Liquor Laboratory

15 Best Grand Marnier Substitutes & Alternatives (2024)

Grand Marnier Substitute

Grand Marnier, the French orange liqueur with a rich, citrusy flavor used in classic cocktails like the Margarita, is a top pick for mixologists and home bartenders.

Due to its popularity, you’ll often find it challenging to get a bottle of Grand Marnier. Thankfully, our team personally tried and tested a few substitutes you can use in your favorite cocktails.

Ready to discover the best Grand Marnier substitutes we personally vouch for? Check out these cool options!

Top 15 Grand Marnier Substitutes

1. St. Germain

Bottle of St. Germain

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: St. Germain, a French liqueur, is one of the best Grand Marnier substitutes because it’s made from elderflowers instead of oranges.

While it doesn’t have the same citrus flavor, St. Germain brings a fragrant and flowery profile to your cocktails.

“Grand Marnier: Where the warmth of brandy meets the bright zest of oranges, creating a symphony of flavor that dances on the palate.” – Liquor Laboratory

St. Germain is easier to find and is often cheaper, so it’s super easy to swap in your recipes!

2. Bourbon

Glass of Bourbon Whiskey

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: Bourbon might not taste exactly like Grand Marnier, but it has a unique sweetness that is akin to the liqueur. [1]

Bourbon doesn’t have the same orange zest flavor but caramel, vanilla, and oak. We recommend adding a dash of orange liqueur to get that zest.

3. Orange Flavored Water

Pouring Orange Water on a Glass

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: Orange-flavored water is a fantastic non-alcoholic Grand Marnier substitute. It’s akin to a gentle whisper of orange, which is great if you want to keep things light yet citrusy.

However, our drinks have more depth and complexity if we use Grand Marnier instead of orange-flavored water, so we add sugar or liqueur to amp up the flavor.

4. Orange Flower Water

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: Orange flower water is made by distilling orange blossoms and is a great Grand Marnier substitute. It’s packed with a citrusy smell that can replace Grand Marnier in cocktail recipes. [2]

This is potent stuff – too much can make your recipe smell like full-blown oranges. A few drops can give your drink that bitter orange zest and aroma.

5. Triple Sec

Bottle of Luxardo Triple Sec and a Glass

Star Rating: ★★★★★

Why We Like It: Triple Sec might not be the most popular orange-flavored liqueur, but it can totally take the place of Grand Marnier in many recipes.

Both are made with orange peels and have similar alcohol content but less sweet. However, when you swap Triple Sec for Grand Marnier, you might need to use more to get that same flavor.

Lastly, Triple Sec is usually cheaper than Grand Marnier French liqueur.

6. Orange Juice Concentrate

Hand Holding Concentrated Orange Juice

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: As the name suggests, orange juice concentrate is, well, super-concentrated orange juice, awesome for mixed drinks because Grand Marnier has a similar flavor profile. [3]

It has a strong orange flavor, so we recommend starting with a small amount and adding more if needed. The best ratio is one tablespoon of Grand Marnier to 1/2 tablespoon of unsweetened orange juice concentrate. 

Read: Grand Marnier & Cointreau Compared

7. Orange Juice & Brandy

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Orange juice and brandy are the most similar to Grand Marnier in terms of flavor and depth.

However, it lacks a bit of the natural sweetness Grand Marnier has, so we recommend adding a bit of simple syrup to give it a more well-rounded profile.

If you want to substitute Grand Marnier with orange juice and brandy, a simple 1:1 ratio will suffice.

Also Read:

8. Orange Blossom Water

Homemade Orange Blossom Water

Star Rating: ★★★★☆

Why We Like It: Orange blossom water is another great Grand Marnier stand-in. It is made by infusing water with bitter orange blossoms to give it a hint of orange flavor and a touch of bitterness.

Orange blossom water adds a delightful aroma and a gentle orange flavor to mixed drinks and sweet desserts.

Here’s the rule of thumb: one tablespoon of Grand Marnier equals one tablespoon of orange blossom water. It’s fantastic in classic cocktails like the Sidecar, especially in mocktails.

9. Orange Curaçao

the genuine orange curacao

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Orange Curaçao is often used as a Grand Marnier substitute as they have a similar sweetness and alcohol potency.

This orange liqueur, made from bitter orange peels and aged in oak barrels, has a complex flavor profile.

10. Campari with Sweet Vermouth

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Here’s a cool bartender trick: we combine Campari with sweet vermouth to mimic the flavors of Grand Marnier.

Campari, with its herbal bitterness, complements the sweetness of vermouth brilliantly. When mixed, they create a flavor reminiscent of Grand Marnier.

Try this alternative the next time you’re making refreshing drinks.

