Old ale flavoured with cherries, known in many locations at least since the early 18thC, but especially associated with Kent. In 'Food in England' by Dorothy Hartley (Hartley 1954), etc.
We are obliged to @kenticisms for the information that; "The traditional Kentish Easter fare was pudding pie and cherry beer. I was disappointed to find that although cherries probably once formed part of the recipe for the beer they were later replaced with ground logwood to get the red colour" and for pointing us to the following receipt where the 'cherry' taste is obtained by a mixture of molasses and almonds and coloured with 'ground logwood' (probably the red Sanders-wood)
Original Receipt from "The New Family Receipt-book" (1817)
Cherry Beer, or Red Barley Wine.
This article has, like many others, a name to which it is, as now commonly, prepared, by no means justly entitled. Whatever may have been its origin, when cherries probably formed a part of the composition, it is now made entirely without them, in the following manner-To a barrel of new table beer, or small ale, add about three pounds of molasses, with half a pound or more of ground logwood, and two ounces of almond cake. The almond cake may be procured at any respectable druggist's shop. Stir them well into the beer with a long stick put in at the bunghhole and agitate the cask; after this has been two or three days repeated, let it stand to settle, and then draw or bottle it off for use. It is commonly drank hot; and, if not at first made sufficiently sweet, with sugar as well as spices.
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