Luxardo is a producer of liqueurs, grappa, fruit jams, and baking flavors based in the Veneto region of Italy. The Luxardo company was founded in 1821 in the town of Zara, in what is now Croatia by Girolamo Luxardo, a diplomat from the Kingdom of Sardinia. Girolamo had brought his family to Zara with him, and like many families of the time, his wife Maria Canevari made liqueurs at home. She was especially known for her Maraschino recipe, which included the local Marasca cherries.
Girolamo had a commercial distillery built to produce Maraschino, and by 1913, his grandson expanded production, building a new, modern plant near the harbor. After World War I, Zara was absorbed into the new Kingdom of Italy, and became the most important distillery in the country. World War II brought tragedy to the Luxardo family, with the destruction of the town and the distillery by Allied bombing, and the death of most of the family at the hands of Tito's forces.
The only brother to survive was Giorgio, who wisely moved the company to Torreglia, in the Veneto region. He rebuilt the family distillery, and today, the company is in the hands of the sixth generation.
While the company is most famous for their Maraschino, Luxardo also makes a wide range of other spirits and liqueurs - everything from Sambuca, Triple Sec, and Amaretto to grappa and kirsch, to Amari. Their Amaro Abano is one of the drier amari not on the Fernet family, is dark brown, and tastes strongly of black pepper. Luxardo Bitter is a bright red amaro similar to Campari.
A little known part of their production is baking essences, either non-alcoholic or alcoholic, for pastry chefs.
Luxardo owns nearly 20,000 marasca cherry trees, and also makes marasca cherry jam and cherries preserved in syrup, both of which are delicious and well worth searching out.
Some popular cocktails containing Luxardo
- Last Caress — Rye, Bénédictine, Maraschino Liqueur, Mezcal, Bitters, Lemon peel
- Left Coast — Plum eau-de-vie, Genever, Crème de Violette, Maraschino Liqueur, Lemon juice, Pineapple juice
- Old City — Rye, Bigallet China-China, Sweet vermouth, Maraschino Liqueur, Peychaud's Bitters, Brandied cherry
- Dernier Mot — Maraschino Liqueur, Herbal liqueur, Rhum Agricole, Lime juice
- Tango 'til They're Sore — Rye, Peychaud's Bitters, Sweet vermouth, Maraschino Liqueur, Orange peel