What is it?
Let’s start with what it is NOT: Maraschino liqueur is not the bright-red liquid in a bottle of maraschino cherries. It’s a clear liqueur made from Marasca cherries, which grow wild in Croatia and Italy. It’s made by crushing the cherries, along with their pits and stems. The flavor is floral and a bit nutty (from the pits), with only a mild cherry undertone.
Maraschino cherries come from a European tradition of soaking whole cherries in the liqueur. Of course, maraschino cherries as we know them in the U.S. have, um, evolved a bit: they’re simply dyed and preserved in a brine.