What Is Cointreau Liqueur?

by Nancy Smith ; Updated September 28, 2017

Cointreau liqueur can used to make a margarita.

margarita image by Karin Lau from Fotolia.com

Cointreau liqueur is a clear orange fruit liqueur. It can be found in many well known cocktails such as margaritas, side cars and white ladies. Cointreau is not as sweet as other familiar orange liqueurs like Grand Mariner and Curacao.


The drink was developed in 1875 by Edward Cointreau whose family owned a distillery that produced liqueurs from locally grown fruits.


The actual recipe is a secret, but orange peels from a number of bitter and sweet varieties are used to flavor the base alcohol. The liqueur is about 40 percent alcohol by volume; sugar is the other ingredient.


The drink can be served straight and chilled, but it is known for its use in cocktails and food. As with Grand Mariner, Cointreau can be an ingredient in cake and pastry fillings. It is added to ice cream, as well as dessert toppings and sauces.


There is no aging process; you can open it as soon as you buy it. Unopened Cointreau can be stored for a few years; you might find separation occurring if the liqueur is kept too long. Exposure to air will cause the fruit oils and any pectin to thicken. Store in a cool dry place, heat might affect the liqueur in the same way as air.

Our Everyday Video

Brought to you by LEAFtv
Brought to you by LEAFtv

Photo Credits