Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Cherry Battle: Starlino vs. Luxardo

The garnish is an essential element of a perfect cocktail and we've been in love with Luxardo, our favored Maraschino cherry brand, for years.  AmareƱa Fabbri found favor in my recipe for a while (see here) but over time, Luxardo proved more satisfying, not least for its longer shelf life (see here).  The one major drawback with Luxardo is the price.  A jar is $21.28 on Amazon, and frequently more at local stores.  I realize most people wouldn't even consider spending that much and I don't exactly blame them.  We are not top-shelf spenders when it comes to liquor.  So spending more for damn good cherries seems a tolerable indulgence.  "Are they really that good?" I hear you wondering.  Yes, they truly are.  

Which is not to say it's not still worth trying something else from time to time.  We recently picked up a jar of Starlino cherries for an audition.  Let the battle begin...  

The Luxardo was its usual dark, warm, syrupy loveliness.  The Starlino... oh boy, you should have seen my wife's face after popping the Starlino in her mouth.  I can only describe her expression as disgust.  Plasticy, she said.  I wasn't nearly as offended but will concede the Starlino was sweeter, and not in a pleasant way.  

So, what to do with them?  My wife agreed to still help eat the Starlinos which is good because even though they cost less than the Luxardos, they aren't exactly cheap.  Plus the jar takes up space on the shelf that could be devoted to something we actually like.  Once we finish the Luxardos, we could add the syrup to the Starlino jar, perhaps improving the flavor.  Of course, I have this idea mere days after disposing of some Luxardo syrup I'd been hoarding in order to make room for the Starlino jar.  Wouldn't you know it?

Winner and Still Champion: Luxardo

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