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COINTREAU is the trademark of a French triple sec liqueur, made from orange peels. It was created in the distillery of the COINTREAU family in 1875, in the village of Saint-Barthélemy-d'Anjou (periphery of Angelers), in the French region of Pays de la Loire.
COINTREAU is a liqueur with 40% alcohol, obtained from the distillation of orange peels of different varieties and origins, both sweet and bitter. The peels are dried in the sun, macerated and distilled in copper lamps resulting in an essential oil that gives the liquor an intense and very natural aroma, between sweet and bitter. This essential oil is mixed with alcohol, water and sugar in the form of syrup and spices. The secret of its elaboration and composition has been carefully guarded for more than one hundred and thirty years. The liquor is crystal clear and clouds in contact with the ice, acquiring a pearly tone.
Traditionally it was taken for desserts or after coffee (pousse-café), or as a digestive drink. From the early 1920s, it achieved worldwide fame, so it became the triple dry most used in the composition of such well-known cocktails, such as the Margarita, the Cosmopolitan and the Sidecar. The list of cocktails in which the COINTREAU is used continues to lengthen, since its category of "white alcohol" (crystalline), facilitates its combination in cocktails and drinks. When not combined with other beverages, it is usually taken dry or with ice. It is also traditionally used to flavor cakes, creams, fruit salads and meat dishes such as duck orange.
Part of its fame is linked to the characteristic shape of its bottle, square with rounded edges and amber so that its contents are not corrupted by light.
The company was created in 1849 in Angers, France, by master pastry chefs Adolphe and Edouard-Jean COINTREAU. They opened a distillery to make liquors from the fruits produced in the region. In 1875, Edouard COINTREAU, son of Edouard-Jean, distilled a preparation of sweet and bitter orange peels, creating the triple sec (triple dry), named for its triple distillation in copper stills. The original recipe of the COINTREAU has remained until the twenty-first century. Unlike curasao, it does not use the "Citrus aurantium" in its variety "curassavuensus", but sweet and bitter oranges imported, since the region of Angers does not produce citrus fruits.
At the beginning of the twentieth century the brand already sold 800,000 bottles a year, and opened its first European branch. In 1989 the company merged with the Cognac brand Rémy Martin, following the wedding of a sister of the president and descendant of the Rémy Martin family, André Hériard Dubreuil, with Edouard COINTREAU, of the fourth generation. The business group adopted the name Rémy COINTREAU and went public. Rémy COINTREAU is also the owner of the Barbados Mount Gay rum brand, the Charles Heidsieck Champagne brand, and the Greek wine brandy Metaxa.