4 Fall(ish) Cocktails with Cointreau

Drink Lists fall cocktails
4 Fall(ish) Cocktails with Cointreau

Cointreau. You know it as the mysterious little breath of life in a margarita and if you have any semblance of a home bar this is likely one of the mixers you keep on hand. Which is lucky, because it might just be the perfect summer-to-fall transition flavor.

Cointreau is a type of triple sec, which is a varied category of liqueurs flavored with the rinds of sweet or bitter oranges (Cointreau uses both). It’s from Angers, France, and has been around since 1875. Unlike many spirits with serious personalities, Cointreau has not really “dumbed down” its recipe and still has the same bittersweet and slightly fiery character it’s always had. It’s a bit intense, so while it’s suggested as a digestif, most people seem to find they prefer it as a mixer.

And as a mixer, it is indispensable, and vastly preferable, with its slightly bitter and brooding personality compared to sugary low-shelf triple secs. Cointreau says “yes” to the Margarita, the Sidecar and the Cosmo. Meanwhile, the aromatic, spicy, bittersweet flavor of citrus rind is a fantastic foil for a lot of early fall ingredients. It has an affinity for pomegranates, end of season blackberries and hot peppers, basil, pears, and even… yes, the loved and hated pumpkin spice combo. Apple cider and Champagne both get along with it. Warm spices like ginger and nutmeg. Figs!

In any season, Cointreau appreciates citrus juices. Experiment at will. Here are four to get you going. Cheers.

Cointreau Autumn Shandy

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1.5 oz. Cointreau
¾ oz. Fresh Lime Juice
4 oz. Pumpkin Ale

Directions: Build all ingredients over ice in a cocktail glass. Stir briefly. Garnish with grated nutmeg.

Margarita Mule


1 oz. Cointreau
2 oz. blanco tequila
1 oz. fresh lime juice
ginger beer

Directions: Shake Cointreau, tequila, and fresh lime juice in a shaker with ice.  Strain over ice in a rocks glass with a salt rim. Top with ginger beer and garnish with candied ginger.

Ruby Red Margarita


1 oz. Cointreau
2 oz. blanco tequila
¾ oz. fresh ruby red grapefruit juice
½ oz. fresh lime juice
Italian bitters

Directions: Shake Cointreau, tequila, fresh ruby red grapefruit juice and fresh lime juice in a shaker with ice. Strain in a coupe glass with a salt rim. Pour Italian bitters over the back of a spoon to layer cocktail.

Pomegranate Ginger Cosmopolitan


.75 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. Vodka
.75 oz. Fresh lime juice
.75 oz. pomegranate juice
2 slices fresh ginger

Directions: Muddle the ginger in the bottom of a shaker tin. Add all remaining ingredients. Shake and fine strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.

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