Cointreau is an orange alcohol, in case you aren’t familiar with it. Triple sec was its first name, and after lots of copy-cats, the Cointreau family decided to call it by their name. If you’ve had a cosmo, sidecar, or margarita, you’ve had triple sec. If you’ve had a really good cosmo, sidecar, or margarita, you’ve had Cointreau.
For only 8€ each, Shana and I basically had a private tour. Sue had arranged this (her assistant, Annika, escorted us), and we think Sue has quite the connections with Cointreau! It was informative, impressive, and quite enjoyable. I’ve toured a few distilleries and breweries in Europe and the US, and this tour was among the best. And definitely with the best cocktail at the end. (Sorry, Reed, I’m just not a Scotch girl!)
You can read about Cointreau and its history online, so I won’t go into too many details. It is made with only four things: water, orange rinds (2 kinds: bitter and sweet), alcohol (from sugar beets), and sugar (also from the beets). It is a clear liquid, yet when an ice cube is dropped in it, it becomes cloudy and you can see the essential oils. At one point in time, it was marketed through sort of creepy cartoons that appealed to children, and it had an equally creepy mime-based clown mascot. We saw a bottle collection of over 300 rip-offs, each of which Cointreau shut down. The company treats its 70ish employees very well, giving them 7 weeks of vacation each year and a 3-month Christmas bonus (& Countreau)! It is only made in Angers, France, so we got it at its source. I encourage you to go out and enjoy some!