We are back this month with another fun Make or Buy project, which also just happens to be something you can shelve away for holiday presents later this year. Today, we’re talking Luxardo Cherries.
There are lots of recipes for using other liquors when it comes to preserving cherries. Brandied cherries are very popular, but I’ve also seen whiskey and rum used. And while I happen to have some other varieties of this booze soaked fruit in a my pantry (including the newest addition from Copper & Kings), the Luxardo brand has been in my house the longest. And I happen to have had a bottle of Luxardo Maraschino liqueur that needed to get used, so I thought now would be a good time for a homemade batch.
Depending on where you live in the country, cherry season is any time between April and August. So technically we’re really right at the end of the season. Cherries might start to lose some of their flavor now, but fear not, they’ll still be tasty after a long bath in Luxardo.
Homemade maraschino cherries are going to look a bit different from the jarred cherries you might be used to. If I say “maraschino cherry” and you picture something bright red, well, this will be way different for you. If you’re used to Luxardo or Amarena you might be expecting a thick syrup. Well, sorry to say this, but that thick syrup is usually the result of the additive glucose into the mix. The homemade cherries here are in a much lighter syrup but I’ve given a note in the recipe if you’re looking for more viscosity.
Now, even with the note about glucose in the syrup, Luxardo cherries are still a delicious store bought brand and unless you’ve canned a bunch of jars in the summer, you’re going need to restock at the store. Luxardo cherries also feel very luxe, and quite frankly, are really easy to eat. So let’s look at the pros and cons of each.
To buy: Luxardo Cherries
- Available all year round
- Consistent flavor
- Ready made
- Contains additives
- High price point
- Unable to change flavor profile
To make: homemade Luxardo Cherries
- Easy to make
- Can change the flavor profile and/or syrup consistency to suit tastes
- Tastes of fresh cherries
- You have to make the product
- Sourcing Luxardo liqueur may be difficult depending on your area
- Must can the cherries for them to last longer than a month
Homemade Luxardo Cherries
- 1 pound cherries, pitted
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 lemon peel
- 5 black peppercorns
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup Luxardo liqueur
First, optionally remove stems if you have not so done already. Next, in a medium sized saucepan, combine water, sugar, cinnamon stick, lemon peel, peppercorns, nutmeg, and salt. Stir to dissolve sugar and bring to just under a boil. Lower heat to a simmer for 5 minutes and then stir in cherries. Coat cherries in the syrup and then remove from heat. Stir in the Luxardo liqueur and let mixture sit until cooled. At this point you can store the cherries in the fridge up to one month, or you can can them and store in a cool, dry place.
Note: if you would like a thicker syrup for your cherries, you can do one, two, or a combination of things. First, make a richer syrup with a 2:1 sugar to water ratio. Second, you can add in marasca cherry juice that you can reduced by half into the mix. This will some additional mouthfeel and an even more pronounced cherry flavor. Third, you can combine both the richer syrup and cherry juice and reduce to a thick syrup.