March 08, 2023 by Anna-Bet Stemmet
Looking for a new Cointreau substitute to add some zest to your cocktails? If you’re keen on discovering some new varieties of orange liqueur, it’s time to mix things up and explore some exciting alternatives. We have 9 delicious substitutes for Cointreau that will elevate your mixology game.
Whether you prefer the bold flavor of Grand Marnier or the light sweetness of triple sec, we’ve got you covered with a range of options that will bring new dimensions of taste and aroma to your drinks. Let’s dive into the wonderful world of orange liqueur.
What is Cointreau?
Cointreau is a well-known orange-flavored liqueur that has been enjoyed by cocktail lovers since the mid-1800s. Crafted from the essence of sweet and bitter oranges combined with alcohol and sugar, it’s an ingredient in numerous popular cocktails, including the Margarita, the Cosmopolitan, and the Sidecar.
The versatility of Cointreau is one of its many strengths; it is often used to enhance the flavor of other ingredients and create a balanced taste in cocktails. Bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts love the liqueur’s sweet and slightly bitter taste and its unmistakable aroma of oranges.
Our Top 9 Best Cointreau Alternatives
The great thing about making and enjoying orange liqueur cocktails at home is that you can play around with different ingredients to make the drink your own. Here are a few replacements for Cointreau that add a slightly different dimension to an orange-flavored cocktail and can also be used as a handy alternative when you don’t have Cointreau on hand.
1. Grand Marnier
Grand Marnier is our top substitute for Cointreau. This luxurious French orange-flavored liqueur boasts a rich history and a refined taste. Made with a blend of aged Cognac brandy, bitter orange essence, and a hint of sugar, it exudes a warm and inviting aroma with hints of vanilla and spice. Whether sipped neat or on the rocks, or used as an ingredient in cocktails and desserts, Grand Marnier is a sophisticated and indulgent treat for any occasion.
You might also like: 12 Cocktails with Orange Liqueur that Zest the Best
2. Triple Sec
Triple sec is a clear, orange-flavored liqueur commonly used as a substitution for Cointreau in cocktails and baking. With its slightly less sweet and lower alcohol content, triple sec is an easily available and affordable alternative to Cointreau.
TOP TIP: Triple sec and Curaçao are types of orange liqueur that can be made by many different brands, while Cointreau and Grand Marnier are proprietary blends.
Curaçao liqueur is a bright blue, orange-flavored liqueur that originated in the Caribbean island of Curaçao. This deeply-hued Cointreau replacement is made by blending dried orange peels with a mix of spices and sweeteners, resulting in a slightly bitter and tangy taste. Curaçao liqueur is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of cocktails and recipes, adding a burst of citrusy flavor and a pretty pop of color.
FUN TIP! When used as a substitute for Cointreau in a Margarita, blue Curaçao makes for a very festive looking Blue Margarita (also sometimes referred to as the Electric Margarita or Moonlight Margarita).
Aperol is a bright orange-hued Italian aperitif known for its refreshing and zesty flavor. Made with a unique blend of bitter and sweet oranges, rhubarb, and other herbs and spices, it exudes a light and lively taste with a gentle bitterness that is balanced by a subtle sweetness. Perfect for sipping on its own or as the star ingredient in a spritz, Aperol is a quintessential cocktail ingredient to have in your drinks collection.
Read next: 20 Aperol Cocktail Recipes to Try Today
Another interesting replacement for Cointreau is Campari. This vibrant red Italian aperitif is revered for its complex and bitter taste. Made from a blend of 68 different herbs and spices, including bitter orange peel, rhubarb, and quinine, it imparts an intense and invigorating flavor with a lingering bitter finish. Whether enjoyed on the rocks or in inventive Campari cocktails, it makes for a bold and distinctive drink that is sure to tantalize the taste buds.
6. Combier Liqueur d’Orange
Combier Liqueur d’Orange is a premium orange-flavored liqueur handcrafted in France using a secret blend of sweet and bitter orange peels. With its vibrant orange color and bold citrusy flavor, this popular Cointreau alternative features in a variety of classic French cocktails and culinary creations.
7. Luxardo Triplum
Luxardo Triplum is a versatile and well-balanced triple sec produced in Italy using a blend of bitter oranges, sweet oranges, and tangerines. With its bright orange color and rich, fruity aroma, it offers a lively and refreshing taste, making it a high-quality and affordable alternative to other triple secs, and a popular choice among mixologists and home bartenders alike.
8. Bols Dry Orange
One of the best Cointreau substitutes on a budget, Bols Dry Orange is a classic Dutch orange liqueur crafted using a unique blend of sweet and bitter oranges and other exotic citrus fruits. With its rich and zesty flavor profile, it provides a bold and delicious burst of citrusy goodness in every sip.
9. Patron Citronge
Patron Citronge is a premium orange liqueur crafted using high-quality citrus sourced from the best regions in Mexico. With its vibrant and zingy flavor profile, it is a versatile ingredient that offers an authentic taste of Mexico (and is a great Cointreau substitute in a Margarita, of course).
Best Cointreau substitutes for baking
But what about baking? Cocktails are one thing – it’s a bit like jazz, and you have some room to riff. Baking, on the other hand, is a science, so it can be tricky to play around with orange liqueurs that may differ ever so slightly but could have a big impact on the outcome of your baked goods.
If you want to play it extra safe in the kitchen, we recommend non-alcoholic Cointreau alternatives like fresh orange juice or orange extract. Use 2-3 tablespoons juice or the zest of an orange to replace 1/4 cup of Cointreau to add a bright, citrusy flavor to your baked goods. Orange extract is a potent concentrated flavoring. One teaspoon of extract is equivalent to one teaspoon of Cointreau, so handle with care
Related recipes to enjoy
Now that you know all these interesting Cointreau substitutes, it’s time to shake up a few cocktails to see what the fuss is about. We recommend: