Cherry Battle: Luxardo vs. Amareña Fabbri
We feel strongly about our cherries; strongly enough that we're willing to spend more for good ones; strongly enough that when my wife starts to get nervous we're running out of our favored brand, she'll buy three more jars via mail order. The cherry garnish is the essential denouement of the Manhattan cocktail narrative. Getting it right matters.
We've been in love with Luxardo's Original Maraschino Cherries for quite a while. As such, I was rather surprised when my wife picked up a challenger: Amareña Fabbri, a Bologna-based product, whereas Luxardo hails from Torreglia, near Padua.
First let's establish clearly, both products are lovely. Plus, the Amareña cherries come in a very cool jar:
The Amareña has a lighter syrup and a brighter, jammy flavor. The Luxardo is richer with a bit more depth. My wife preferred the Amareña, feeling it's nice for the Manhattan to have a lighter moment at the end. Meanwhile, the Luxardo might be better on a hot fudge sundae. I'm not so convinced. I like the depth of flavor. Plus, licking the spoon after adding the cherries (bartender's treat) is more satisfying with the Luxardo.
I suppose I'm willing to try it for a while - not to say I couldn't put one brand in her drink and the other in mine. We do, after all, have at least one more unopened jar of the Luxardo cherries in the cabinet.
Winner and New Champion: Amareña Fabbri