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Substitute for Orange Curacao: 12 Best Alternatives (2024)

Substitute for Orange Curacao 

Last Updated on March 8, 2024 by Lydia Martin

The addition of Orange Curacao makes a variety of drinks taste better and can be a crucial ingredient in many recipes, like Mai Tai and Margaritas. 

However, finding Orange Curacao in stores can be tricky so, this makes a substitute for Orange Curacao come in handy. 

If you can’t find a bottle or don’t have the budget yet to purchase one, here are the best substitutes for Orange Curacao you can try. 

Top 12 Alternatives for Orange Curacao 

12. Gran Gala

Bottle of Gran Gala and a Glass

You can use Gran Gala to replace Orange Curacao in almost any type of cocktail. Its aroma and taste always complement any drink. 

This brandy-base drink, with an orange flavor, was originally made in Italy and has gained popularity in other parts of the world. 

If you’re a fan of Gran Gala, this makes a great Orange Curacao substitute in a 1:1 ratio. Its alcohol content is 40% ABV, making the cocktail stronger.

Quick Fact: Gran Gala is made of VSOP Italian brandy and three variations of oranges. The Sazerac Company owns it.  

11. Orange Juice 

Pouring Orange Juice on a Glass

If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic Orange Curacao substitute, we recommend using orange juice. 

If you’re planning on making a non-alcoholic drink, such as a mocktail, orange juice is the way to go.

For those who prefer a more orange flavor, use the orange extract or orange zest. 

The citrus flavor and fresh orange smell are an excellent alternative for Orange Curacao, and you don’t have to go to a liquor store to get OJ.

You can use fresh oranges for a real orange taste.  

10. Mimosa

Pouring Mimosa on a Glasses

If you can’t seem to find the perfect orange liqueur to enjoy or replace Orange Curacao with, then Mimosa is the way to go. 

It’s an orange cocktail with a citrus taste and sweet flavor, made with champagne, a neutral spirit. 

You can make your own mimosa by adding 1 oz orange juice to 1 oz champagne. Then, replace Orange Curacao with a mimosa in your drink using the same ratio. 

9. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao

Pouring Bottle of Ferrand Dry Curacao on a Jigger

Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao is a classic French beverage— Triple Sec, based on a 19th-century recipe.

If you’re into classics, this is an excellent sub to your usual Orange Curacao, among other orange liqueurs.  

It has a strong orange flavor, dried peels, and candied oranges scent, with a balanced blend of ingredients that’ll add a new dimension to your favorite cocktail recipes

Also, this is one of those substitutes for Orange Curacao; we also recommend drinking over ice or straight up. 

8. Cointreau L’Unique

Pouring Bottle of Cointreau L'Unique on a Jigger

If you want your drink to be aromatic, we suggest replacing Orange Curacao with Cointreau L’Unique. The deep amber color and the orange scent of this orange-flavored liqueur are enticing. 

“I have passionately thrown myself into researching this liqueur. I wanted it to have the purity of crystal and a delicately subtle flavor thanks to the perfect harmony of sweet and bitter orange peels.”

– Edouard Cointreau, Founder 

The essence of dried orange peels is evident with a strong citrus flavor. We get some hints of bitter orange flavor here, but it tastes excellent with cocktails like the Classic Margarita and Cosmo. 

We use it as a substitute for Orange Curacao, Triple Sec, and Grand Marnier with the same ratio.

Also, we suggest you try adding some freshly squeezed orange juice to enhance the flavor.   

7. Garibaldi

Garibaldi Cocktail Glass Drink

Garibaldi is an excellent alternative to the Orange Curacao liqueur, which is made with Campari and orange juice. 

As it contains neutral alcohol (from Campari), it will not impart a very deep flavor, allowing you to maintain your drink’s exact flavor. 

To make Garibaldi at home is simple: combine equal parts of Campari and orange juice in a glass.

Add in some ice and let it foam up. Lastly, top it with your preferred orange liqueur. 

6. Aurum

Bottle of Aurum Liqueur

Aurum is another brandy base liqueur with an orange flavor and orange tint.

However, it contains saffron to get its deep orange color, it’s aged before bottling, so it has improved deep flavor. 

Aurum’s smooth and sweet flavor, with an orange aroma, surely dominates the cocktail, specifically in desserts and ice creams.

Interestingly, it’s pretty good on its own, too. 

