Cointreau Triple Sec Review

A staple in many classic cocktails, Cointreau is a celebrated triple sec. In this review, you will discover Cointreau as I touch on the following:

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Drink Overview

  • Distillery: Le Carré Cointreau
  • Expression: Cointreau
  • Variety: Triple Sec
  • Region: Maine-et-Loire, France
  • Age: NAS
  • Casking: N/A
  • Cask Strength: 40% ABV
  • Pricing:
    • Drizly: From $39 / 75 cl [Buy Now]
    • Reserve Bar: $46 / 75 cl [Buy Now]
  • Parent: Remy Martin

Cointreau was founded in 1849 by brothers, Adolphe and Edouard-Jean Cointreau. In 1875, they introduced this orange peel liqueur, which is now recognized as a triple sec. However, when it was released, it was sweeter than it is today. In 1990, the brand was bought by Remy Martin, the renowned cognac brand but it continues to thrive under its new family.

Cointreau Triple Sec Sky Background

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Cointreau’s Robe

Cointreau Triple Sec In Glass

  • Hue: Clear
  • Clarity: Translucent
  • Viscosity: Syrupy

Cointreau is a clear liquid. Thick droplets of oil appear within the liquid and swirling the glass results in slow and thick legs. The liquid will dry on the side of the glass, leaving a chalky white residue. Overall, it’s sticky and translucent bordering on hazy with a thick viscosity.

Cointreau’s Nose

  • Notes: Orange Peel, Wax, Grapefruit
  • Nosefeel: Prickly

The nose feel is surprisingly prickly. There’s a bouquet of orange peel, candlewax, and grapefruit. Overall, it delivers an alcoholic, boozy orange essence. It’s not particularly intense nor are the notes diverse. Indeed, it’s not a particularly complex nose.

Cointreau’s Palate & Mouthfeel

Cointreau Triple Sec Bottle & Cigar

  • Primary Taste: Bittersweet
  • Mouthfeel: Oily
  • Opening:  Orange Peel, Neroli, Citrus Thyme
  • Heart: Rose, Nutmeg, Grapefruit
  • Finish: Short [Fresh Orange, Rosemary, Caramel]

The overall bouquet is sweet with an oily mouthfeel. The aftertaste does give you a little bit of a fiery burn, but it’s the oils that dominate it.

It opens with orange peel as can be expected. Indeed, it’s a little more herbaceous rather than fruity. There are hints of neroli, orange leaf, and some citrus thyme.

Meanwhile, the heart develops a spicier profile. There’s a hint of floral rose, nutmeg, and then grapefruit. Eventually, we get to the finish, which consists of fresh oranges, rosemary, and caramel.

Overall, it delivers little in complex despite a few nuances. Its mouthfeel has a velvety, oily texture that leaves a coating on the tongue. It’s youthful yet balanced. Finally, there’s a slightly lingering finish, but it doesn’t last too long. Give it a couple of seconds and it’s pretty much dissipated to leave just the alcohol on your palate.

How To Drink Cointreau

As we often state in our reviews, the best way to drink a beverage is the way that you enjoy it the most. However, if you’re not yet sure how to drink Cointreau, we are happy to provide you with a few ideas.

While drinkable with neat or with ice, it’s not the most pleasant way to have Cointreau. Indeed, it’s best served as a cocktail ingredient. In fact, Cointreau is often regarded as the backbone for many classic turn-of-the-century cocktails from the pre-Prohibition Belle Epoque era!

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Cointreau Cocktail Suggestions

Sarparita Cocktail

Following the above comments, we suggest the following cocktails in order to properly enjoy Cointreau:

  1. Sarparita
  2. Corpse Reviver N°2
  3. Sidecar
  4. Margarita
  5. Cointreau Fizz

You can use the links above to see our full recipes for the suggested Cointreau cocktails. Alternatively, the Cointreau Fizz is often included as a recipe on the bottle itself.

It basically consists of sparkling water, lime, and Cointreau. Therefore, it’s a refreshing option for a hot summer’s day. For more inspiration, check out our guide to the best triple sec cocktail recipes.

Generally speaking, Cointreau isn’t going to be the central ingredient in a cocktail. Nevertheless, it plays an important role as a taste modifier that adds a hint of zest and headiness to your concoction.

Best Pairings With Cointreau

Cointreau Triple Sec & Cigar

Cointreau is a great ingredient for cooking. You could use it for making canard à l’orange by marinading duck with Cointreau, orange, and honey. Alternatively, for desserts, it’s also used for making a tarte tatin apple tart. I also heard that it can be used for making an Angel Food Cake.

As for cigars, if you’re going to be having it neat or with ice consider something that will have some citrus qualities as well. For example, a La Gloria Cabana Serie D No 5 has a slight citrus note. Otherwise, consider instead a Placentia Alma Del Campo.

Overall Experience & Value For Money

Cointreau has a classic bottle design. However, on this occasion, the one reviewed featured a limited edition designed by Vincent Darré. I absolutely love the style, which is reminiscent of Picasso artwork. This sunshine essence reflects its refreshing characteristics. I’m probably going to keep this bottle!

In terms of occasion, this is quite versatile as it’s a classic cocktail ingredient. Indeed, it can be enjoyed as a casual mixer but it’s often featured in affluent classic cocktails.

In terms of value for money, it’s actually quite pricey in the United States! You’re looking at about $46 for a bottle. Otherwise, in Europe, you could find it for just $18.

Closing Thoughts

Overall, Cointreau is a classic cocktail ingredient that is a staple for many drink cabinets. Therefore, if you’re keen on mixology, make sure that you have one ready for creating some exciting concoctions!

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"Just simply a classic cocktail ingredient. While not one to be sampled neat, it's perfect for adding to your concoctions."
Bespoke Unit Rating: ★★★★

Further Reading

Once you’ve finished reading our review, feel free to peruse our wide range of related content such as the following resources:

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