Maraschino isn't the only cherry liqueur on the block. Cherry Heering is another variety boasting a legacy that likewise stretches back more than a century. And the differences between them are striking — starting with their colors.
The Unique Qualities of Cherry Heering
While there are a (small) number of producers of maraschino liqueur, Cherry Heering is both a brand and unique type of cherry liqueur unto itself. The lone producer of Cherry Heering would prefer you call it Heering Cherry Liqueur, but no one really abides by that.
Established in 1818, the liqueur is named for its creator, Peter Heering. It's Danish in origin (although the juice in my bottle comes from Sweden, according to the label's fine print) and clocks in at 24 percent ABV, a few points lower in strength than the most common maraschino liqueurs that make it to the U.S.
Getting back to that color, it's a deep, wine-dark red — in marked contrast to maraschino's often-transparent clarity. Both its color and low alcohol content point to another important distinction between Cherry Heering and maraschino liqueur: the former results from infusion of fruit in spirits; the latter entails a distillation, a process that yields a clear or nearly clear distillate.
Cherry Heering is made with Danish cherries (several sources note the variety as the Stevens), which are crushed and left to soak in neutral spirits along with a selection of spices. According to drinks writer Paul Clarke, that liquid is then aged in barrels for as long as five years, during which time sugar is added to sweeten the product. By comparison, Cherry Heering is much richer, sweeter, and more viscous of a product than maraschino. There's a candied, vanilla aspect reminiscent of dessert wine.
Can I Substitute Cherry Heering for Maraschino?
Basically, Cherry Heering isn't really interchangeable with maraschino, despite their both being cherry liqueurs. And so it's not surprising that a set of classic cocktails has grown up around Cherry Heering much like those associate with maraschino. Three of the best-known concoctions are the Singapore Sling, a gin drink or equatorial origin; Remember the Maine, a boozy, brown-and-stirred number made with rye whiskey; and the Blood and Sand, one of the rare cocktails that features Scotch whisky.
Do you have any other favorite uses for this unique cherry liqueur?