Ong Chin Huat speaks with Alfred Cointreau, the Heritage Manager of Cointreau and the sixth generation of the Cointreau family.
Alfred Cointreau is the Heritage Manager of Cointreau and the sixth generation of the family which bears the name of this delicious orange-flavoured liqueur. Growing up in Angers, France, Alfred developed a close relationship with his grandfather Pierre Cointreau and had his first taste of Cointreau at 6 months old during his Baptism. As a young boy, he would help is grandmother make cocktails for the family and it was during those years which he learnt all about his family jewel, the Cointreau Liqueur.
LM: What is your favourite cocktail to drink with family and friends?
AC: It really depends on the occasion and the mood I am in. It will be different if I am in a romantic dinner with my wife, a family gathering or a casual get together with my friends. A good bartender will discuss the options with you and recommend the right drink for that moment you are experiencing. A better way to put his question would be if tomorrow is your last day on earth, would drink would you order for me? It would be Ramos Gin Fizz.
LM:. What was it like growing up in the Cointreau family?
AC: My great, great, great grandfather was the founder of Cointreau. We are a funny family and I had a lot of fun. There’s a tradition in the family where at six months old we all had a Baptism where we are given a sip of Cointreau and that was the first experience I had of Cointreau. As a child my siblings and I would spend two weeks every year at my grandparents’ home in the seaside. My grandmother would mix drinks at her Piano Bar and serve them as an apéritif before lunch or dinner.
LM: As the Heritage Manager of Cointreau, what does your job entail?
AC: I have been the heritage manager of Cointreau for four years. I am like a brand ambassador where I travel around the world to promote the Cointreau brand. I am also in charge of business development for the brand. Back home in France, I am involved in the Cointreau Academy and spend time watching how Cointreau is made. In addition to this I think about marketing strategies for the brand and create tools for bartenders.
LM: How do you keep sober in your business?
AC: I like trying new drinks and creations but if I am going to several bars in a night, I have only one drink which I do not finish. Also when I drink a cocktail, I will always drink a glass of water. Drinking water is the key to staying sober! Also I drink water before going to bed I drink a lot of water. I do not drink for 10 consecutive days about four to five times a year and I work out as well. It’s a sort of detox.
LM: What is the best food to pair with Cointreau?
AC: Anything chocolate is perfect with Cointreau. Cointreau is a very versatile drink. You can have a Cointreau Fizz before your lunch as an apéritif, during dinner you can have a Cobbler (Cointreau with white wine with some berries) and as a digestif, you can have a Sidecar.
LM: What do you think is Cointreau’s popularity, longevity and success?
AC: There are many factors which contribute to Cointreau’s success. One of them is its quality of Cointreau’s recipe. The creator of Cointreau, my great great grandfather, Édouard Cointreau spent over 10 years looking for the perfect mix of ingredients and balance of flavours to create the Cointreau range we have today. Innovation and creating new things has always been part of the DNA of the brand and even today in the 21st century we are keeping this spirit of innovation and creativity set by my great great grandfather alive.