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This week I’ve decided to spotlight one of the more intriguing flavors that I’ve come across over the last year or so, Luxardo’s Maraschino Liqueur.  It is distilled from Marasca cherries and originally came from what is now Croatia.  I purchased my first bottle of Luxardo’s Maraschino about a year ago so that I could try an Aviation Cocktail, an old classic that I had read about in Dale Degroff’s “The Craft of the Cocktail”.  The Aviation puts the maraschino front and center and it has grown on me.  I’ll readily admit that this is a somewhat acquired taste, but then again so are many of life’s tastiest tidbits.  The flavor of the maraschino is not at all sweet (completely unlike the bright red maraschino cherry that you buy at the store and that your girl- or boyfriend uses to show off when she or he ties the stem into a knot without the aid of hands).  It does taste somewhat like a tart cherry with an almost nutty undertone.  It plays well with gin and rye whiskey.  But that’s not all, as it can be found in any number of cocktails.

As for the Aviation Cocktail, well, as I’ve already written, this (along with the French 75) is probably the cocktail most responsible for my interest in classic cocktails.  The recipe that I use is probably close to the original, although as with most classic cocktails, the precise origin is hard to pinpoint.  It was definately around in the 1930’s in the form that Degroff uses in “The Craft of the Cocktail”.  However, I’ve seen reports that put its origin as early as 1916 – perhaps it was a tribute to the Wright brothers!

  Aviation Cocktail

  • 2 oz Plymouth gin
  • 1 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • Flamed lemon peel for garnish


Shake the gin, maraschino and lemon juice with ice and strain into a chilled coupe. 

I find that the Plymouth provides an excellent backdrop for the maraschino.  Suprisingly, it is not nearly as tart as you might expect, with the lemon juice complimenting the maraschino very nicely. 

I’ll be following up this week with more recipes using maraschino.  If you are interested in learning more about the history of maraschino liqueur just click here.  And for more information about Luxardo, just click here.


Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

Day 16, Cocktail 16


  1. Yo Stan!

    Just started reading “Boozehound” by Jason Wilson. If ever there was a book with your name on it, this is it (figuratively speaking of course 🙂 ). I finished up a section on the Aviation Cocktail and the author mentioned an ingredient called Creme de Violette which was used in the original Aviation recipe. Here is an article in The Atlantic that talks about it in greater detail (scroll down to the last two paragraphs):

    Apparently, the Aviation got it’s name from the sky blue color that it had when prepared using the original recipe that contained Creme de Violette. Pretty cool huh?

    Cheers and Happy New Year!

    • Thanks for the tip G-LO…I’ve seen the Aviation with the Creme de Violette – but it’s not an easy liqueur to find, at least around here. I have had it with the violette in it, and it is good. I’l also check out Boozehound – sounds like my kind of book!

      • It’s a good read so far. If you want to preview his writing before buying, the author is the spirits editor for the Washington post.

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] mix things up a bit and try a cocktail! Thanks to our friends at Esquire and The Twilight Lounge, I picked the Aviation Cocktail as my experiment for the evening. You can follow the links to their […]

  2. […] I wanted to strike out on my own.  I’ve been a fan of Luxardo maraschino since my first Aviation and really like how well it works with gin.  But rather than the lemon juice that makes up the […]

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