10 Best Grand Marnier Substitutes

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Grand Marnier is a world-renowned cognac that has a wide range of applications. It is truly unique and, in many cases, irreplaceable. 

It has been designed in such a way that it is a category on its own. Infused with a strong bitter and sweet orange flavor, the Grand Marnier cognac combines the sweetness of the grapes used to make the cognac and the fruitiness and freshness of the orange. 

The Grand Marnier cognac is indeed a unique drink, made with particular attention and care. It is essentially a brandy infused with the essence of green oranges. It has a deep orange color and a sweet, fruity, refreshing, and floral flavor. 


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It retains the traces characteristic of the cognac category, such as the warmth, the slight burn, the floral aroma, and the vanilla notes. Still, it also includes the fresh sweetness of the orange, the bitterness, and the zest. 

Being so versatile and so flavorful, Grand Marnier is a perfect addition to many cocktails that call for cognac in general and also cocktails that include orange flavors. However, you can also have it neat or on the rocks since it is a cocktail in itself. 

Priced at about $30 per 750 ml. bottle, Grand Marnier is not out of reach for wide consumption. Therefore, in addition to being the mixologist’s favorite, it is a frequent visitor in the everyday households for its known use in cooking. 

There are many meal recipes calling for Grand Marnier, especially in the baking department. Just a few drops of Grand Marnier in the batter or dough can make all the difference in the world for your dessert. 

Although the cocktails you make with Grand Marnier are exceptionally delicious, you can also use a Grand Marnier substitute in case you are in the mood for such a cocktail but you lack the Grand Marnier. 

So what are some Grand Marnier substitutes? 

When you decide to substitute Grand Marnier for another ingredient, you should have a clear idea of what you want to achieve. The key is knowing what Grand Marnier brings to the table so that you know what to look for in the substitute. 

If you are substituting for Grand Marnier in a cocktail, do you substitute the taste or the alcoholic content? Or, in baking, do you substitute the aroma and flavor of the Grand Marnier, or are you just substituting for the alcoholic whiff?

Since the predominant flavor of Grand Marnier is the expressive orange note, whether you substitute it for cocktails or cooking, you need to find an ingredient that delivers that taste and incorporate it in the process accordingly. 

In the following article, I will give you some ideas on how to substitute for Grand Marnier in cocktails and throw an idea or two about Grand Marnier substitution in baking and cooking in general. 

1. Cognac/ Brandy 

CognacThe most obvious substitute for Grand Marnier cognac is cognac or brandy. Even though your cocktail won’t taste the same without Grand Marnier, it will still have the charm and essence of the Grand Marnier, as it will carry the cognac core. 

If you are looking to substitute only for the alcohol, without any interest in the flavor, all brandy/cognac brands will do nicely as a Grand Marnier substitute. However, if you want to substitute for the flavor, you will have to add some orange slices or orange-flavored syrup to the mix to make up for the taste. 

When used in food, the Grand Marnier’s sole purpose is to envelop the dish in its recognizable orange flavors. So, if you use another brandy or cognac aiming to get the Grand Marnier seal on your food, you need to add some orange zest or drop a few drops of orange juice. If you substitute Grand Marnier for another cognac or brandy in cooking or baking, it won’t affect the process itself, but you will need to add some orange zest to make up for the taste. 

2. Orange Liqueur 


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Orange liqueur is an exceptionally suitable Grand Marnier substitute for cocktails. You get the alcohol, and you get the orange flavor. Still, you will miss the cognac essence only Grand Marnier can provide, but still, you will be getting as close as possible to the original flavor. 

However, be prepared for your orange liqueur cocktail to taste sweeter and have a higher viscosity than your Grand Marnier cocktail, which isn’t a problem, but it is a difference. If you don’t want your cocktail to turn out too sweet, reduce the amount of orange liqueur and increase the amount of the rest of the cocktail ingredients. 

Still, when you are substituting and adjusting cocktail ingredients, you need to know what you are doing. Often, a cocktail contains several types of alcohol, so increasing the alcohol content could get tricky. Therefore start slowly, drop by drop, mix, taste, and adjust again. 

3. Cointreau


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Cointreau is probably the best Grand Marnier substitute. Same in texture, containing the recognizable citrus freshness of the Grand Marnier, with the same alcohol content as the Grand Marnier, it doubles excellent for Grand Marnier in cocktails. 

