Published on October 23rd, 2014 | by Gavin0
Introducing Cointreau Noir
Cointreau is the unheralded hero of the cocktail world. Many of your favourite classics including the Margarita, Sidecar, and Mai Tai would be nothing without the world’s most popular orange liqueur. The family owned brand has been in production since 1875 when Edouard Cointreau came up with a recipe that they have remained true to ever since, and rarely have they made variations to this tried and tested formula. Therefore when I was invited to the launch of Cointreau’s brand new product, Cointreau Noir, at classy Mayfair establishment Mr Fogg’s, I sat up and took note.
The small group of press in attendance were honoured to have Alfred Cointreau, Heritage Manager and 6th generation Cointreau family member, host the evening, which shows just how important this launch is to the brand. Being a bit of a spirit nerd I arrived earlier than everyone else and I was asked if I’d like to grab Alfred for a one to one tasting session- a nearly cried man tears of joy.
Sitting in an intimate booth in the corner, the beaming Alfred welcomes me as if I were a long lost relative of the Cointreau family (which could actually be the case given the amount of triple sec based cocktails I consume on a weekly basis). He begins by giving a brief history of Cointreau from its distillery which remains in Angers, North West France; to the farms in Spain, Africa, and South America where they source the oranges. An interesting story which showed just how important tradition still is to the family, a rarity in today’s fast paced society.
We soon move on to the new product and Alfred explains that Cointreau Noir is a blend of Cointreau and Remy Martin cognac, based on a 1902 recipe (aka Cointreau Majestic) which the master distiller has remixed for a modern audience. It is made up of 70% Cointreau and 30% cognac so doesn’t stray too far from home, but there is also a hint of almond and walnut to add balance.
Now enough of all that patter, what you really want to know is how does it taste, right? Well it’s unmistakably Cointreau with the signature sweet orange flavour evident from initial sip to finish, but the cognac makes the liqueur much more potable on its own, or my preferred option, is with a cube of ice. It’s so easy to sip that I have to double check that it is indeed 40% ABV. Cognac fans may not be so keen on how sweet it is in comparison to their favourite VSOP, but even the most stubborn would be hard pressed not to love the cappuccino lookalike Cointreau Noir cocktail on the menu at Mr Fogg’s.
Having learnt as much as I could from Alfred, (whom seems far too young at 28 years old to have the wealth of experience and knowledge of the industry by the way), I’m in awe of Noir. Alfred finishes my one to one by explaining that he envisages it in years to come to be on supermarket shelves and bar backs selling just as well as original Cointreau. Having tried for myself, it’s hard to disagree.
Cointreau Noir will be hitting bars over the next few weeks in time for Christmas; a great gift idea for any fan of brandy liqueurs.