Cointreau is a triple sec alcoholic beverage, produced in France. In the world of fine alcoholic drinks, there are only a handful of symbols whose quality has remained unscathed by time and the changes in the world. With its inimitable fine aroma and astonishing orange taste, Cointreau definitely takes its place among them.
History of Cointreau
The history of emblematic Cointreau began in the 40s of the 19th century in Angers, Northwest France. It was then that the confectioner Adolphe Cointreau and his brother Edouard-Jean founded their family-run distillery Cointreau, which began producing alcoholic beverages from fruits grown in the region.
Years later, the son of Edouard-Jean, Edouard Jr., who possessed a young explorer's spirit, decided to create a drink different from the traditional liqueurs.
He began conducting experiments with the different flavors of sweet and bitter oranges from various parts of the world. And since usually courage is rewarded, his results turned into a complete hit among high French society at that time.
At the beginning of the 20th century, around 800 000 Cointreau bottles were being sold annually. Shortly afterward, the first branches of the company began opening up in other parts of Europe. The James Bond movies of the 60s popularized the image of Cointreau.
In 2005, the manufacturer kicked off the Cointreaupolitan campaign, the best drink to have after a hard day's work in Paris. Cointreau began popping up all over - at private parties, movie premiers, awards ceremonies. 2 years later, Dita Von Teese became the new face of the brand.
Production of Cointreau
Being among the most famous cocktails, Cointreau is sold in more than 200 countries worldwide. The bitter oranges used in the production of Cointreau are grown on plantations of the company-manufacturer, found in the Caribbean island of Haiti.
There, the oranges are picked by hand before they ripen, right when their flavor is most intense. The peeled orange rinds are left to dry in the sun and then begin their long journey to Saint-Barthélemy-d'Anjou, a suburb of Angers, where the Cointreau distillery is located.
The sweet component in Cointreau is due to the rinds of 4 orange varieties that are grown in Brazil and Spain. A portion of the peeled orange rinds are not dried but soaked in pure sugar beet alcohol while still fresh for several weeks.
This process guarantees the extraction of all flavor components contained in the rinds. From that point on, everything is in the hands of the chief chemist of the company. His precision and experience determine the taste of Cointreau, unchanging for more than 130 years now.
It must be noted that the taste is not the only component of the legendary drink that has been kept since production of it originally began. The Cointreau bottle is also emblematic - with its amber color and square form.
In all of the years that Cointreau has been in production, the bottle has undergone very few changes in its design. At the time of its creation it was considered too modernist but today it finds a presence in every good bar.
Cointreau is generally served as an apéritif but is often eaten after meals to aid in digestion. Besides as a stand-alone, Cointreau is found in numerous world famous cocktails.
Many believe that a true Cosmopolitan cocktail needs to have Cointreau in it. Below is an extraordinary recipe for a Cosmopolitan cocktail.
Ingredients: 3 tbsp vodka, 2 tbsp blueberry juice, 2 tsp lime juice, 1 tbsp Cointreau.
Preparation: Pour the ingredients in a shaker, add 4-5 ice cubes, shake and strain into a martini glass.
The next cocktail idea is for a margarita with ice.
Ingredients: 3 1/3 tbsp tequila, 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 1/3 tbsp orange liqueur, 3 1/3 tbsp Cointreau, lime slices for decoration, 15 ice cubes and salt on the rim of the glass.
Preparation: Combine all of the products in a shaker, shake very vigorously and pour into cocktail glasses, decorated with lime slices.
And finally, try the Acapulco cocktail:
Preparation: Mix everything in a shaker with ice, shake well and strain. Serve in a chilled glass with a straw.