Cointreau is a French citrus liqueur, distilled from the peels of sour-oranges, according to the same mid 19th century recipe. During storage, a special sugary syrup is added to give the Cointreau its special flavor. Cointreau is a brand of triple sec produced in Saint-Barthelemy-d’Anjou, France. It is drunk as an apéritif and digestif, and is a component of several well-known cocktails. It was originally called “Curacao Blanco Triple Sec”.
The production methods and recipe are a family secret, but tours of the distillery are open to the public. Photography is restricted in many areas to protect the production process from being copied. Cointreau sources its bitter oranges from all over the world, usually Spain, Brazil and Saint-Raphael, Haiti as well as Ghana.
Ready to meet the strength of the crystal clear spirit, are baskets laden with sun-dried orange peels, their intricate colours defining different orange flavors; greenish-bronze for bitter, orangey-red for sweet, which yield a greater fruit intensity. Their heady fragrance will soon be revealed by the following steps. The peels are fully dried, macerated and finally distilled in gloriously burnished red copper stills to extract every drop of the precious essential oils. The other ingredients (alcohol, sugar and water) – which are also completely natural – give the liqueur its creamy roundness and aromatic vigour that inspires the mouth. Like an intimate secret, the recipe itself is faithfully guarded.
Renowned for its fine balance, Cointreau is at once intense and gentle, warming and refreshing, bitter and sweet; delivering a beguiling twist of; “je ne sais quoi” that never leaves one indifferent.
Cointreau Distillery was set up in 1849 by famous master confectioners, Adolphe Cointreau and his brother Edouard-Jean Cointreau, from Angers. They established a distillery in Angers to create spirits using local fruits. Their first success was with the cherry liqueur, guignolet, but it was when they concocted a blend of sweet and bitter orange peels and pure alcohol from sugar beets that the success of the enterprise was definitively confirmed.
In 1875 Edouard Cointreau, son of Edouard-Jean, distilled a spirit from sweet and bitter orange peel, with a highly crystalline robe, which was a major novelty at the time. He also invented the square-sided amber-coloured container, the modern version of which still remains the signature of Cointreau liqueur to this day.
In 1898 is created the Pierrot character, which became the symbolic image of the brand, by famous poster artist Nicolas Tamago.
In 1899, just three years after the invention of motion pictures, Edouard Cointreau launched the first advertising film, featuring famous Pierrot.
In early 1900′s 800,000 bottles of Cointreau were sold per year. Cointreau opened its first branches across Europe.
In 1923 the brand’s success was growing, reaching as far as the United States, Canada and Latin America. Edouard’s sons, Louis and André Cointreau, replaced him at the head of the family business and invented the concept of “the worldwide brand”. This slogan is used on most of the brand’s poster campaigns across the globe.
In 1960s James Bond embodied the image of Cointreau in its advertising.
In 1989 Cointreau merged with Rémy Martin, the cognac distillery founded in 1724. The new company was listed on the Paris stock exchange and became a major player in the high-quality wines and spirits market.
In 1992 “Voulez-vous Cointreau avec moi?” was the leading question in Cointreau campaigns.
In 2001 Cointreau inaugurated the “Be Cointreauversial” campaign. Only used outside France, it was aimed at women who express themselves,
and choose whatever well-matched combinations they like when drinking Cointreau, as a cocktail or on the rocks, without worrying about what other people think.
In 2005 Cointreau launched the Cointreaupolitan, the hip accessory for Parisian after-works drinks. At premiers, private viewings, inaugurations, it is found in all the right places.
In 2007 Dita Von Teese becomes the Global Brand Ambassadress. The company was still represented by Edouard’s grandson, Pierre Cointreau, Honorary Chairman. The group was chaired by Dominique Hériard Dubreuil.
In 2010 Dita Von Teese opened the first Cointreau Privé an ephemeral cocktail bar in the heart of Montmartre, Paris.