Cointreau’s history began in 1849 when brothers Edouard-Jean and Adolphe Cointreau, skilled confectioners, began to produce liqueurs using local fruits at their distillery in Angers, France. In 1875 Edouard, son of Edouard-Jean created the distinct squared bottle to house their signature liqueur – an orange liqueur of unparalleled excellence.
With improvements in rail and shipping, at the turn of the 20th century, Cointreau began to be asked for around the globe, with the company’s long-running slogan: la marque Mondial (the ‘world-wide brand’) being coined in 1923.
Since then Cointreau’s association with high art and fashion in Europe and use in a myriad of classic cocktails have seen it rise to become an indispensable product in any respectable establishment’s repertoire.
Cointreau at its inception was so unique that it literally created a new category of liqueurs referred to as ‘triple sec’. Translating to ‘triple dry’, it is a variety of orange liqueur that actually tends towards a sweet taste in the addition of sugar.
Edouard-Jean created triple sec but could not copyright the name under French law as they were generic words. Soon many others copied the name and product, and so to differentiate their unique, quality liqueur the Cointreau brothers switched from using ‘triple sec’ to ‘Cointreau’.
Cointreau is distilled and crafted in Angers, France using century-old methods to capture the essence of sweet and bitter orange peels.
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Cointreau is produced from both sweet and bitter orange peels sourced from the four corners of the world; the Americas to Asia, Western Africa to the Mediterranean.
A combination of carefully selected bitter orange and sweet orange peels are steeped for 24hrs in a sugar beet neutral-based spirit and distilled to make an extremely concentrated spirit base.
The resulting macerate is then redistilled in unique copper stills to 40% before boiling.
The orange liqueur is then combined with sugar and pure water then bottled at 40% ABV. Cointreau contains 1/3 the sugar of other triple secs in the market. This iconic French orange liqueur is a primary ingredient in the classic margarita and is considered a ‘must-have’ in every bartender’s arsenal.