Deconstructing Cointreau

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The distiller’s wiki claims Cointreau has 250 g/L of sugar which would be a brix of 22.9. I definitely think it is sweeter. Only one way to find out!

The goal of the experiment will be to find the true sugar content and originating alcohol content and volume before sugaring. From this down the road we can make a base that a certain g/L of peels can be added to approximate Cointreau’s intensity.

I keep seeing all sorts of g/L measurements all over the web. Grand Marnier is 254 g/L while Kahlua is 490 g/L

I used a 500 mL sample, distilled off the alcohol and diluted back to 500 mL with distilled water and let it cool back to room temp. My specific gravity hydrometer says 1.1 which is 260 g/L. and my more accurate brix hydrometer reads just less than 23 which validates it.

260 grams of sugar undissolved volumetrically looks like slightly more than a cup. The dissolved volume that it takes up is about 154 mL (using the water test) so the original pre-sugared alcohol content of Cointreau would be 400/(1000-154) or 856 mL of 47% alcohol spirit!

Now we can confidently replicate the structure of Cointreau. All we have to do now is find a gorgeous source of oranges, slowly add their peels and come up with a guideline for orange intensity.

As for me, I’m going to jump the gun on a solid guideline and make some seville orange flavored St. James rhum liqueur!

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5 thoughts on “Deconstructing Cointreau

  1. i think i over engineered finding the sugar content here. i will post the new methodology soon.

  2. Cointreau has a brix well above 22.9. Grand Marnier comes in at 31.I am curious how you came about your numbers?

  3. Oh wow, that was more than ten years ago. No clue what I was coming up with. I’ve learned so much since then and put incredible products on the market. These days I use refractometers, hydrometers, and pycnometers.

  4. Considering your research, I was wondering if you could perhaps help me with this question.. How much agave syrup would I need in a 700ml bottle of Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao to replicate the sweetness of Cointreau?

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