Produced in Saint-Barthelemy-díAnjou, a suburb located in Angers, France, Cointreau is an orange-flavored liqueur that has been popular for more than a century.
The bitter oranges used to give it its unique flavor are found in Haiti, Spain, and Brazil.
While some consider Cointreau to be a type of triple sec, others feel it belongs in a distinctive liqueur category all in itself. The liqueur contains 40% alcohol, whereas a standard triple sec contains only about 23%.
Cointreau isnít just popular as an aperitif and an ingredient in many drink recipes, it is also known to be consumed as a digestif.
Adolphe Cointreau, a confectioner by trade, set up the Cointreau distillery in 1849 along with his brother, Edouard-Jean Cointreau. The brothers first found success with guignolet, a cherry liqueur. However, when they came up with a recipe that blended both bitter and sweet orange peels with pure alcohol derived from sugar beets, they found their calling and had a confirmed hit.
Cointreauís first bottles were sold in 1875. Now, more than one hundred years later, it is estimated that, each year, over 200 countries sell a combined total of a whopping thirteen million bottles.
If you decide that you want to replicate Cointreau yourself, youíll have to come up with your own recipe because the original is a guarded family secret. But, if you want to get as close to the production process as possible, you can take a public tour of the distillery. Just donít think about bringing your camera in hopes of snapping a secret method or two during the tour. Youíll find that in many areas of the plant, taking pictures is strictly prohibited.
Just as it was in the late 1800s, Cointreau is still quite popular today. Although some people prefer to drink their Cointreau straight or on the rocks, there are many recipes that call for the orange-flavored liqueur.
In premium Margaritas referred to as Gold Margaritas, the triple sec that is usually used is being replaced by Cointreau to give the drink a bold, intense burst of orange flavor.
Another tasty, refreshing, and simple recipe is known as the Scoundrel. Created in York at the Rook and Gaskill pub, the Scoundrel is created by taking one part Cointreau, adding a splash of Coca Cola, and one ice cube. The recipe calls for just one ice cube because it is said that the more ice you add, the less flavor you will get and the drink will inevitably become what is known as a Fake Scoundrel.
The Cavalier, pub in Eastbourne, also created a drink using Cointreau that has been named for the Wolverhampton Wanderers football team. Double or single measures of blackcurrant cordial and Cointreau are combined to create a black and orange drink reminiscent of the teamís colors. The drinkís popularity has spread to the Midlands, the same place where the drinkís name was created.