Grand Marnier Substitute: What Can You Use?

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I adore sipping an orange liqueur when I take it easy on a late afternoon. The taste is fresh, summery, and revitalizing. Nothing captures this more than Grand Marnier. The cognac and bitter orange essence is just magical, if a little costly. 

Sadly, I can’t always find quality orange liqueur like Grand Marnier where I live, so I have to improvise and come up with creative ways to still make my orange-flavored afternoons happen. Here are some of my favorite Grand Marnier substitutes.

Substitute the orange flavor of Grand Marnier French liqueur with Triple Sec, Curaçao, orange juice and brandy, and Cointreau, or if you need to replace Grand Marnier in a recipe that calls for the orangey taste, you can use orange essence or orange blossom water.  

When I have a few friends over, I always prefer to use substitutes when mixing cocktails as Grand Marnier is rather expensive for a mixology event (even though the taste is out of this world). 

I have found a few great substitutes that I can reliably use in mixers and to bake up a few orange-summer treats. 

What Is Grand Marnier?

Grand Marnier is an orange-flavored French liqueur that is made by mixing cognac with orange essence (usually in the form of orange brandy). 

This flavorful liqueur can be used in many different cocktails and mixers like a cosmopolitan and a margarita. 

It can also be used in recipes that call for the bittersweet taste in baked goods. 

6 Best Grand Marnier Substitutes

Depending on what you are using the Grand Marnier for, you may want to use an alcoholic substitution or a non-alcoholic substitution. 

My sister is currently pregnant, and she doesn’t want to drink at all, so when we visit, I make her a cooler with a non-alcoholic substitute of Grand Marnier. 

But here are the best Grand Marnier substitutes and how to use them. 

Alcoholic Substitutes for Grand Marnier

1. Triple Sec 

If you want a drier version of Grand Marnier, then Triple Sec is what will work best. 

Triple Sec is also from France and is also a citrus liqueur. Unlike Grand Marnier that’s made from orange essence and cognac, Triple Sec is made from distilled citrus peel. 

Substitute Grand Marnier with equal parts Triple Sec for a great flavor substitution. 

2. Curaçao

If you want an authentically Caribbean substitution, substituting Grand Marnier for Curaçao works well. 

Curaçao is a liqueur from the island of Curaçao and is made with laraha citrus fruit for a slightly more bitter orange taste. 

While Curaçao has a slightly stronger taste, it’s got the same level of sweetness as Grand Marnier, so you can substitute it in equal measure.

3. Orange Juice and Brandy

Mixing equal parts brandy with orange juice is perhaps one of the first cocktails of the early 1900s. 

The flavor achieved is very similar to Grand Marnier, and as a bonus, you won’t get as fuzzled with orange juice and brandy as you do with Grand Marnier (which has a higher alcohol content). 

To match the flavor profile, substitute Grand Marnier in equal parts with orange juice and brandy. 

4. Cointreau

Cointreau is a type of triple sec, but it is sweeter than Grand Marnier, so if you want to use it in your mixology efforts, don’t overdo it. 

I like to work on a ¾ principle when I substitute with Cointreau. So for every tot of Grand Marnier, I use a ¾ tot of Cointreau instead. 

Non-Alcoholic Substitutes for Grand Marnier

5. Orange Essence 

For baked goods, Grand Marnier is often added to boost the flavor with a sharp hint of orange. 

However, you can easily achieve this with a few drops of orange essence extract. Orange extract is created by distilling the oils from orange rind and creating a very concentrated form of orange juice. 

Orange extract is much more intense in its orange taste, so don’t do an equal substitution. 

Instead, replace a tablespoon of Grand Marnier with 1-2 drops of orange essence. 

6. Orange Blossom Water

Orange blossoms are also infused with the flavor of the orange fruit. These are distilled in water (it creates neroli essential oil), which has a milder and slightly more floral note than orange extract. 

Use orange blossom water in non-alcoholic mixers and mocktails as well as baked goods where a subtle flavor is needed when you replace Grand Marnier. 

What Can I Use Instead of Grand Marnier?

If you can’t find Grand Marnier, you can replace it with Curaçao, Triple Sec, Cointreau, orange juice and brandy, orange blossom water, and orange essence. 

Since Grand Marnier has a deep orange taste, you can replace it with orange essence in some baked goods, though take care to adjust your sugar content accordingly. 

What Is the Same as Grand Marnier?

There are several alcoholic substitutes for Grand Marnier. The closest is Triple Sec, which has a similar orange flavor, though Triple Sec has a sweeter taste than Grand Marnier. 

You can also use Curaçao to substitute Grand Marnier, though you’d be getting a slightly more bitter taste as Curaçao is made from laraha citrus fruit and not the orange rind. 

Is There a Cheaper Version of Grand Marnier? 

Depending on how you want to use Grand Marnier, you can get away with a few cheaper options. 

For drinks, a straight substitution of orange juice and brandy works well. Triple Sec also offers a more affordable solution. 

Baked goods that call for Grand Marnier can be made more cost-effectively by using orange essence instead of Grand Marnier. 

My Last Foodie Thoughts 

While I’d always choose to use Grand Marnier in my cocktails, instead of a “close to” solution, there are many alternatives to this classic French orange-flavored liqueur. 

Cost-wise, Grand Marnier isn’t always the most affordable option, even if it rolls off the tongue when you slowly sip it at sunset. 

So to cover all eventualities, I always keep a few bottles of Triple Sec or Curaçao on hand to tide me over until I can source some Grand Marnier again. 

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