Tag Archives: Cointreau cocktails

Drink of the Week: Elle

Every Oscars party needs a little bubbly to help ease the way through the many boring parts of the awards show. This drink, created to toast French actress Isabelle Huppert — who’s nominated for best actress for her role in Elle — is just the thing: it’s light, audacious and leads to fun.

And, apropos of Huppert, it features French spirits. There’s the sweet orange kiss of Cointreau, plus some fizz from the Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage (rosé Champagne = genius!). Piper-Heidsieck happens to be the official champagne of the Academy Awards, so there’s no better time to pop the cork on a bottle. And the winner is…

The Elle: a classy, bubbly drink for your Oscars party.

Elle: a classy, bubbly drink for your Oscars party.

Elle

  • Plain ice cubes
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 0.5 oz Cointreau
  • 3.5-4 oz Piper Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage
  • Zest of pomelo or blood orange
  • Garnish: 2-3 blackberries

Method: Build the drink in a rocks glass over ice and garnish with blackberries.

— Recipe courtesy Piper Heidsieck

Happy hour in the Bugaboos

Happy hour after heli-hiking goes something like this: Grab a beer from the bar at the Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) Bugaboos Lodge, take it to the rooftop hot tub to enjoy with a view of the mountains, and then — at 5:30, or sometime before dinner — order The 5:30 cocktail.

Bartender Rob Vinson shakes his version of a Sidecar with pear brandy instead of cognac and lime juice rather than lemon. You wouldn’t think that a bunch of hikers would be ordering cocktails in the backcountry of British Columbia, but the surprising thing about heli-hiking — using a Bell 212 helicopter to access alpine ridges for hiking that would otherwise remain inaccessible — is it empowers you to try new things, whether it’s a via ferrata, or a dry, citrusy and strong sipper at day’s end. And if you line up your glass just right, the impressive Houndstooth Spire makes a great garnish!

The 5:30 is a twist on a Sidecar, with pear brandy instead of cognac. It's just the thing to take you away after a day hiking from the whirly bird.

The 5:30 is a twist on a Sidecar, with pear brandy instead of cognac. It’s just the thing to take you away after a day hiking from a whirly bird.

The 5:30

  • 1 oz Okanagan Spirits Poire Williams (Pear Brandy)
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 lime, muddled

Method: Muddle half a lime in the base of a cocktail shaker. Add pear brandy, Cointreau and ice, shake. Double strain into a chilled martini glass.

— Cocktail courtesy Rob Vinson, bartender at CMH Bugaboos

Le Cointreau Au Debut

Earlier this summer Cointreau came to Calgary to host a cocktail competition as part of the French spirit’s cross-Canada tour to crown “Mademoiselle Cointreau-Canada.” Model Milk’s Madeleine MacDonald won with her inventive and delicious In Memoir cocktail.

The tour had previously been to Vancouver (two winners), and then continued on to Toronto (four winners) and Montreal (three winners). In total, 10 outstanding mademoiselle bartenders won a trip to France to visit the Cointreau Distillery in Angers. Fast forward two months and those liquid chefs, including MacDonald, were pitted against one other in the Mademoiselle Cointreau finale, held at Revival Bar in Toronto on Monday night.

Rachel Osborne readies the bar for her Cointreau-cherry juice cocktail on Monday night at Revival Bar in Toronto.

Competitor Rachel Osborne readies the bar Monday night at Revival Bar in Toronto while emcees Dee Brun (Cocktail Deeva) and Lolitta Dandoy look on.

I was asked to judge this competition alongside Alfred Cointreau (the great-great-grandson of founder Edouard Cointreau), Nishan Nepulangoda (bartender at Blowfish in Toronto) and Fanny Gauthier (owner of Ateliers & Saveurs in Montreal).

As we sipped our way through the cocktails, the calibre of the finalists became apparent. My favourite cocktail for taste was the Femme Fatale, a perfectly balanced sour from Bar Isabel bartender Leah Mucci. However, we based our marks on not only the drink’s taste and balance, but on the cocktail’s name and story, originality and inspiration, presentation, and execution.

Leah Mucci affixes a mint leaf and candied kumquat garnish to her Femme Fatale cocktail, a sublime twist on a sour.

Leah Mucci affixes a mint leaf and candied kumquat garnish to her Femme Fatale cocktail, a sublime twist on a sour.

By far the best story of the evening came from winner Rachel Osborne of Philemon Bar in Montreal. Hers was a tale of beginnings and perfect endings; of Cointreau’s start as a distillery making cherry liqueur, to her own start as a bartender at age 12 creating coconut cocktails for her mother. The perfect ending, of course, was how the two beginnings came together — cherry juice shaken with Cointreau and topped with coconut foam. It also helped that the drink was delicious and beautifully presented and executed. For her effort Osborne wins a trip to Miami to meet the city’s top mixologists, and the title of Mademoiselle Cointreau-Canada. Congrats!

Winning cocktail Le Cointreau Au Debut is a pleasing mix of Cointreau and cherry juice by Montreal bartender Rachel Osborne.

Winning cocktail Le Cointreau Au Debut is a pleasing mix of Cointreau and cherry juice by bartender Rachel Osborne. Extra points for presentation!

Le Cointreau Au Debut

  • 1-1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 2 oz cherry juice (fresh juice with a small amount of citric acid to make it more sour)
  • Foam of coconut milk with lavender-infused cane sugar simple syrup (you may have to travel to Montreal and hunt down Osborne for this)
  • Garnish: Dried lavender and a spray of liquid fleur de sel (hand-harvested sea salt) mixed with a small amount of cherry juice for colour.

Method: Combine Cointreau and cherry juice in a shaker with ice and give a short shake (you don’t want too much dilution). Make the foam in a syphon (or go foamless — the foam sort of got in the way of the main event, the Cointreau cherry juice, in my opinion). Strain into a highball glass with ice and top with the coconut foam. Sprinkle on the dried lavender and spritz with the sea salt-cherry juice mixture.

— Recipe by Rachel Osborne, Philemon Bar, Montreal