16 July

National Cherry Day

So we are drinking a...

Tom & Cherry

Such "National" day celebrations tend to originate in America, but we're proud to report this fruity celebration is a British initiative, instigated by the mandarins at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. Hoorah!

That said, the cherry is equally revered in the USA where cities such as North Ogden in Utah celebrate the cherry throughout June and July with Cherry Days.

But how to celebrate cherries? 'Pick them', 'buy them' and 'eat them' seems most obvious, but there's a lot more fun to be had while celebrating the cherry - Cherry Pip Spit for example. A competition to see who can spit a cherry stone the furthest.

While anyone can spit a cherry stone, only those with extreme dexterity can tie a knot in a cherry stem in their mouth only using their tongue, with those who undertake this tricky manoeuvre against the clock being true athletes. [Videos please.]

Cherry trees are thought to have originally come from Asia Minor (now Turkey) and were first brought to Britain by the Romans. The English counties of Kent and Sussex boast the most orchards and it is claimed some of these were planted by the order of Henry VIII after he tasted the fruit in Flanders.

Fresh cherries are as much a part of the English summer as the smell of freshly cut grass and National Cherry Day falls during the peak in the British cherry harvest.

Some cherry facts:

  • Cherries range in colour from bright scarlet to almost black.
  • Cherry stones contain amygdalin, which becomes cyanide when metabolised by the body.
  • Heated cherry stones were placed in pans to warm beds prior to the invention of the hot water bottle.
  • There are more than 300 varieties of cherry grown at The National Fruit Collection, Brogdale Farm, England.
  • There were more than 5,000 hectares of cherry orchards in Kent at the beginning of the 20th century.

When it comes to cherries two quite different types of liqueur come to mind - maraschino liqueurs and cherry brandy liqueurs - both rich with cherry flavour and both key cocktail ingredients.

However, as our office sits next to a cherry orchard it's the delicious Kentish cherry juice produced by our neighbour that we're celebrating with a cocktail based on this and the two aforementioned liqueurs. Rather than name it a "Triple Cherry" we've opted for a pun, Tom & Cherry.

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