In any home bar, one necessity that has managed to elude us thus far is the Sugar Free Marachino Liqueur. Well, it has taken some considerable research and time, but the MDR Labs have finally conquered this essential liqueur for any bar.
Our research really specifies marasca cherry pits, which are bitter, as opposed to the standard grocery store cherries and are used during the distillation phase in order to extract some of those flavors. But finding dried cherry pits is quite an ordeal and honestly, not one that we’ve been able to successfully complete.
However, we did eventually find a website that sold regular dried cherry pits (which was a feat in and of itself!) called (aptly enough) The Cherry Pit Store. We bought a bag and played with it (and it was very inexpensive).
Now a disclaimer… This Sugar Free Maraschino Liqueur packs a little bit more cherry flavor than that of its high octane cousin, Luxardo. This is mostly due to the fact that our process does not distill our extract, so many of the aromatics that may be removed during the distillation process have not been used. That being said, if a recipe calls for Luxardo or Sugar Free Maraschino Liqueur, you may want to halve what is called for and do a simple taste test before proceeding with any more. I do have it personally from Mrs. MDR that she actually prefers the more cherry-infused flavor of the Sugar Free Maraschino Liqueur versus the standard Luxardo flavors.
Sugar Free Maraschino Liqueur
- 2 Cups Dried Cherry Pits
- 2+ Cups Food Grade Ethanol (Everclear 151) 75%*
- Water (as needed to dilute 1:2)
- Splenda (.322 Tablespoons per final Volume)
- Digital Balance
My apologies about the sort of cryptic amount of splenda listed above, but it will all make sense in the instructions.
First, measure out the two cups of dried cherry pits and put in a glass, sealable container. Then pour the Everclear over the dried cherry pits until they are barely covered. Depending on the size of your container, this may vary.
Note, using too much Everclear will just cause the cherry pits to float. You want as much surface contact between the ethanol and the cherry pits as possible, so use as little as you can, as long as everything is covered.
Then seal the top and store is a dark cupboard. Pull it out once a day and stir the cherry pits, resealing and placing back in the cupboard, for 7 days.
On the 7th day, pour out the cherry pit-infused alcohol through a mesh strainer. We recommend one with a handle that can hang over a collection bowl for ease. Pro-Tip: Pre-weigh or tare your collection device!
You’ll notice that the amount of volume of cherry pit-infused alcohol is much less than you started! Those dried pits are very thirsty!
Weigh the liquid you collected in ounces. Whatever weight you’ve collected, double it with water. (For example, if you collect 6.3 ounces of alcohol, add back 6.3 ounces of water for a final weight of 12.6 ounces of fluid.) This reduces the alcohol content down to ~32% (64 proof)
Now strain through a coffee filter and a funnel or cheese cloth to remove any particulate.
Reweigh the contents and add 0.322 Tablespoons of Splenda per ounce of fluid. (In our previous estimation, 12.6 fluid ounces x 0.322 = just a hair over 4 tablespoons.) You’ll want to be fairly close, only to keep the sweetness profile similar between a regular, high-octane maraschino liqueur, but don’t go too crazy about those hundredths of a decimal point.
At this point the Sugar Free Maraschino Liqueur is complete!
MDR Labs is very excited about this as we’ve been wanting to try a proper Aviation for years!
More recipes coming soon!
*I should really have a quick link to the dangers of using high proof food grade Ethanol. But to reiterate, be very, very careful! This stuff is very flammable and harmful if drank directly. If 151 is not available at a retailer, the link in the ingredients is for 191 (95%). A 75% solution can easily be made by adding 1/4 cup water to 3/4 cup 191 Everclear. (This actually yields a 71.5% solution, but it is close enough for our purposes without needing to break out oddly sized measuring devices)