Drinking Diaries

Cointreau treats Dallas to a night of sauce, song and French history

Cointreau treats Dallas to a night of sauce, song and French history

La Maison Cointreau
Master Mixologist Kyle Ford guided guests on how to mix a Cointreau cocktail before letting them loose in the kitchen.  Photo by Conner Howell
La Maison Cointreau
Guests were given a bevy of fresh fruits and herbs to make their own Cointreau cocktails. Photo by Conner Howell
La Maison Cointreau
An original copy of Jerry Thomas' Bartender's Guide, the first cocktail recipe book, published in 1862. Photo by Conner Howell
La Maison Cointreau
Cointreau has been around for more than 160 years.  Photo by Conner Howell
La Maison Cointreau
La Maison Cointreau
La Maison Cointreau
La Maison Cointreau

What better way to travel back in time than with a little liquid courage. Cointreau, the French orange liqueur, was the center of attention at the aptly named La Maison Cointreau. The two-day event took place at the historic Aldredge House on Swiss Avenue, where guests got in touch with the spirit(s) of the mid-19th century.

Jonny Rodgers entertained guests by playing an orchestra of 20 tuned wine glasses while partygoers sipped on Cointreau cocktails such as sidecars and a devil’s own.

 The French liqueur has a long history in Dallas, dating back to the days of the original margarita, which was made with lime juice, tequila and Cointreau.

But the evening wasn’t all sauce and song. Sixth-generation heir Alfred Cointreau and brand ambassador Richard Lambert discussed the history of the liqueur from Angers, France.

Cointreau informed the group that his first sip of the drink came when he was just 6 months old, when his grandfather put a small amount of the liqueur into his milk bottle. Cointreau claims he’s been hooked ever since. 

Lambert said that Cointreau has a long history in Dallas, dating back to the days of the original margarita, which was made with lime juice, tequila and Cointreau. Though there are multiple origin stories for the quintessential Texas beverage, Lambert went with the one that claims the drink was born in Dallas. Smart move, monsieur.

In keeping with the theme of the evening, the library at the Aldredge House contained a collection of rare cocktail recipe books, dating all the way back to the original recipe book: Jerry Thomas’ Bartender’s Guide.

After the history lesson, guests went to the kitchen where Master Mixologist Kyle Ford helped them prepare their own Cointreau cocktails. Ford said that because Cointreau is 40 proof (comparable to most liquors), the liqueur works perfectly as a base for any number of drinks.

Guests mixed Cointreau with fresh fruit and herbs to experiment. We went with Cointreau, raspberries, pineapple, fresh lime juice and basil leaves. Ford might have put a little more care into his cocktails, but our concoction wasn’t bad, either.

La Maison Cointreau finishes its four-city tour with stops in Los Angeles and San Francisco next month.