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Cointreau
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Cointreau PDF Print E-mail
Featured Spirits - Liqueurs

a picture of Cointreau
Cointreau Distillery
France
80 proof

The first bottles of Cointreau (pronounced QUAN-tro), were sold in 1875 after two brothers, Adolphe and Edouard-Jean Cointreau, developed this blend of bitter and sweet orange peels and pure sweet beet alcohol in their small distillery in France. Confectioners by trade, this was not the brothers’ first successful liqueur (their first was a cherry liqueur called guignolet), but it was surely what put them on the map. Cointreau, originally called “Curaçao Blanco Triple Sec,” was the brothers’ take on the popular triple sec/Curaçao liqueurs of the time. Cointreau would quickly become the “gold standard” within that category.

Curaçao is a liqueur flavored with the dried peel of the laraha fruit, an orange-like citrus that developed when Spanish colonists attempted to plant and grow sweet Valencia oranges in the island of Curaçao’s nutrient-poor soil. The resultant fruit was bitter rather than sweet, but their aromatic peels maintained much of the essence of the Valencia varietal. Whereas Curaçao uses only the laraha peel, triple sec blends both bitter and sweet orange. Cointreau, therefore, is technically a triple sec.

But with a big, bold orange essence aroma, sweet orange and vanilla flavor, silky mouth-feel and lip-smacking sugary-orange finish, Cointreau is the “Rolls-Royce” of triple secs. As such, it has played a role as the orange liqueur of choice in many classic cocktails such as the Calvados Cocktail, Corpse Reviver 2, the Original Margarita, Pegu Club Cocktail, Sidecar, Singapore Sling, White Lady, Hoopla and Oriental Cocktail.