• Brand:Cointreau
  • Categories:Citrus, Triple Sec Liqueur, Liqueur
  • Tasting Notes:Bitter, Citrus, Fresh, Fruity, Herbal, Sweet, Vanilla
  • ABV:40%
  • Base Ingredient:Fruit


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Cointreau is the crystal-clear orange liqueur essential for any home bar. It is at the heart of more than 350 of the world’s most celebrated cocktails including The Original Margarita, The Cosmopolitan, and The Sidecar. This full-strength, 80-proof spirit has the versatility to mix with any type of liquor to craft a more elevated cocktail. Distilled from a blend of all-natural sweet and bitter orange peels, Cointreau has a perfectly balanced flavor beloved by mixologists and bartenders worldwide. The superior distillation process maintains the quality of the orange peels and preserves their natural essential oils, lending Cointreau its unique, highly aromatic qualities. The House of Cointreau was founded in 1849 in Angers, France, where Edouard Cointreau perfected the recipe.

This liqueur is either considered a premium triple sec or a liqueur depending on who you ask. It sells for considerably more than your standard triple sec but is also almost twice as strong as most. Started by two brothers in 1875, Remy Cointreau now sells it in over 200 countries. Uses a blend of bitter and sweet orange peels extracted and distilled with neutral ethyl alcohol (from sugar beets). Exact formulation is a family secret also the ratio is adjusted to flavor profile.

is produced by Rémy Cointreau, a Paris-based company that was founded in 1990 as a result of a merger. The liqueur itself, however, dates back to 1885 when the Cointreau family perfected its signature beverage in Angers, France. According to the official Cointreau website, the flavor of this liqueur was three times as concentrated as other liqueurs of the time period, while also being less sweet. To this day, the Cointreau Distillery is still located in Angers.

Over time, this orange liqueur has become so iconic that, like the greatest pop stars, it only needs one name to identify it. Cointreau is made with a mixture of bitter and sweet orange peels as well as sugar beet alcohol, which has a neutral flavor. It is distilled at least twice in copper stills.

First Impression: Oranges of various types, at least 5 identifiable ones-Seville, calmondon, mandarine,etc,

Appearance: Silver sap-like clarity. On swirling, leaves a even coat on the glass with long legs developing.

Taste: Delicate interplay of different types of oranges lend a unmatched complexity and depth to the taste/concept of orange.The bitterness of some of the oranges plays off against the sweeter varieties and the sugar. It does not have the chemical cloy of a cheaper orange liqueur and the alcohol base is of much higher quality.

Drinks:There are hundreds of specific Cointreau only recipes and a much larger number where the use of Cointreau instead of generic Triple Sec can make a great difference in the final result.

Bottle:The dark brown square bottle is almost a trademark by itself. It has gone from cork to screw cap and the labels have gone periodic change, but someone from 100 years ago could pick it out in a crowded bar shelf

Other: Oranges mostly sourced from Spain and Haiti. Available in 50 ml, 375 ml, 750 ml,1 liter in U.S. I usually suggest a 375 ml as a reasonable size for most people.

Final Thoughts: Pretty much the commercially available gold standard for Orange Liqueur/Triple Sec worldwide. (Grand Marnier is in a slightly different category as a Brandy/Liqueur). While not the best in some ways, it is available almost anywhere in the world and quite good especially for the scale of production. If you are going to make a drink using a Triple Sec, spend the extra 25 cents or so it will cost in a drink – it’s certainly worth it.


As I took my first whiff of this liqueur, the orange notes were immediately apparent, as one would expect. These orange notes have a sweet undertone. As I continued, I noticed that the orange scent was quite fresh and seemed to have a unique smooth quality that was hard to describe. The aroma was softened somehow – but at the same time ever-present.

As I took my first sip, the orange flavor really burst onto my tastebuds, and almost had a sparkly quality on the back of my tongue. As I continued, the orange flavor continued to be quite strong.

The bitter orange notes unlocked a childhood memory for me, as they tasted like the orange-flavored children’s dramamine tablets I was given before long car rides as a child. That’s not to say that the flavors were unpleasant or artificial – but perhaps the orange flavoring of the medicine was modeled after the same bitter oranges. It’s a surprisingly specific flavor note! Of course, the sweet orange notes work together with the bitter orange to make the overall flavor sweet and fresh.

Overall, my experience of drinking this liqueur straight was not too bad at all for a spirit that’s meant to be a mixer. I was excited to try it in a cocktail!


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