Cointreau (pronounced [kwan’-tro]) is a kind of triple sec liqueur. Its actually a brand name of the company by same name and this is produced at Saint-Barthélemy-d’Anjou, near Angers, in west France. So, first lets find out what is ‘triple sec’. In most simplistic terms, a triple sec is a concoction of bitter and sweet oranges with alcohol. ‘Sec’ means ‘dry’ in french, which in more general terms means a ‘lack of sweetness’. Here it means ‘triple distilled’.
As with most of these things, the recipe is a secret. Cointreau is considered to be either a premium brand triple sec or a unique category of liqueur. With a 40% alcohol content, Cointreau is strong for a triple sec which usually has an alcohol content around 23%.
It is widely used in mixed drinks and recipes as a sweetening and flavoring agent. Better-quality brands are made from brandy or Cognac and often sipped alone, typically as a digestif. Some of the other popular brands of Triple Sec are ‘Grand Mariner’ and ‘DeKyyper’. I read somewhere that as much as 13 millions bottles were sold last year.