Plate for Two
Best Hot Sauces - Social IMG
Staying Connected on the Road
Maraschino Liqueur Bottle and Mary Pickford Cocktail
Maraschino Liqueur Cocktails
Red Beach Selfie in Santorini

About the Authors

Daryl and Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.


Article Updates
We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

We purchased the luxardo cherries featured in this article.

Original Publication Date: February 22, 2021


Monday 10th of January 2022

I buy 2 jars a month. I add to my diet coke my daily ritual. I will love to buy the syrup it might save money. It's twenty dollars a jar.

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