What Is a Substitute for Cherry Liqueur?

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Cherry liqueur adds a signature sweet-and-tart fruity flavor to desserts and cocktails, and provides a sweet element perfect for pairing with savory meats and flavoring fondues. While recipes typically only call for small amounts of cherry liqueur, you would be remiss to leave it out. In lieu of the real thing or if you would prefer something nonalcoholic, try these similarly flavored substitutes.

Sweet Definition

  • The many varieties of cherry liqueurs include Cherry Heering; Cheri Suisse, a cherry and chocolate flavored liqueur; maraschino liqueur, made from wild marasca cherries; Kirsch, a clear cherry-flavored brandy; crème de cerise, a creamy liqueur with a distinct cherry flavor; and cherry Grand Marnier. Cherry liqueurs share similarities in terms of taste, but each has a distinct flavor.

Cherry Syrup

  • If the dish or beverage you are creating requires a pronounced cherry flavor, try cherry syrup. If you have a can of cherries, simply drain and use the syrup, and set the cherries aside for another use. You can also use cherry-flavored Italian soda or maraschino syrup. Cherry-flavored syrups closely mimic the flavor of cherry liqueur and can be used as direct substitutes.

Cherry Jams and Preserves

  • Cherry jams and preserves make great substitutes -- they possess sweet, pronounced cherry flavors. However, the texture is unlike cherry liqueur, so they must be diluted with water to be used successfully as substitutes. Preserves have a thick, chunky texture, and are best substituted in recipes that are dense or contain fruit.

Cherry Extract

  • A variety of flavorful extracts on the market are great for cooking and baking. A little extract goes a long way, so when using cherry extract as a substitute, start with just a few drops and adjust as needed, or dilute with water before you add it.

Sweet Tip

  • If you really want the cherry flavor to stand out in baked goods such as cobblers and cheesecakes, try a dash or two of almond extract: It makes cherries taste more like cherries.

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