Do you need a strong orange flavor in a recipe but there’s no Grand Marnier on hand? You may already have a Grand Marnier Substitute right now. See our list below.
Grand Marnier is an alcoholic, Cognac-based liqueur that has a strong orange taste.
Since it’s made from cognac, it can be easy to find replacements for Grand Marnier!
The Grand Marnier originated in France and was created by Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle in 1880.
Jean Baptiste Lapostolle also built the first distillery in 1827.
Due to its primary ingredients, bitter orange, vanilla, and oak, this liquor is used in mixed drinks and recipes.
It has high-profile flavors, which are excellent for classic cocktails, desserts, and marinade.
Although it has a higher ABV content of 40 percent, the alcohol content evaporates during cooking.
Of course, you may also drink the Grand Marnier neat, and it’s easy on the palate while the alcohol runs smoothly across your tongue.
But if you prefer to use Grand Marnier as a base for cocktails or recipes, it can be a bit pricier.
So if you want to know what you can use as a Grand Marnier substitute, scroll until the end, and we’ll give you a comprehensive list and how to use each substitute.
Grand Marnier has the acidic and pungent bite inherent to all alcoholic beverages, as well as strong, bitter-orange, and sweet flavors layered with the brandy notes of Cognac.
As mentioned, it’s a cognac-based orange liqueur with vanilla bean, orange zest, and burnt orange.
Grand Marnier creates a concentrated and structured palate due to its high-proof and punchy flavors.
Using Grand Marnier as a base for cocktails offers a potent, layered flavor that is unrivaled but it’s pricey.
So, you can find a Grand Marnier substitute at the liquor store and even at the grocery store, and we’ve compiled a list here.
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How is Grand Marnier used?
It’s a liqueur enjoyed as an alcoholic beverage, mixed into flavored cocktails, and as a cooking ingredient. More specifically, Grand Marnier is delicious in three different ways:
Grand Marnier can be consumed neat.
Neat means drinking it without a mixer, ice or water.
Another way is to drink Grand Marnier as a digestif, a drink that comes after a meal.
It’s the opposite of an aperitif, which means a drink that comes before a meal.
A popular way of using Grand Marnier is mixing it into popular and classic cocktails like Margarita, Sangria, Cosmopolitan, B-52, and Sidecar.
Finally, Grand Marnier can be used in food.
It’s a favorite for flambé dishes like soufflé, crème brûlée, or crêpes Suzette.
It can also be used as a marinade for any roasted meat like duck or sauce like cranberry sauce because of its unique citrusy sweetness.
Easy recipe tip: Get an instant “orangesicle” vibe when you drizzle Grand Marnier over vanilla ice cream.
6 Grand Marnier Alternatives
Grand Marnier is an orange-flavored, very sweet liqueur found globally that offers versatility in both cocktails and recipes.
Here, we list the substitutes for Grand Marnier and how to use them.
1. Triple Sec
Use the same amount of Triple Sec as called for with Grand Marnier, a 1:1 ratio.
Triple sec’s flavor is bitter and sweet due to the combination of both sweet and bitter orange distillate.
Unlike the Grand Marnier, which is a dark amber color, triple sec is a colorless liquor, perfect for colorless cocktails.
Triple sec is also drier than the Grand Marnier, and you’ll taste this when drinking triple sec on its own.
Use triple sec for classic cocktails such as a Cosmo, Sidecar, or Kamikaze.
Additionally, you can replace Grand Marnier with triple sec for stews and desserts and in sauces and glazes.
Use the same amount of Cointreau as what’s called for with Grand Marnier, a 1:1 ratio.
Cointreau is another excellent Grand Marnier substitute due to its similar ABV content, which is 40 percent.
Cointreau is also a sweet liquor, but generally not as sweet as triple sec.
It’s another orange-flavored liqueur distilled from sugar beets.
Due to its similar alcohol content to Grand Marnier, Cointreau can be used for cocktails like margaritas and cosmopolitans.
If you’re looking for another sweet replacement for your recipes, Cointreau is an excellent choice.
It blends well with dark chocolate, cranberries, vanilla, and orange-flavored cakes.
Some examples of desserts that you can use with Cointreau are pot de crème, chocolate mousse, tiramisu, pie, or crème anglaise.
3. Cognac Brandy
Use the same amount of Cognac brandy as what’s called for with Grand Marnier, a 1:1 ratio.
Cognac is what Grand Marnier is based on.
