This is the second installment in the Spirited Cuisine series from Sri Bala (Shaman) and me. Each week or so I select a liquor or spirit, and Sri creates a dessert recipe incorporating it. Find Sri’s posts at his blog and mine here within the Lush Life category.
In the summer of 1997, I traveled through Europe with friends and we stayed a few days in Verona. We were sitting at a table outside a restaurant, just finished dinner, and it was a beautiful night for sitting outside. I didn’t want dessert — too full — but I did want something as a finale to the meal, maybe something sweet. So I ordered Cointreau on ice, and it was perfect: like dessert in a glass, so lovely with the warm night air and the conversation and the people walking by.
It’s a really French drink, from the heavily-vowelled name to the square and awkward bottle to the tangy sweet taste. The longtime mascot of Cointreau was a strikingly French clown named Pierrot, featured in both the ads you see here. The original Pierrot (top image) was created by the Italian poster designer Francisco Tamagno. The face, including the lorgnon, is a caricature of company founder Edouard Cointreau.
Over time, artwork for the company’s ads was taken over by Cointreau’s grandson, Jean Mercier. He simplified and stylized Pierrot, and his version is the one with which more people associate Cointreau. Pierrot appeared in a variety of posters and ads through the years (bottom image).
Edouard Cointreau was a master marketer. To distinguish his liqueur from imitators he used a memorable square, amber glass bottle, and company trucks and booths were shaped to match. He also trademarked his brand name early on, and is credited with creating the first film commercial to be shown in cinemas. Some ads featured cross-marketing with TWA and other companies.
Cointreau is pricey compared with other triple sec options, but it’s tasty and smooth enough to be worth the cost. And it’s a versatile liqueur. The Cointreau website features a long list of cocktail recipes, including the Cosmopolitan, the Margarita, the Kamikaze, a very interesting thing called a Little Devil, and (my favorite) the classic Sidecar.
The site also has yummy-looking food recipes, but Sri has made all the desserts there obsolete with his creation: the Cointreau Dream. Like my Cointreau on ice it too is dessert in a glass, but it’s a whole other world of delight. Go see, and set your mouth watering.