The special keepsake (£35) is garlanded with unique designer graphics and being sold exclusively in the UK, the brand’s third largest market, from this month by luxury department store Harvey Nichols. The artwork created by leading interiors designer Vincent Darre pays tribute to the square form of the original vessel, shaped to symbolise modernity and hint at those produced by perfumiers, then gives it a dynamic retro twist with three striking abstract designs.
Now part of drinks giant group Remy Martin and the inspiration for cocktail classics such as the Cosmopolitan and the Margarita, Cointreau was crafted by Edouard Cointreau in the place where it is still headquartered today, Angers in western France, during France’s optimistic Belle Epoque era.
The deceptive simplicity of the recipe – a distillate of sweet and bitter orange peel essences, alcohol, water and sugar – has also been the key to its longevity, its subtle flexibility making it a perennial favourite with mixologists from as far back as 1913 records show. Now it is the heart of some 350 cocktails.
Behind of the art of the mix however lies another: the complex task of blending, balancing then distilling the different peels sourced from Africa and Brazil.
Cointreau has a strong tradition of women distillers, and now the chief is Carole Quentin, who travels the world’s orchards, constantly strives for consistency and is the renowned ‘nose of Cointreau’.
“I am a very practical person, I developed a gift, my hands have always been in the earth,” she says
“Nothing enchants me more thank to discover and then rediscover the sensory properties of the liqueur. The aromatic complexity and unique sweetening power make it an unparalleled cocktail base. It is impossible to resist Cointreau’s spirit, its generosity, roundness and energy.”
Home or sofa cocktail culture and distillery visits are both booming in the UK and this is where Cointreau sees the next potential for expansion.
The company is planning a new website which will include tips, tools and drinks tutorials and investing its visitor centre in Angers with a re-opening next year to include an “orange route” tour with an aroma wheel and archive displays.
And for perfect sofa sipping, here is latest suggestion from the mighty Maison Cointreau:
40 ML Cointreau
20 ML fresh lime juice
20 ML macadamia nut syrup
80 ML pineapple juice