Cherry Garnishes


When making quality cocktails they often come with a cherry garnish. There are many types of preserved cherries and these Griottines/Luxardo Maraschino are the main types used to garnish a drink at a respectable bar.

Remember those bright red maraschino (Marr-a-skee-noh) cherries used in cakes and in low-end tiki drinks? Those are typically made from Royal Ann, Rainier, or Gold varieties. They are soaked in a brine containing sulfur dioxide and calcium chloride to remove its natural colour and flavouring. Then they are pitted and soaked in a sweetener for about a month. After that, they are dipped red dye to produce that bright red colour. Originally, Maraschino Cherries were actually made with Marasca cherries from Croatia; which are also used to produce Maraschino Liqueurs.


Now onto the main feature.

Luxardo Maraschino Cherries – These are gourmet cherries. Each jar is 50% Candied Cherries and 50% syrup. There are no thickening agents or preservatives used.
A 400g bottle will typically cost you around $25 in Vancouver. I believe you can buy them from The Modern Bartender(28 East Pender).

Griottines – These are brandied cherries. Made from Morello cherries grown in the Balkans. Handpicked and soaked in Kirsch (Cherry Brandy) and Sugar. A 1 litre jar as pictured above will cost you about $35-40. I picked mine up from The Gourmet Warehouse on Hastings.

Amarena – I have no clue where to purchase these in Vancouver. However, I have tried them before and they are amazing. I’d probably favour these over the Griottines. They are slightly larger than the Griottines and are a little more tart. From what I know, they are made in Italy. From Wikipedia, I learned that it’s an Italian cherry grown in Bolgona and Modena regions of Italy.


Remember to use quality cherries in your drinks. Use real cherries if you have to. Just make sure to keep those crappy bright red Maraschino cherries out of your delicious drink!



Bar Gear and Ingredients

One of the toughest things about starting a bartending set is collecting your barware. I’m going to simplify your search by sharing the places where I go to purchase gear.

Bar Gear

List of Items: Boston Shaker Set, Yarai Mixing Glass, Tovolo Giant Ice Tray, Strainer, Citrus squeezer, Shot Glass (for measuring pours, or you could purchase a jigger), Julep strainer, 2x Hawthorne strainers, Muddler, Paring knife, Metal picks, Barspoon.

The Modern Bartender ( 28 East Pender, Vancouver BC)
This is probably your #1 go to place for gear and ingredients. They have pretty much everything you need from glassware, bar gears, bartending books and an amazing (emphasis on amazing) selection of bitters. They often have seminars which are great for building knowledge and meeting people in the industry. Prices are pretty reasonable. People gotta make a buck to survive! I highly recommend this local shop.

Legacy Liquor Store (1633 Manitoba St. In the Olympic Village)
If you can’t find a certain liquor from the BCLB, Legacy will probably have it. For example your Martin Miller Gin or Luxardo’s Maraschno Liqueur. They also carry a wide selection of bitters on the left side of the wall when you walk in. Prices are usually a few dollars more than your BCLB as they are a private liquor store. Great thing is that they are open 7 days a week, 10 am to 11 pm. Also, they occasionally host a variety of events for wines, beers, and cocktails.

Gourmet Warehouse (1340 E Hastings St, Vancouver)
This is where I bought my Griottines. They are more food based and it’s a great place for people who love cooking. They sell shaker sets, ingredients, and some nice picks for holding your garnishes. I bought a set of metal picks and those weren’t cheap. Great investment though…

Atkinsons (1501 West 6th Ave, Adjacent to Granville St.)
If you like to ball out of quality crystals like me, Atkinsons is great. They have a huge selection of crystal glassware on the second floor. They also sell some quality bartending gear such as Japanese Yarai Mixing Glasses and barspoons.

Ming Wo (Many Locations)
Spouts. This is probably your cheapest place to pick them up other than ordering a set online.

Homesense (Many Locations)
For a bartender on a budget this is a great place to purchase discounted glassware and random items. This is where I picked up my citrus squeezer, strainer, and Tovolo Ice trays.

Aviation Cocktail




  • 2 oz Gin (Martin Miller or Tanq 10 are great)
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz Maraschino 
  • 1/4 oz Crème de Violette
  • Garnish with a single Griottine Cherry

Set ingredients into cocktail shaker with ice and shake well so that you end up with a some ice crystals. Double strain (you will want to filter any lemon pulp) into Martini glass and garnish with a single griottine cherry.


“The Aviation was created by Hugo Ensslin, head bartender at the Hotel Wallick in New York, in the early twentieth century. The first published recipe for the drink appeared in Ensslin’s 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks. Ensslin’s recipe called for 1½ oz. El Bart gin, ¾ oz. lemon juice, 2 dashes maraschino liqueur, and 2 dashes crème de violette, a violet liquer which gives the cocktail a pale sky-blue color.” – Wikipedia

The recipe calls for Crème de Violette is quite difficult to locate. Legacy Liquor store in Olympic Village might carry it. Personally I didn’t include it in the drink I made above because I don’t have it. I have tried the drink at West Restaurant on Granville St. and it’s quite tasty. Without the Creme de Violette, I feel that it’s just not as well balanced and makes the drink taste slightly more sour than it should be. Also FYI, Crème de Yvette is not a substitute for the Violette.