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Historic French Ship L'Hermione Docks in Virginia

The reconstructed historic vessel carries equally historic cargo: Hennessy Cognac.

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This year’s Fourth of July celebrations will get a French twist thanks to the arrival of the reconstructed L’Hermione. The French ship is famous for transporting the Marquis de Lafayette, a key supporter of and leader in the American Revolution, to the colonies; the fast, heavily-armed vessel later took part in naval actions during the war that helped lead to the defeat of the British.

L’Hermione was rebuilt using 18th century shipbuilding techniques; 400,000 hand-sculpted oak pieces were used to create the hull. set sail from France and is scheduled to arrive in Yorktown, VA, on June 5. The 1,260-ton frigate will then proceed up the Eastern seaboard, visiting ports in Washington, D.C., Annapolis, Baltimore, and Philadelphia before docking in New York on July 4th and continuing up the coast to Newport, Boston, Maine, and Nova Scotia.

The young, debonair Lafayette—a close friend of George Washington—brought two barrels of Hennessy Cognac with him on his 1780 voyage to the colonies. On this year’s trip, Hennessy has included two barrels of its 250 Collector Blend, which retails for $600 per bottle and celebrates its 250th anniversary this year, on board. While L’Hermione will return to Brest, France to become a training and education vessel, the barrels will stay, to be auctioned off (they're expected to fetch upwards of $150,000) at charity events in New York and at George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon, VA.

We may not know for sure how Lafayette and Washington took their cognac back in 1780, but Hennessy has created a special cocktail for the occasion: “Cur Non,” named for the Lafayette family motto “Why Not.” The summery sip combines cognac with apricot brandy, dry vermouth, and lemon juice, garnished with an orange twist. We’ve included the cognac cocktail recipe below, which we intend to imbibe this Independence Day—because why not, indeed.

INGREDIENTS

2 ounces Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilege
1 ounce apricot brandy
1 ounce dry vermouth
¼ ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice

An orange twist, for garnish.

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine the cognac, brandy, vermouth, and lemon juice in a shaker tin filled with ice. Shake until chilled and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with the orange twist.

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