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A Kent pub in the heart of cherry-growing country has launched a cocktail to toast the birth of Prince George of Cambridge using a unique cherry brandy with a Royal Warrant.
Created at the Crown Inn, Sarre, By George is a refreshing drink served in a long glass with ice featuring 50ml Grant’s Morella Cherry Brandy topped up with Champagne and garnished with a Kentish cherry.
Locally, the pub is known as The Cherry Brandy House because of its secret recipe for cherry brandy brought over by the Huguenots fleeing from religious persecution in France under Louis XIV.
The recipe was acquired by distiller Thomas Grant whose company began making liqueurs in Kent in 1774. Grant’s Morella Cherry Brandy was a favourite with Queen Victoria, holds a Royal Warrant from the Prince of Wales and is also mentioned by Charles Dickens in The Pickwick Papers.
Grant’s Morella Cherry Brandy is still popular at the 15th Century Grade I listed early posting house where customers can buy it in 50cl bottles or even enjoy a glass direct from the barrel.
Licensee Clive Franklyn, who runs the pub with wife Penelope, said: “Grant’s Morella Cherry Brandy originated here 300 years ago. I’ve not been let into the secret of the recipe but I do know that it is very much in demand today, and is a key part of this pub’s rich history.”
The Crown Inn, in Ramsgate Road, Sarre, was a “halfway house” for travellers on the road between Canterbury and the coast. Dickens stayed at the inn when he was writing his first successful work, The Pickwick Papers and photographs on the walls recall visits by Rudyard Kipling, actor Jack Warner of Dixon of Dock Green fame, and Proms founder Sir Henry Wood.
The pub has a proud military heritage too. It was used by the survivors of the Charge of the Light Brigade for reunion dinners and its proximity to Manston airfield made it popular with RAF personnel during World War II. A window featuring names etched by pilots before an ill-fated mission to torpedo a German warship remains intact.
Grant's Morella Cherry Brandy is still produced to the highest quality and continues to maintain the flavour and tradition of its celebrated past. Distributed by Kent brewers Shepherd Neame, it is available at many of the company’s 350 pubs and hotels across the South East.