Similarly, Cognac brandy offers citrusy flavors with notes of spices and vanilla.
So if you’re looking for a Grand Marnier substitute with a hint of orange flavor, then Cognac brandy is another alternative.
Grand Marnier has a more pungent aftertaste than Cognac brandy, but this will add a brandy flavor the is reminiscent of it.
A combination of brandy and an orange extract may become your go-to alternative to Grand Marnier. (See notes below on orange extract.)
Use the same amount of orange curaçao as what’s called for with Grand Marnier, a 1:1 ratio.
Curaçao is deemed the “original” orange liqueur, and you’ll find that there are wide varieties to choose from.
However, if you want to achieve the flavor of Grand Marnier, stick to orange flavored curaçao.
Compared to Grand Marnier, it has an orange flavor sans the body and very strong finish.
This may best be combined with orange or a lemon garnish if you want to drink it as is to get that familiar Grand Marnier flavor.
5. Orange Juice
– If you are replacing Grand Marnier with straight, pulp-free orange juice, use twice the amount of OJ as called for with the Grand Marnier.
– If you are replacing Grand Marnier with an orange simple syrup, use a 1:1 ratio, the same amount as Grand Marnier called for in the recipe.
Another alternative for cooking without Grand Marnier is regular orange juice.
Use orange juice for your marinade, sauces, glaze, or even orange chicken like you would when using Grand Marnier.
However, orange juice is a one-dimensional flavor that’s very sweet.
You may want to cook it down to remove some of the water so it approaches a simple syrup in consistency.
6. Orange Extract & Fiori di Sicilia
Use two drops of orange extract or Fiori di Sicilia for every 1 T of Grand Marnier used in cooking and baking.
Orange extract is a good option to replace Grand Marnier.
Due to its strong orange flavor, you only need a few drops to achieve a strong orange profile.
Also, Fiori di Sicilia is a fragrant combination of citrus and vanilla that adds a subtle flavor that may replicate Grand Marnier’s layered flavor really well in your next cocktails and baking.
What are the varieties of Grand Marnier?
Grand Marnier is a liquor brand that created five varieties of alcohol, each with its own distinct taste.
1. Cordon Rouge
The Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge is the brand’s best-selling alcohol.
It’s also called “Red Ribbon,” and is the original Grand Marnier liquor.
The Cordon Rouge may be consumed neat or used for both mixed drinks and desserts.
Some of its signature series include natural cherry, a blend of Dominican and Haitian oranges, and Griotte cherries from Europe.
And the raspberry peach comprises a combination of rare Ardeche red peaches and European raspberries.
2. Cordon Jaune
Unlike the Cordon Rouge, the Cordon Jaune or “Yellow Ribbon” is not made with Cognac.
However, neutral grain spirit is Cordon Jaune’s primary base.
3. Cuvée du Centenaire
Touted as the Centennial Edition, the Cuvée du Centenaire was created and released in 1927 to commemorate the brand’s centennial anniversary.
This was also released in limited quantities.
Unlike the Cordon Jaune, the Cuvée du Centenaire is made with 25-year-old cognacs and is typically consumed in a neat glass.
4. Cuvée Spéciale Cent Cinquantenaire
When it came to the brand’s 150th anniversary, they released the Special Sesquicentennial Edition to honor it.
Out of all the other Grand Marnier liquor varieties, this is the most expensive, and for a good reason.
It consists of 50-year-old fine cognacs contained in a frosted glass bottle, which had hand-painted Art Nouveau designs.
The brand knew how expensive this bottle was and put it in their marketing slogan in 2005.
It said, “prohibitively expensive.”
5. Cuvée Louis-Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle
This last variety of Grand Marnier pays homage to the founder Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle,
It’s made with 82 percent cognac and 18 percent orange liquor.
This type fills your palate with an intense macerated citrus flavor, combined with mild cognac flavors, and finishes with essences of pine and Earl Grey tea.
The bottom line
These Grand Marnier substitutes bring the flavors closer to the original liqueur.
When you use one of these alternatives, you may not even tell the difference, provided that the proper ratio is followed.
Think about what kind of cocktail or dish you want to achieve, so you’ll determine if the taste leans more towards the orangey or sweet side of Grand Marnier.
- 2 drops of Fiori di Sicilia for every T of Grand Marnier called for in a cocktail or baking recipe
- Replace every T of Grand Marnier with 2 drops of Fiori di Sicilia in your recipe.