11. Cointreau

Hand Holding Bottle of Cointreau

Cointreau can be used as a replacement for Grand Marnier in cocktails, savory dishes, and glazes. [4]

This orange liqueur is crafted from a blend of sweet and bitter oranges, but what sets the two apart is its clear appearance, as opposed to the distinct amber color of Grand Marnier.

Just one tablespoon of Grand Marnier equals one tablespoon of Cointreau orange liqueur, and you’re good to go.

12. Orange Extract

Orange Extract

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Use orange extract as a non-alcoholic potent flavoring derived from orange rinds. It offers an intensely concentrated orange flavor.

It’s also quite strong – one to two drops of orange extract will be good enough if you want to add a citrusy kick your cocktail needs.

13. Cognac or Brandy

Glass of Cognac

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Cognac or brandy makes for an excellent Grand Marnier substitute. These spirits offer a deep and complex flavor profile.

Cognac is a French brandy with citrus, vanilla, and oak notes. On the other hand, brandy is a fruit-based spirit with more fruity tones.

You can use cognac brandy in a 1:1 ratio. However, they won’t bring orange notes to your drink, so we recommend adding a bit of orange extract to the cognac brandy to get that flavor.

14. Orange Drink Concentrate

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Orange drink concentrate can be used as a substitute for Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge. Just remember that it has a pretty sweet orange flavor, so start with a small amount and adjust to taste.

It’s also budget-friendly and easy to find, making it a convenient option for various recipes.

15. Orange Juice

Pouring Orange Juice on a Glasses

Star Rating: ★★★☆☆

Why We Like It: Like lime juice and Triple Sec, homemade orange juice is a superb substitute for Grand Marnier in various recipes, albeit less complex and warm.

“Grand Marnier is a timeless classic, an exquisite fusion of sophistication and indulgence.” – Julia Child

If you are replacing Grand Marnier with freshly squeezed OJ, remember that it’s typically more watery, so you might need to adjust the quantity of other liquids or balance the flavors. Use twice the amount of fruit juices as called for with the liqueur.

Note: The star rating was determined during a blind taste and based on every mixer’s flavor’s balance, aroma, smoothness, and quality when used in cocktails.

FAQs

What is the closest liqueur to Grand Marnier?

Cointreau is the closest liqueur to Grand Marnier. Cointreau is an orange-flavored liqueur with a similar citrus profile, but it is less sweet.

Can I substitute Cointreau for Grand Marnier in baking?

Yes, you can substitute Cointreau for Grand Marnier in baking. Cointreau’s citrusy flavor works extremely well in various baked goods.

What’s a great Grand Marnier substitute in Margarita?

A great Grand Marnier substitute in a Margarita is Cointreau. You can also use Triple Sec.

What are some common substitutes for Grand Marnier?

Triple sec, Cointreau, orange curaçao, or a combination of orange juice and brandy are commonly used substitutes.

How does Triple Sec compare to Grand Marnier?

Triple sec is sweeter and less complex than Grand Marnier, lacking the depth of flavor from the cognac. However, it still provides a similar orange flavor in cocktails and recipes.

How does Cointreau compare to Grand Marnier?

Cointreau is often considered a premium triple sec and is closer in quality and flavor to Grand Marnier than other substitutes. It’s more expensive but can be worth it for certain recipes.

What is orange curaçao?

Orange curaçao is another orange-flavored liqueur, often sweeter and less intense than Grand Marnier. It’s available in both clear and colored versions.

Can I make my own substitute for Grand Marnier?

Yes, you can create a substitute by combining orange zest, sugar, and brandy or vodka. Let the mixture sit for a few days to infuse the flavors before using it in recipes.

Are there non-alcoholic substitutes for Grand Marnier?

Yes, you can use orange extract or orange juice concentrate mixed with a small amount of water as a non-alcoholic alternative. However, keep in mind that it won’t provide the same depth of flavor as Grand Marnier.

Key Takeaways

St. Germain stands out as the best Grand Marnier substitute because its delicate and floral notes closely match the unique flavor of Grand Marnier. It’s a fantastic choice for cocktails, cooking, and baking.

Cointreau and Triple Sec have well-balanced bitter and sweet citrus flavors and are excellent Grand Marnier substitutes. The same can be said with Campari and Sweet Vermouth, whose aromatic bitterness and herbal undertones resemble Grand Marnier’s.

For those seeking non-alcoholic Grand Marnier substitutes, orange extract brings a vibrant citrus essence without alcohol.

References:

  1. https://www.britannica.com/topic/bourbon-whiskey
  2. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/on-beyond-orange-seeking-out-new-citrus-varieties
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/juice-concentrate
  4. https://www.allrecipes.com/recipes/15009/desserts/specialty-desserts/liqueur-desserts/orange-liqueur/
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