When I was a child, Maraska for me was a synonym for concentrated juice. Magic would happen with just a little bit of water. My lips would be pink and my need for sweets would be fulfilled. It wasn’t until later that I learned that Maraska isn’t just a name of my childish desire but a brand of liqueur carrying the name of well known, high quality type of cherries. Its long tradition and diversity of products make it unavoidable in any conversation about alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages of Croatia and the region.
The story of Maraska begins in the second half of 17th century, with innovation in production brought to Zadar by Venetian Francesco Drioli. He upgraded and changed the process of distillation of Marasca cherries creating Maraschino which will, through the centuries to come, establish its current position as respected and desired liqueur around the Europe. From very early beginnings Maraschino became one of the favorite drinks in the circles of English noblemen. As its popularity grew and the word about great Maraschino beverage spread around the Europe, it became obvious that the production couldn’t fulfill the needs of the bigger market. To solve that problem many new factories were opened and the world got the well of Maraschino that could never run dry. In 1946 three biggest brands of Maraschino, (“Excelsior Girolamo Luxardo”, “Romano Vlahov” and “Fabrica maraschino Francesco Drioli S. A.”) united under the name “Maraska”. That name today is symbol of premium quality alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages with variety of products, maintaining the high standards its predecessors established.
Did you know?
In the 1821, Giorlamo Luxardo opened his own Maraschino factory. Glass bottles were hand braided by the Arbanasi women, tradition that remained to this day.
French writer Honoré de Balzac was well aware of Maraschino. The mention of the liqueur could be found in his novel “Un début dans la vie”.
Maraschino of Zadar won the golden and silver prize at the World Exhibition in Wien.
In 1871, Queen Victoria with the Office of the Green Cloth allowed Francesco Drioli to supply Royal Court directly without the mediator.
The shipment of Maraschino was found on Titanic.
When was founded in 1946 Maraska’s full name was: “Maraska” factory of liqueur, chocolate and candy, Zadar.
Pear liqueur, called Kruškovac, was the most popular alcoholic drink in former Yugoslavia. 30 million liters was sold.
Although Maraschino was the first product of the liqueur factories in Zadar it is not the only one. “Maraska” today offers nearly thirty different liqueurs and as many juices.
Marasca cherries, the main ingredient of Maraschino, are not domestic cherries but wild ones. The type originally came from Asia Minor. There is belief that the wilderness and inability for domestication, is the main reason why Maraschino has that unique taste and aroma.