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I remember the first time Mr. Wine & Drama saw how much my decadent Luxardo cherries cost, oh boy. It didn’t go over well.
Let me give you a background on Mr. WAD, he’s an old school gentleman, but he’s a bit of rough around the edges. Everyone likes him because he’s genuine. He’s not afraid to spend money. He drives luxury cars and owns expensive watches but will price compare tomatoes. He’s usually conspiring to save on having the cleaning lady come over by announcing he’s already cleaned the bathrooms. The bathrooms are not the entire house, sweet cheeks.
He’s not exactly cheap, let’s label him frugal. He likes knowing his money is working for him and his credit is AAA. It’s one of the things I love about him. Me on the other hand I tend to think it’s raining diamonds and Champagne 24/7. I’m manifesting it ALL dammit.
So, one Thursday evening on our regular jaunt to the liquor store, I had no idea he’d have a fit over my beloved Luxardo cherries.
If you don’t know know about them let me tell you…
Why Luxardo Cherries Are the Most Expensive Cherries on the Planet
…Luxardo Maraschino cherries are the original maraschino cherry. They are practically the most delicious and perfect preserved cherries you’ll ever taste. They’re sweet and meaty, with a hint of almond and spice.
The syrup is a red black color and thicker than honey. It’s amazing in cocktails and perfect perched atop creamy vanilla gelato or thrown in a glass of Champagne for a little sweet surprise at the end.
Luxardo cherries are not alcoholic and they will literally last until the zombie apocalypse provided you don’t store them in the fridge. Resist the urge. Resist it. Store them at room temperature only please. I’ve said it twice.
Now, don’t confuse Luxardo cherries with the fake neon red “maraschino cherry.” The nuclear red colored sweet bomb that’s on every grocery shelve and seedy bar has nothing to do with this beauty.
So how did we end up with the candy apple red chemical cocktail that are “maraschino” cherries?
Well, a horticulturist named Ernest Wiegand back in the 20’s created it by Frankeinsting American Royal Cherries, red dye, calcium salts, and some other chemicals.
Tada! Cheaper and the American public was none the wiser. It’s like saying a labradoodle and a chihuahua are the same type of dog. No, they’re not.
Luxardo cherries originated way back in 1821 by Girolamo Luxardo, in what was once Italy, but is now modern day Croatia.
Signore Luxardo, owned a distillery on the coast of then Italy, and created a famous cherry liqueur called Maraschino based on a secret medieval spirit. The liqueur was made from sour Marasca cherries bits by distilling the fruit leaves, stems, skins, and pits.
Fast forward to 1905 and the distillery started selling the Marasca cherries in a syrup of its own juice and sugar, creating the Luxardo Maraschino cherry.
Well when Hitler invaded Europe during WWII and every one was in clear and present danger, a member of the Luxardo family named Giorgio (love that name) managed to flee with one precious sapling and the recipe for the liqueur. Ever since then Luxardo liqueurs and cherries have been grown and made in Italy.
Price Checks and the Game of Love
So back to our liquor store run…
We walked to the checkout counter, Mr. Wine & Drama placed our bottles on the counter. I smiled and placed my jar of cherries on the counter behind the bottles.
The price for each item flashes green and I watch as the Mister is mentally calculating the running total in tandem with the cash register.
Three bottles of assorted red wines, an Argentinean Malbec, a Barossa Shiraz, and a Lodi Zinfandel. He nods.
Two bottles of Sauvignon Blanc one from Chile and one from New Zealand. He yawns.
Hendricks Gin, check. He rolls his eyes.
Misters Bourbon of choice Maker’s Mark and a Woodford Reserve for company. He smiles.
Orange bitters. Blank stare.
Lillet Blanc. A cough, but unperturbed.
“Huh?” He grimaced loudly. “Why are they so expensive?”
“Why are you yelling?” I asked.
“I’m not yelling. This is my voice. My man, how much for those cherries?”
“$16,” The clerk named, Clark flashes a nervous smile.
“For some cherries?” He asks staring at me as if he hadn’t heard Clark correctly.
“Yes, that’s what they cost.” I rummage casually in my purse for lip gloss, my lips are parched buying all this sippable goodness.
“Why? No, come on Alexandra…do we really need these cherries? That’s too much.”
I give him a blank stare.
“They’re the best, you’ll see.”
“No, they’re just cherries.”
There’s now a line of eager customers forming behind us…neither of us are moved by the curious onlookers. Mr. WAD could care less and I grew up in a family of loud talkers and deal makers that embarrassed you anywhere, anytime, every price was haggled on…whatever this doesn’t even phase me.
“Why, do we need these? What about those Bourbon cherries over there, they’re $8 and locally made.” He points.
“What?” I gasp. It’s a clutch my pearls type of silent shock. I should have worn pearls today, they would have gone with my black t-shirt and black yoga pants.
“No. Those are not even in the same ball park. It’s like saying a Sonic burger is Waygu beef,” I say.
“Remember the steak dinner we had for your birthday?”
This he gets. He mulls it over. Slowly he nods and rolls his eyes. He waves to Clark to continue and we’re happily checking out.
Clark seems utterly relieved. He reminds us of our loyal 5% customer discount and Mr. W&D asks for it to be raised to 10% considering we’ve dropped more than a few Ben Franklin’s in one shot. I smile at Clark and non,”I agree.”
“No, problem, Mr. & Mrs. W&D.”
We laugh secretly to each other.
Now are these cherries worth the money?
Short answer: Hell. Yes.
What did Madame Chanel say?
“The best things in life are FREE. The second best things are VERY EXPENSIVE.” You got that right.
Make no apologies. You want it, enjoy those goddamn cherries.
They taste fabulous in a classic Manhattan (one of Mr. W&D’s favorites below).
- 1 1/2 oz Bourbon (Woodford Reserve or Basil Hayden)
- 1 1/2 oz Sweet Red Vermouth (Dolin Rouge or Vermut)
- 1/2 oz Luxardo cherry syrup
- 3 Luxardo cherries
- 2 dashes orange bitters
Pour all liquids in a rocks glass, add ice, stir well. Spear cherries on a toothpick add to drink and serve.
- 4 oz chilled sparkling wine, Prosecco, Cava, or Champagne
- 1/2 oz Luxardo cherry syrup
- 3 Luxardo cherries
Pour cherry syrup in the bottom of Champagne flute or coupe, pour in wine, stir well. Spear cherries on a toothpick add to drink and serve.
Stir the syrup into sparkling wine or your libation of choice and you’ll get a nice sweet hit of luxurious cherry flavor without having to resort to the fake stuff.
With just one or two plopped into any drink you’re going to have an ultra gratifying experience. Why deny yourself life’s little pleasures?
..Now you won’t find them at your grocery store ever. Luxardo cherries don’t roll like that. They’re only at specialty liquor stores or you can find them on Amazon.
Use your dollars, Euros, or Yen wisely my sweet…
…But for God sake always enjoy whatever crosses your lips.
Cheers to the most expensive cherries in the world, they’re worth it.