The recipe for this liqueur was created by the apothecaries of the Dominican monastery at Zara, now Zadar - Croatia, at the beginning of the 16th century, it was known under the name of Rosolj (Rožolj, Rosolio), which came from the word “ros solis”- “the sun dew”. In the 18th century this liqueur was named Maraschino, as it was produced from the essence of ripe fruits of the Marasca cherry, as well as from the leaves of its sprigs.
At the beginning, this noble liqueur of delicate taste to which medicinal effects were also attributed, was available only to the privileged. With the appearance of the first manufacturing distillers at Zara in the 17th century (Rota, Mola and Calcengio), the secret of Rosolj (Maraschino) taste could be spread.
In the 18th century when the industrial production of this liqueur began, Maraschino set out from Zara and "sailed" into ever more important European ports and major cities.Soon it was accepted and favoured by all European courts (Viennese, Berlin, the English court, the Bavarian, Italian, Belgium, and Danish courts) and later on Maraschino spread to America, Canada, Australia, South America and to South Africa.
Maraschino was also admired by one of the biggest conquerors of the 19th century, Napoleon Bonaparte, who specially enjoyed it after dinner or supper.
The French kings, Louis XVIII, Charles X and Louis Philippe as well as the Czar of Russia Nicholas I admired Maraschino too. The British king George IV sent to Zara a naval fleet to collect a hundred Maraschino cases for the Royal court at London and for the governors of Malta and Corfu. In 1871, on the request of the English queen Victoria, Maraschino was loaded on the English ships at Zara port.
Throughout history, Maraschino has been a favorite liqueur for nobility, famous writers, movie stars, and many other influential dignitaries.