Food & Drink

The Best Cherry Liqueur Roundup: 12 Bottles Tasted, 1 Winner

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Apart from the orange, the cherry appears to be the fruit that results in spirits greater than adnything else. Credit score that not simply with the recognition of cherry as a flavoring agent, but additionally, maybe, with the truth that cherries appear to develop in all places: The U.S., all throughout Europe, Russia, and even the center East. Because of this, cherry liqueur can be made nearly in all places. Of the 12 merchandise on this cherry liqueur roundup, 7 completely different nations are represented.

First, some caveats: Cherry liqueurs are available quite a few kinds. We’ve lined maraschino — a transparent liqueur that’s distilled from cherry pulp and pits, then sweetened — previously, and certainly sometime we’ll write about kirsch, which is an unsweetened, clear brandy produced from Morello cherries. Immediately we’re trying extra narrowly at conventional cherry liqueur, which is usually a distillate of grain impartial spirits, blended with cherry juice, sugar, and different flavoring brokers like spices. In different phrases, these conventional — and all the time darkish pink — liqueurs aren’t produced from distilled cherries; they’re simply used to taste another impartial spirit.

Complicating issues is the truth that there are several types of cherries on the market on this planet — some candy, some bitter. Each are used to make liqueurs, which run the spectrum between these two spots on the flavour wheel. In our tastings beneath, we will endeavor to interrupt down the place every one lands.

What do you do with cherry liqueur? Two of probably the most well-known cocktails for the stuff embody the Singapore Sling and the Blood & Sand — and I attempted my high contenders within the latter, in addition to the Remember the Maine, which is a little more delicate relating to using the liqueur. In any other case, all liqueurs had been tasted neat and with added water.

Singapore Sling (Raffles Resort model)
1 ouncesnbsp;gin
0.5 ouncescherry liqueur
0.25 ouncesCointreau
0.25 ouncesBenedictine
4 ouncespineapple juice
0.5 ounceslime juice
1/3 ouncesgrenadine
1 sprint bitters

Shake all substances with ice. Pressure right into a tall highball glass. Garnish with lemon and maraschino cherry. (Observe that there are infinite, and really completely different, variations on this cocktail.)

Blood & Sand
3/4 oz. Scotch
3/4 oz. candy vermouth
3/4 oz. cherry liqueur
3/4 oz. orange juice

Shake with ice and pressure right into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

Right here’s our high picks, from favourite to least. It’s an excellent robust name, however Luxardo simply barely edges out Heering and Maraska for the win.

Luxardo Sangue Morlacco Cherry Liqueur – Italy. Created from Marasca cherries — the identify interprets as “cherry blood.” Crimson pink, with a brilliant cherry nostril that leans, only a bit, in direction of raspberry. Even brighter fruit is clear on the palate, which loosens issues up with a contact of strawberry and a notice of chocolate. General candy however with a frivolously bitter edge that offers the end some wanted cleaning character, this can be a rock-solid and really balanced expression of cherry in liqueur kind. In cocktails, a nutty character comes into focus, which provides some nuance. Love the dripless spout on the bottle, too, which retains issues from changing into impossibly sticky. 60 proof. A / $30 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

Heering Cherry Liqueur – The Netherlands (initially made in Denmark). Previously referred to as Peter Heering, then Cherry Heering, now simply Heering. That is the OG cherry liqueur and the one one you’ll ever see referred to as for by identify in an old style cocktail recipe, although it’s now owned by DeKuyper, therefore its (considerably heretical) relocation of manufacturing to The Netherlands. It’s nonetheless produced from Danish cherries, although. Dense, burgundy coloration and syrupy consistency. Intense cherry nostril, with sturdy overtones of almonds and a few orange peel. There’s ample sweetness on the nostril, however the palate is slightly bitter and bittersweet, with a powerful reprise of almond on the end. Effectively-rounded, and arguably my favourite when utilized in a cocktail, its numerous parts coming into clearer focus. 48 proof. A- / $33 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

Maraska Wishniak Cherry Liqueur – Croatia. Created from native Marasca cherries. Barely brighter coloration than most of those liqueurs, with candy, contemporary cherry notes on the nostril and a touch of almond. Candy however not overblown on the palate — cherry, positive, but additionally a lighter strawberry notice is clear. The nuttiness on the nostril isn’t as highly effective on the palate, which options some brighter acidity to maintain the sugar from getting out of hand. A contact of chocolate and a few mint on the end. Fairly a flexible liqueur (and the very best abv liqueur within the roundup), although not overwhelmingly advanced. 62 proof. A- / $25 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

Merlet Soeurs Cerises Cherry Liqueur – France. Created from a mix of cherry varieties, plus a small quantity of cherry distillate and Cognac. (Observe that it’s now not known as a “Cherry Brandy Liqueur,” although.) Intensely burgundy in coloration, the liqueur is each sharp and candy on the nostril, pairing darkish black cherry notes with a raspberry factor. There’s a pleasant stability of candy and bitter on the palate, which reveals a barely floral edge and a Portlike notice because it develops within the glass. In a cocktail, the liqueur’s darker fruit notes grow to be extra pronounced, nearly cassis-like, to the purpose the place it might probably substitute simply for creme de cassis. Intense fruit continues nicely into the prolonged end. 48 proof. A- / $23 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

