Cointreau organizes its first Margari’Time in Paris

The French brand of orange-peel liqueur dedicates an event to Mexico’s ambassador: the Margarita.

 

Dj sets, mixology classes and tastings await Parisians on June 13 and 14 on the confidential rooftop of the “Dernier Étage” events venue in the 18th arrondissement.

 

By celebrating the creation of the fourth most consumed cocktail in the world, Cointreau hopes to rejuvenate its image and appeal to a generation Z who have recently rediscovered the famous recipe on social networks, associating it with Spritz.

 

A caliente immersion in the world of Cointreau

 

The Rémy Cointreau group’s flagship liqueur celebrates the almost mythical creation 75 years ago of an iconic cosmopolitan cocktail whose name sings of Mexico: the Margarita.

 

Indeed, not only does the Margarita have its own world day (February 22), it is also a staple of El Cinco de Mayo (May 5), a popular holiday not only in Mexico, but also in California, Texas and Arizona.

 

The latter date commemorates the victory of Puebla (1862), when General Ignacio Zaragoza’s Mexican forces succeeded in repelling an outnumbered French expeditionary force.

 

The brand promises a taste and information experience that aims both to raise awareness of the famous drink made with Cointreau (Triple sec), tequila and lime, and to promote the uses of the orange-peel liqueur.

 

Cointreau will be staging a host of events to mark the occasion.

 

There will be masterclasses and olfactory workshops to discover this emblematic cocktail and its countless variations, such as the Frozen Passion Margarita, the Sparkling Margarita and the Spicy Margarita.

 

As part of an inclusive approach and in line with a generation Z that defies convention and labels, some 50 recipes – some of them alcohol-free – will be available for tasting.

 

The “Margari’Time” bar will allow visitors to taste and discover the flavours behind each creation.

 

And because music softens the soul, two DJs, regulars at such Parisian hotspots as Les Bains and La Cabash, will be behind the decks to create an unforgettable atmosphere.

 

To spice up the event, the experience will take place in the unique and spectacular setting of a confidential rooftop – Le Dernier Étage – offering a breathtaking view of the capital.

 

This former garage, perched on the seventh floor, has been converted into a designer event space with a double terrace, one covered and glazed, the other under the open sky.

 

Perfect for soaking up the sun’s rays over the capital. While this is the first event of its kind dedicated to the Margarita, Cointreau has already held ephemeral multi-cocktail bars before the pandemic, including the Cointreau Cocktail Show in 2019.

 

An aperitif staple with little-known origins

 

A Margarita without Cointreau doesn’t deserve its salt“, is how Margarita Sames, the cocktail’s alleged creator is said to have forever linked the orange liqueur to the national Mexican drink.

 

Since 2021, Cointreau has organized the Margarita Challenge, an annual international competition in which bartenders are invited to reinterpret the recipe for what is known as “The Drink“.

 

The only “constraint” was to include salt and Cointreau L’Unique.

 

 

The Margarita wasn’t invented in a day, and there are many more or less fanciful founding myths surrounding this cocktail from Acapulco.

© Rémy Cointreau

Cocktails prefiguring the Margarita are said to have originated in the American Prohibition era, under the name Tequila Daisy.

 

The Daisy was then a 20th-century cocktail typology, mixing spirits and lime.

 

The name evokes both the flower in English and “The girl who’s worth a shot” in American slang.

 

Some even see it as an allusion to the American actress and sex symbol Rita Hayworth. Indeed, the real name of the iconic actress in Charles Vidor’s 1946 film Gilda was none other than Margarita Cansino.

 

The most plausible story – chosen by Cointreau – refers to Margarita Sames, a Dallas socialite vacationing in Acapulco, who created the cocktail in 1948 to refresh the guests of her wealthy businessman husband. Since then, the Margarita has retained a convivial, girly image in the collective unconscious.

 

The cocktail is featured in Griffin Dunne’s 1998 film Les Ensorceleuses, which follows a trio of witches, as well as in the Desperate Housewives series, where “the Mexican” Gabrielle Solis – played by Eva Longoria – spices up her evenings with friends with a Margarita.

 

Since its creation in 2015, Drinks International’s annual ranking of the most popular cocktails has often included the Margarita in its Top10.

Gabrielle Solis, alias Eva Longoria, never short of Margarita in Desperate Housewives © HBO

 

By 2021, it had risen to 8th place among the world’s most popular cocktails, climbing to fourth place by 2022.

