10 Best Maraschino Liqueur Substitutes

Maraschino is one of the widely popular liqueurs in cocktail drinks. People love this cool, breezy liqueur for its distinct and unique flavor. But unfortunately, it is not available everywhere.

Excellent substitutes for Maraschino liqueur include cherry heering, port wine, amaretto, cherry syrup, cherry extract, kirsch, brandy, vodka, and homemade Maraschino Liqueur.

So, we have a list of substitutes for you to consider if you want a similar flavor. Let’s get started!

What Is Maraschino Liqueur?

One of the most popular cocktail flavors, Maraschino Liqueur, is an absolute delight.

It is a cherry-flavored liqueur that comes from the Marasca cherries and is very famous all around the bars in Croatia from where it originated.

It comes from red cherries. However, it does not have a red color. Furthermore, it pairs well with both drinks and baking dishes like tarts, pies, cakes, etc.

What Flavour Is Maraschino Liqueur?

What’s interesting about Maraschino Liqueur is that although it comes from cherries, it does not resemble its flavor. Instead, it has a distinct smooth yet intense flavor.

The slightly sweet flavor has undertones of herbal and nutty flavors. Moreover, it also has a bitter and dry taste that gives it the intensity of flavors.

Best Maraschino Liqueur Substitutes

Maraschino is a famous liqueur, but it is not readily available in the majority of countries. So we have a list of substitutes for you to enjoy the same taste and flavor.

1. Cherry Heering

Cherry Heering is one of the best substitutes for Maraschino Liqueur in the market.

It has a sweet and bitter taste that resembles Maraschino liqueur. Cherry Heering is a very significant part of the Singapore Sling cocktail, which is famous throughout the world.

It has the color of cherries, which makes it red. It is also sweeter than Maraschino. Hence, look for “true brandy” on the bottle before you buy it. Otherwise, it’ll be pretty sweet.

2. Kirsch


This German counterpart of Maraschino, meaning cherry, is the closest substitute for this liqueur. The bitter taste with a slight undertone of almond flavor resembles Maraschino.

Additionally, it has the same clear color as Maraschino as well. Kirsch comes from morello cherries which are kept intact for fermentation. Therefore, its flavor has a touch of sourness and tanginess to it which comes from the stones.

3. Port wine

Port wine

The intense aroma of Maraschino matches perfectly with the sweet, nutty, and spicy aroma of Port Wine. This Portugal counterpart can elevate any dessert and cocktail.

It comes in many flavors. But if you want to replace Maraschino liqueur, we would advise you to use Rose or Ruby Port. It has the sweet flavors of strawberry, raspberry, chocolate, caramel, and cinnamon.

Additionally, the berries and chocolates have different flavor profiles, which give them a unique taste of sweet, rich, and bitter taste. This resembles Maraschino. Thus, it is a good substitute.

4. Amaretto


Amaretto is the golden liqueur that originated in Saronno, Italy.

It comes from a variety of flavors such as almonds, apricots, and peaches with a consistent undertone of cherries and a distinct taste of almonds that resembles Maraschino liquer.

You can use this sweet liqueur in drinks, coffees, desserts, and other culinary dishes. Additionally, it has a sweet, nutty flavor with slight bitter notes. It works well with cakes, icing, and cookies. As for the drinks, it tastes amazing with an amaretto sour or orange cocktail.

5. Cherry syrup

Cherry Juice

The flavor that a liqueur provides a dish is unmatched. However, we also have an excellent non-alcoholic substitute. Hence, you can enjoy your favorite dessert or drink with a splash of cherry flavor.

This syrup is on the sweeter side so you might want to watch its quantity. Additionally, it’ll give a red color to the dish, so don’t worry if your pies, parfait, and cakes turn red.

Opt for the organic cherry syrup as it will not have any added preservatives. Just note that it will be less sweet than the regular ones.

6. Cherry extract

Cherry extract is another excellent substitute for instilling that cherry flavor in your dishes. Just a few drops of cherry extract in your drinks can bring about a change.

The cherry extract comes in different consistencies, such as thick and thin cherry extract. The thick extract is more flavorful so only a small quantity can do wonders for your dish.

On the other hand, the thin cherry extract needs a couple of drops to your dish to get the required flavor and taste. They don’t have sourness or bitter and dry taste. However, they can definitely compensate for the sweetness of Maraschino Liqueur.

7. Brandy


Not many people are aware that brandy comes in different flavors, and cherry-flavored brandy happens to be one. This brandy is an amalgamation of maraschino cherries and Kirsch. So, it has all the flavors of Maraschino Liqueur.

The bitter, dry, and almond flavor from Kirsch, along with the sour and sweet flavor of the cherries, is the perfect substitute for your drinks and some sweet winter desserts.

Overall, it has a sweet, oaky, and nutty tone which pairs well with the fall season drinks.

8. Vodka


Vodka comes in many flavors. And if you are a Vodka lover, you would know about the different types of Vodka Absolut.

The cherry-flavored Vodka Absolut is one of the most favorite flavors. With a 40% alcohol by volume, it has a slight cranberry and plum taste. I like it because it enhances the overall bland taste of vodka with cherries and adds a bold and tangy flavor to the overall dish.

Cherry-flavored vodka has a mild and tart flavor. It is not overly sweet either. Hence, it makes for a good substitute for Maraschino liqueur. 

9. Other fruity liqueur

Maraschino liqueur is unique. However, it’s not readily available. In such a situation, you can opt for a more readily available fruity liqueur, like an orange liqueur.

Orange liqueurs, such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier, can give a tangy yet fruity taste to anything. They might not be the same as the bitter almond finish of Maraschino, however, they can do the job.

10. Homemade Maraschino Liqueur

If you are in the mood to experiment a bit and make your own Maraschino liqueur at home, then we have the perfect recipe for you.


  • Marasca Cherries – 700 grams
  • Vodka – 750 ml
  • Sugar – 250 grams 
  • Cinnamon sticks – 2


Use a pitter to remove the pits from cherries to prepare them.

Set the cherries in a glass container and add vodka, sugar, and cinnamon to them. If you don’t want the liquor to be too sweet, you can reduce the quantity of sugar.

Shake the jar vigorously to dissolve the sugar.

Then, set the jar aside with a tight lid and let it age for about eight weeks. Finally, after 8 weeks, take out the cherries and cinnamon sticks and let them age for another 2-3 months.

Making an instant Maraschino liqueur is not possible because it will not have the intense flavor of the liqueur.

The flavor of homemade Maraschino liqueur will be different from the original liqueur. But the undertone flavor of oaky, nutty, and bitter taste will surely be there.

Related Questions

Is Maraschino liqueur the same as Luxardo?

Luxardo is a brand that manufactures Maraschino liqueur. It has been in production since 1821 by Girolamo Luxardo.

What can you substitute for cherry liqueur?

Cherry liqueur covers all the types of cherry-flavored liqueurs from different parts of the world, including Maraschino, Kirsch, and Cherry Heering. So, you can substitute it with cherry-flavored brandy, vodka, cherry extract, syrup, and amaretto.

Is Maraschino liqueur the same as cherry brandy?

They are not the same, but their base flavors are the same. The bitter, dry, and nutty flavors of cherry brandy resemble that of Maraschino liqueur. Additionally, maraschino liqueur stores the pits of cherries along with the fruit as opposed to cherry brandy.

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