Patique Cherry Liqueur – Petaluma, California. Created from California cherries, selection unspoken. Brick pink, nearly brown, there’s an nearly Port-like aroma right here that nods strongly at oxidized wine, filtered by means of intense cherry juice. Upon tasting, my speedy connection was to candy vermouth, and given the 19% abv, the bottom abv within the lineup, there’s possibly one thing to that. The cherry character right here is initially large and welcoming, however it’s tempered by notes of tea leaf, cola, and a few spice, all of which evoke that vermouth factor additional and take the expertise in a unique course, with a distinctly earthy, spicy end. In contrast to many of the liqueurs on this roundup, Patique drinks higher solo than in cocktails, working greatest as a cherry-scented spin on an aperitif slightly than a supporting participant in a extra advanced ensemble. 38 proof. A- / $35 (375ml) [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

Rothman & Winter Orchard Cherry Fruit Liqueur – Austria. Created from bitter Weichsel cherries and, uniquely, made with eau de vie (brandy) from the identical fruit. Vibrant pink, candy, cherry-filled nostril, nearly candylike in aroma — with darker cherry notes coming into focus with time in glass. On the nostril, it’s extraordinarily simple and refreshing. The palate reveals a lot of the identical character, an unabashed expression of maraschino cherry that’s touched reasonably with almond. Water brings out that latter factor extra clearly, giving the liqueur a biscotti-like high quality to it that could be a bit uncommon. Clear end, with hints of florals; these flowery notes are way more pronounced in a cocktail. 48 proof. B+ / $25 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

G.E. Massenez Creme de Griotte – France. Created from Morello cherries. Candy and syrupy and a burgundy-purple in coloration, this can be a no-nonsense, very low-alcohol liqueur that tastes as a lot of cherries because it does of raspberries and currants, with a contact of chocolate swirled into the combo. The end at the least hints extra clearly at a barely bitter cherry factor, however it’s delicate — and wrapped up in a slurry of red- and black-berry sweetness. 40 proof. B+ / $20 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

Schladerer Edelkirsch Liqueur – Germany. Created from Black Forest cherries. Schladerer is greatest identified for making kirschwasser; right here its cherry distillate is mixed with contemporary cherry juice to make a extra conventional liqueur. In all probability probably the most distinctive liqueur on this lineup, the garnet pink liqueur provides a curious nostril of combined fruits, plus a powerful floral bent that evokes irises, adopted by mint and younger eau de vie. Extra fruit-forward on the palate, the liqueur’s cherry notes are muddled with parts of raspberry — then ample, potpourri florals coming into sturdy focus. For higher or worse (and it will certainly be a matter of style), this liqueur’s perfumed, flowery parts are clearly seen in cocktails, even in small doses, so plan accordingly. 56 proof. B+ / $36 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

New Liberty Bitter Cherry Liqueur – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Created from Montmorency cherries. Reasonably brown in coloration, like a tawny Port. A bit of boozy on the nostril, and a contact earthy. Cherry aromas are current however vague, coming throughout extra like a mulled wine. The palate shifts gears, providing a reasonably candy (and under no circumstances bitter), considerably distinctive black cherry character, barely chocolatey and infused with notes of tea leaf and a soothing baking spice character. Gingerbread on the end. Much less overtly cherry-heavy than many of the liqueurs on this roundup, however maybe extra attention-grabbing as a mixer. 60 proof. B+ / $25 (375ml)

Tattersall Bitter Cherry Liqueur – Minneapolis, Minnesota. Created from Montmorency cherries. The “bitter” on the label is not any joke. Closely bitter even on the nostril, with overtones of earth and dusky spice parts, sturdy on the cloves. The palate retains that bitter through-line going, a mouth-puckering expertise that layers notes of greenery and earth atop that bitter-sour core. The end lastly yields to point out only a trace of sweetness, however the expertise is overwhelming by itself. As a coloring agent and contact of sourness in a cocktail, it really works higher. 60 proof. B / $33 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

Resort Tango Cherry Liqueur – Indianapolis, Indiana. Created from Montmorency cherries. This reasonably darkish burgundy liqueur is very sticky, so I assumed it will be stuffed with sugar. The expertise doesn’t bear that out: A clear, bitter cherry factor on the nostril leads the way in which to an intensely bitter palate that options nearly no sweetness in any respect. That frivolously bitter and wildly bitter character hangs on for what looks as if ceaselessly, making this is likely one of the purest expressions of uncooked cherry juice that I discovered on this roundup, with just about no diversions from the through-line. It’s fairly off-putting by itself however works higher, at the least in small proportions, in cocktails. 56 proof. B- / $30 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

… plus …

Maraska Cherry Wine – I’m placing this add-on right here as a result of, nicely, the place else am I going to cowl it, and since it makes for a reasonably good different to cherry liqueur in order for you one thing decrease in alcohol or a bit much less candy. Maraska’s cherry wine, produced from Croatian Marasca cherries, comes throughout precisely as described, a pure expression of cherry juice with minimal diversion. A notice of darkish chocolate, a light-weight contact of mint, and vanilla on the end evoke some liqueur-like parts, though the skinny, nearly watery physique retains any cloying qualities in verify. 14% abv. B+ / $15 [BUY IT NOW FROM DRIZLY]

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