When replacing Orange Curaçao with Aurum, use the same ratio. Mind you – this alternative has 40% ABV, so it can strengthen your drink. 

5. Picon

Picon is a French orange-flavored liqueur with a bitter-sweet taste, best to mix with beer.

As it is made from a neutral spirit, caramel, spices, and herbs, it delivers a fantastic flavor.

This French liqueur contains cinchona bark, gentian root, and orange zest. This creates Picon’s rich flavor making it one of the tastiest Orange Curacao substitutes among other orange liqueurs.

When replacing Orange Curacao with this Frech beverage, you decide how much you want to add– no ratio restrictions or measuring; it’s all about your preference.   

4. Triple Sec

Close Up Shot of De Kuyper Triple Sec Bottle

Triple Sec is a clear orange liqueur– a widely used substitute for Orange Curacao.

Many brands make Triple Sec, but the flavors resemble the original French beverage. 

Since this orange-flavored liqueur comes in a transparent color, don’t worry about changing the look of your drink.

Use the same ratio for Orange Curaçao and Triple Sec, but the flavor may vary as Triple Sec has a strong orange flavor. 

Overall, the citrusy flavor with bitter oranges and orange bloom aromas pairs well in many cocktail recipes.

Read: Triple Sec & Simple Syrup Comparison

3. Blue Curacao

blue curacao syrup on a bowl

One of the best substitutes for Orange Curacao is Blue Curaçao, another Curacao liqueur with a clear color. However, the blue hue is a result of the artificial colorant. 

Its flavor is close to the Laraha citrus grown on Curacao Island. But similar to Orange Curacao, this Blue Curacao has the right orange flavor notes.   

You can substitute Orange Curacao with Blue Curaçao on a 1:1 ratio. And take note, Blue Curacao may bring a slight change of appearance to your drink due to its color.

Interesting Fact: Due to the natural clarity of the liquor, the producers of Blue Curacao decided to add a vibrant blue color to the drink to create an exotic and easily recognizable brand. 

2. Apple Brandy

3 Different Brands of Apple Brandy 

This substitute for Orange Curacao is not an orange-based liqueur, so it gives your drink a distinct flavor. 

No fresh orange infusion in this fruit liqueur as Apple brandy [1] is usually made with unsweetened apple concentrate. 

While it can’t give the orange peels, still, it’s one of the best Orange Curacao substitutes due to its sweet and bitter flavor, just like the Curacao liqueur. 

1. Grand Marnier

Bottle of Grand Marnier Liqueur

Grand Marnier and Orange Curacao have distinct flavors, yet they deliver the same objective in cocktails. But Grand Marnier has an intense orange flavor compared to Orange Curacao.  

Grand Marnier is made from dried Curaçao orange peels and other citrus fruits, so it has a specific orange-gold shade. 

Its unique orange flavor from the dried Curaçao orange peels makes for an excellent substitute for Orange Curacao in a variety of drinks using the same ratio. 

Did You Know? The orange notes of Grand Marnier’s products come from the Caribbean’s Citrus Bigaradia, also known as Seville oranges.

What Flavor is in Orange Curacao? 

Orange Curacao is an orange drink with a bitter and sweet flavor. The sweet essence of orange is complemented by the bitter orange peels that are popular in cocktails.

Interesting Fact: Unlike Champagne or cognac, which are protected by law, Orange Curacao is not. It must be produced in the region where it came from– the Island of Curacao.  

The color is enticing, and the flavor is refreshing.

Orange Curacao competes with the flavors of Grand Marnier and Triple Sec, which are orange liqueurs as well, made from neutral spirits. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What can you make with Orange Curacao substitutes?

You can make different drinks using Orange Curacao substitutes, such as Blue Lagoon, Bitter Mai Tai, Bossa Nova, Apricot Lady, Cable Car, etc. 

What can I use instead of Orange Curacao in Mai Tai?

 You can use Grand Marnier, Triple Sec, and Cointreau in Mai Tai as a replacement for Orange Curacao. 

What if you don’t have orange liqueur for Margarita? 

If you don’t have orange liqueur for Margarita, you can use fresh orange juice or orange juice concentrate.  

What is the closest thing to orange curacao?

Triple sec is often considered the closest substitute for orange curaçao. Both are orange-flavored liqueurs, sharing a similar citrusy profile, and can be used interchangeably in many cocktails. Triple sec, like orange curaçao, adds sweetness and orange essence to drinks, making it a versatile alternative.

