Patience Gould and the Margarita

Vermeire states the recipe as equal parts cognac, Cointreau and lemon juice, now known as ‘the French school’. But later on an anglicised version emerged courtesy of Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book (1930), which calls for two parts cognac and one part each of Cointreau and lemon juice. Clearly I am going to have to some very tasty research here.

I confess that over these cocktail-fuelled years I’ve wondered if the world’s best-selling and best renowned triple sec in its squat square and brown bottle was missing out on the mixing circuit. But it’s all explained in the book in the chapter ‘A unique, revolutionary bottle’ or better still en Francais, ‘Un flacon iconique en rupture avec les codes de l’époque’.

Towards the end of the 19th century liqueurs generally came in highly decorative presentations so the decision by Edouard Cointreau to go for a relatively plain bottle with a simple label meant the brand was already standing out from the madding (or is it maddening?) crowd. It continues to do so to this day, and unlike other brands which have eschewed their iconic presentations succeeding generations of the Cointreau family have remained steadfast.

Indeed in 1925 the Louis Cointreau ad campaign urged consumers: “Don’t just order a triple sec, insist on a Cointreau” and they have in droves. As a result Cointreau is Cointreau first and a triple sec second. Few brands today enjoy this iconic status. In fact I can only think of one other and that’s Bacardi – the brand comes first and the white rum comes second, well it used to at any rate and that’s definitely another story.