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The History of Cherry Cordials for Valentine’s Day

wockenfuss candies cherry cordials for valentine's day

Learn more about the history of Cherry Cordials, a Valentine’s Day gift.

When you imagine cherry cordials today, you think of the chocolate-covered cherry treat filled with sweet syrup. However, did you know this Valentine’s Day confection has an extensive history? Variations of this treat have been evolving for centuries, as the flavors of chocolate and cherry have evolved into various delights over time. Before you select your gift box of Cherry Cordials at Wockenfuss Candies, consider how long this delectable and sweet treat has been pleasing people on Valentine’s Day and countless other occasions. 

Cordial Origins

The word “cordial” contains the word “cor,” which means “heart” in Latin. As a noun, cordial can refer to medicine or medicinal food or drink; in fact, cordial initially referred to a type of medical tonic. Cordials were believed to stimulate the heart and improve circulation. It’s no wonder that these heart-centric concoctions have gradually become a familiar part of Valentine’s Day

The medicinal use of cordials continued until the 1400s when it came to England. Cordials were “taken” after excessive eating to settle the stomach and aid digestion. By the 1700s, cordials were also known for their intoxicating effects. 

French Cherries in Chocolate

Around the same time, a creation called griottes appeared in the Franche-Comté part of France. They were made by enclosing long stalked sour griotte cherries in chocolate with a little kirsch liqueur. The griottes and the cordial traveled to America, where the idea originated to add a bit of the sweet, aromatic, and alcoholic cordial to the chocolate-covered fruit. 

In America, “cordial” was a type of strong liqueur with a distinctive flavor made from crushing whole cherries and steeping them in sugar syrup with some alcohol. After the mixture is strained, you have a thick, syrupy alcohol with an intense fruity flavor. This type of cordial is powerful, so it was – and is – used to make a mixed drink or sipped in tiny amounts. 

An American Twist

Liqueur chocolates became popular in America as Americans created their own varieties. Cordial candies could be made with various fruits, but cherries were the most popular. While initially made with liqueur, they are more commonly made with sugar syrup flavored with cherries. This mix is similar to what maraschino cherries are preserved in. 

The cherry mix used in cherry cordials is made by pitting and heating the fruit for a short time in the liqueur and storing it in cans or jars. For alcohol-free versions, pitted cherries are cooked in sugar syrup and jarred. 

Famous Cherry Cordial Makers 

Besides Wockenfuss, who have crafted cherry cordials since 1915, a few historical brands are still going strong. Cella’s is the oldest brand, as they started making cherries in 1864 but didn’t begin large-scale production until 1929. Queen Anne’s began making chocolate cherries in 1948. The Brock Candy Company started making cherry cordials in the 1930s, and the candy helped keep the company afloat during the Depression. In 1994, when the E.J. Brach Corporation bought the company, the company became Brach’s and became one of the most significant selling lines of chocolate cherries. 

If you enjoy the classic chocolate shells with a sweet cherry filling, Wockenfuss Candies has a cherry cordial gift box you can enjoy this Valentine’s Day.

A Wide Selection of Delicious Treats from Wockenfuss Candies

Head to and browse our wide selection of chocolates and candies; we promise you won’t be disappointed! Wockenfuss Candies is one of the oldest candy makers in Baltimore. We opened our doors in 1915 and have proudly served the people of Baltimore ever since. If you have any questions about our wide selection of chocolates, please contact Wockenfuss Candies by calling 1-800-296-4414 or email When you’re not savoring our sweets, stay satisfied by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

This entry was posted on Friday, January 26th, 2024 at 9:39 am. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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