 

Its fruity, floral and tangy flavours, made with a double shot of blanco tequila, a double shot of Cointreau and lime juice, are a big part of its undisputed reputation.

 

However, on the other side of the Atlantic, in the United States, new habits and a more pronounced taste for bitterness are beginning to emerge, to the detriment of the famous cocktail.

 

A summer alternative to Spritz and Martini

 

If gin, in the wake of the Millennials, has invaded the alcoholic evenings of Generation Z (individuals born between 1997 and 2010), no Parisian summer terrace can do without Spritz, Martini and, since last year, Negroni Sbagliato.

 

All these drinks evoke the flavors of Venice, Turin and Rome, respectively.

 

Like the Margarita, these cocktails come in many variations, such as the Spritz Saint Germain (made with elderflowers) or the Spritz Lemon (made with limoncello).

 

Spritz glasses, Unsplash

Originally from Padua, but long consumed exclusively in Venice, the Spritz is already entering its eighth season of summer terraces in Paris, to the point of having few rivals, much to the delight of the Campari group, owner of the Aperol brand – the main orange-based ingredient in the Spritz cocktail – since 2003.

 

If the cocktail has managed to seduce all that Paris and the hexagonal hot spots have of trendy bars, sunny beaches and medium-sized supermarkets, it’s thanks to a well-honed marketing strategy. Since 2014, Campari has extended distribution of Aperol to supermarkets, canvassed and trained bartenders, organized events and, last but not least, de-seasonalized its drinks by offering them as far afield as ski resorts.

 

Not bad for an Aperol which, when Campari bought it, was only known in Venice and distributed in three Italian cities.

 

If the cocktail has won over customers and professionals alike, it’s not only because of its emblematic color, which is highly Instagrammable, but also because it’s simpler and quicker to prepare than a mojito. Like the Margarita, the Spritz has the advantage of requiring just three ingredients (Aperol, prosecco and orange pieces).

 

It’s also less expensive: 90 euro cents versus 1.80 euros for a Mojito in 2017.

 

With Margari’Time, Cointreau seems to be following Campari’s successful strategy, especially since the Italian group bought the Picon brand from Diageo last year.

 

The move to win over the French market looks like a comeback: after Henri Verneuil’s film Un Singe en Hiver (1963) – starring Jean Gabin and Jean-Paul Belmondo – Picon bière has long been a popular drink in French bistros.

 

As a sign of the growing polarization of the United States and the return of Donald Trump to the media scene – a fervent opponent of Mexicans – tequila and the Margarita associated with it are losing ground, with Americans preferring bitters cocktails with an assumed bitterness such as Martini and Aperol.

 

According to an American study published in May 2023, commissioned by No Deposit Casino and relayed by Tequila Raiders, the Margarita is now No. 1 in only one US state: Alabama.

Most popular cocktails in each US state © No Deposit Casino

Old-fashioned whisky comes out on top in 21 states

 

Other popular choices include the Martini, in second place, followed by the Manhattan and then the Cosmopolitan.

 

This change of habit can also be explained by a growing quest for less sweet cocktails, which has a direct impact on Pina Colada and Sex on The Beach.

 

Nevertheless, the latter remain in the hearts of the inhabitants of Mississippi and Virginia respectively.

 

According to the same study, Americans consume 2.2 cocktails and spend an average of $24.26 per outing.

 

They would be prepared to pay a maximum of $15.54 for a single cocktail.

 

Fortunately, in France, the Margarita has not yet said its last word.

 

And with 50 recipes listed by Cointreau, anyone – cocktail lover or follower of the NoLo movement (editor’s note: alcohol-free or moderate consumption) – will be able to find their own Margarita.

 

Indeed, thanks to social networks, members of Generation Z have discovered the recipe that reconciles flavors: the Margarita Spritz. It combines tequila blanco, lemon juice, syrup and soda.

 

In short: On June 13 and 14, from 7pm to 11pm, it’s Margari’Time at Dernier Etage, 11 rue Forest, 18th arrondissement, Paris.

 

Read also > Rémy Cointreau records a record year 

Featured photo : © Press

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Victor Gosselin
Victor Gosselin is a journalist specializing in luxury, HR, tech, retail, and editorial consulting. A graduate of EIML Paris, he has been working in the luxury industry for 9 years. Fond of fashion, Asia, history, and long format, this ex-Welcome To The Jungle and Time To Disrupt likes to analyze the news from a sociological and cultural angle.

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