Is orange curaçao the same as Cointreau?

While both orange curaçao and Cointreau are orange-flavored liqueurs, they have differences in their production and flavor profiles. Cointreau is a clear, higher-proof triple sec made from a blend of sweet and bitter orange peels.

On the other hand, orange curaçao can vary in color and sweetness, and it often has a slightly different combination of orange peel flavors.

While they can be used interchangeably in some recipes, the nuanced distinctions might influence the final taste of a cocktail.

What can I substitute for orange curaçao in a Mai Tai?

If you don’t have orange curaçao, triple sec is a suitable substitute in a Mai Tai. Another option is using Grand Marnier, an orange-flavored liqueur with a cognac base, which adds a unique depth to the cocktail.

Adjusting the sweetness levels based on personal preference can help tailor the Mai Tai to your taste when substituting for orange curaçao.

What is a substitute for Curacao alcohol?

A suitable substitute for curaçao alcohol is orange-flavored liqueurs like triple sec or Cointreau. These alternatives can provide a similar citrusy flavor profile and sweetness to recipes that call for curaçao.

Depending on the specific cocktail, adjusting the sugar content may be necessary to achieve the desired balance when using a substitute.

What flavor is orange curaçao?

Orange curaçao is a citrus-flavored liqueur made from the dried peels of bitter and sweet oranges. It has a distinct orange aroma and flavor, with a balance of sweetness and a hint of bitterness from the orange peels.

The liqueur can range in color from clear to vibrant orange and is often used to add depth and complexity to cocktails, enhancing the overall citrus profile with its unique combination of sweet and bitter orange notes.

Is Triple Sec like orange curacao?

Triple Sec and orange curaçao share similarities as both are orange-flavored liqueurs, but there are distinctions in their production methods and flavor profiles.

Triple Sec is a broad category of orange-flavored liqueur that can vary in sweetness and quality, while orange curaçao, historically associated with the island of Curaçao, often has a more complex and nuanced flavor due to the use of bitter orange peels.

Can I use triple sec instead of Cointreau?

Yes, you can use triple sec as a substitute for Cointreau in many cocktails. While both are orange-flavored liqueurs, they differ in terms of sweetness and complexity.

Cointreau is a premium triple sec, known for its clear and crisp orange flavor with a balanced sweetness, making it a preferred choice in certain cocktails.

However, in many recipes, a well-made triple sec can be a suitable substitute if you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option.

Should I use triple sec or Cointreau?

Whether to use triple sec or Cointreau depends on your preferences and the specific cocktail you’re making. Cointreau, being a premium triple sec, is known for its high-quality and well-balanced orange flavor with a clear, crisp profile. If the cocktail recipe calls for a more refined and less sweet orange liqueur.

Cointreau is often the preferred choice. On the other hand, triple sec, with its variations in sweetness and quality, can be a suitable substitute in many cases and is often chosen for its affordability.

What can you substitute for orange liqueur?

If you’re looking to substitute orange liqueur in a recipe, alternatives like triple sec, Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or even orange-flavored brandy can be used based on your preference and the specific flavor profile you desire.

Each of these options may bring its own nuances to the recipe, so it’s recommended to choose based on the desired taste and the context of the cocktail or dish.

What is orange curaçao used for?

Orange curaçao is a versatile orange-flavored liqueur used in various cocktails, adding a citrusy and slightly bitter note. It is a key ingredient in classic cocktails like the Mai Tai, Margarita, and Sidecar.

Orange curaçao can also be used in dessert recipes, marinades, and sauces to enhance the flavor profile with its sweet and tangy notes.

Its flexibility and distinctive orange character make it a popular choice for mixologists and home bartenders alike.

Final Verdict: Substitute for Orange Curacao

Now you know the alternatives for Orange Curacao to make your own drinks without having to skip your favorite liqueur. 

While Triple Sec is a great and commonly used alternative, there are more options you can use to replace Orange Curacao. Grand Marnier and Blue Curacao are our favorites.

But, of course, you can choose your own– from Gran Gala to Aurum to Apple brandy, all are equally good and can make any drink refreshing and savory.  


  1. Brandy alcoholic beverage
  2. Triple Sec, Cointreau, and Grand Marnier: Here’s What Makes These Orange Liqueurs Different
  3. 11 Refreshing Facts About Margaritas
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