This time of year, when summer produce is behind us but we’re still not quite ready to give up on bright, fruit-accented cocktails, it’s time to break out the fruit liqueurs. And right now, we’re huge fans of Luxardo’s cherry liqueur known as Cherry "Sangue Morlacco.”
Suffice it to say that no one knows cherries quite like this Italian producer. Their Maraschino liqueur, made from the leaves, pits, stems and skins of sour marasca cherries, is a staple in classic cocktails the world over. Their maraschino cherries are the industry’s gold standard. And the Sangue Morlacco is just as impressive. Whereas maraschino has a pale hue, and a bitter edge alongside its sweetness, Sangue Morlacco is even more recognizable as pure cherry — deep red, with a great balance between sweet and tart. Give it a try in these three simple cocktails.
Easy: Cherry Bubbles
We have a theory about fruit liqueurs — add them to sparkling wine and you’ve got an A+ drink. We’ve never been wrong yet. Adding a splash to a glass of bubbles gives you a juicy cherry flavor made bright and effervescent. You can use a Luxardo maraschino cherry to garnish, but we went a little cheeky with a neon-red grocery store version. The choice is yours.
Instructions: In a wine glass or flute, combine 1 ounce of cherry liqueur with 4 ounces of bubbles. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Intermediate: Cherry Soda
Basically an adult cherry lemonade, this cocktail comes together in minutes with cherry liqueur, vodka, and lemon juice to keep it bright and lively. Take it from us, these go down easy.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine 1 ounce of vodka, 1/2 an ounce of cherry liqueur, 1/2 an ounce of fresh lemon juice, and a 1/4 ounce of simple syrup. Shake that all up until well-chilled, then strain into a tall glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a few Luxardo maraschino cherries.
Advanced: Cherry Manhattan
Manhattans are often garnished with a brandied cherry, so we’re taking it further, using cherry liqueur in the drink itself. Don’t skip the bitters or the lemon twist — both keys to a great Manhattan.
Instructions: In a mixing glass with ice, combine 2 ounces of rye, 3/4 ounce cherry liqueur, and 1/4 ounce honey syrup (that’s honey cut 1:1 with hot water). Add a dash of orange bitters. Stir until very well-chilled, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist — twisting it over the surface of the drink to spray its citrus oils on top — and a few Luxardo maraschino cherries.