You can use it exactly as you would use Grand Marnier, as it results in differences so slight that only the best-trained palate will notice. 

Moreover, Cointreau works excellently as a Grand Marnier substitute in baked goods too. 

4. Orange Extract 

Orange Extract Orange extract is an excellent substitute for Grand Marnier, especially in baking. Since you don’t use Grand Marnier in your food for the alcohol but for the flavor, the orange extract will do just fine if you don’t have Grand Marnier handy. 

However, the orange extract will not deliver precisely what Grand Marnier offers, but it will give you the orange flavor you need. Be careful when using orange extract instead of Grand Marnier for baking, as you will need a smaller amount. Using the same quantity of orange extract as Grand Marnier could overwhelm the baked good. 

For cocktails, using orange extract instead of Grand Marnier is neither here nor there. You will make up for the orange flavor, but not for the alcohol. Your cocktail will taste fruity, but it can be too intense. 

When using orange extract as a substitute for Grand Marnier in a cocktail, it is best to combine it with another brandy or cognac. This way, you will somewhat copy the alcoholic whiff and the orange flavor of the Grand Marnier. Again, be very careful regarding the dosage of the orange extract; only a drop will do nicely. 

5. Orange Juice Concentrate 


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Orange juice concentrate works great in Grand Marnier cocktails containing other alcohols, whereas Grand Marnier only provides the flavor. If the Grand Marnier is the main alcoholic ingredient, you should combine the orange juice concentrate with another brandy or cognac to get the flavor. 

Since it is concentrated, the orange flavor is very strong, so dilute it in water before using it. The orange concentrate is stronger in taste than Grand Marnier, but it has an advantage over the other substitutes because it has a similar texture. Although you will dilute it in water, the texture will remain. 

Overall, orange juice concentrate is a very good substitute for Grand Marnier for cocktails. 

6. Orange Juice 

Orange juiceIf push comes to shove, and you don’t have anything other than oranges in your fridge, you can use orange juice as a substitute for Grand Marnier. Orange juice works better when substituting for Grand Marnier for cooking or baking, but with a little effort, it could work in a cocktail too. 

The natural citrus freshness and sweet sourness of the orange juice will do nicely, substituting for these features of the Grand Marnier. However, you will have to think of a solution of the Grand Marnier is the main alcoholic component in your cocktail. 

This is solvable, so just add some brandy or cognac to your cocktail to make up for the alcoholic content. If the Grand Marnier is purely for taste, then squeeze the orange and maybe throw in an orange wheel in the glass. 

7. Orange Flavored Water 


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The main thing you need to know about this substitute is that orange-flavored water doesn’t just happen, but you need to plan a little ahead. To make the orange-flavored water, you need to put orange pieces in the water and let them release the flavors gradually. Don’t squeeze an orange in water, as that is not what this is about. 

On the downside, orange-flavored water is not too expressive in taste, so you may want to drop a few drops of orange extract in the water. On the upside, orange-flavored water works excellently as a Grand Marnier substitute in baking, as you can substitute regular water and Grand Marnier with orange-flavored water. 

For cocktails, you should use orange-flavored water as a Grand Marnier substitute only if like milder-tasting cocktails, as the water will dilute the rest of the cocktail ingredients, even the alcoholic ones. The cocktail made with orange-flavored water instead of Grand Marnier is gentler in taste and thinner in texture but still delicious. 

8. Triple Sec


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Triple sec is one of the best substitutes for Grand Marnier for cocktails. It is an orange-flavored liqueur that is a very common ingredient in cocktails, so feel free to use it instead of Grand Marnier and expect great results. 

Even though Triple Sec is stronger in alcohol flavor than orange, which is not the case with Grand Marnier, it still does a great job substituting for it in cocktails. You can combine triple sec with orange juice or orange extract to up the orange flavors in your cocktail. 

9. Orange Curacao

Orange CuracaoOrange curacao is a common cocktail ingredient as it is, so it is no wonder that it works great as a Grand Marnier substitute. It is sweet, high in viscosity, with an expressive orange flavor. However, the orange flavor of the orange curacao is not the same as in the Grand Marnier. 

While the Grand Marnier has that irresistible citrus freshness, the orange curacao lacks the fresh notes of the Grand Marnier, and it has a more intense alcoholic flavor. Still, it does nicely as a Grand Marnier substitute in cocktails, as the other cocktail ingredients mask what is too intense in the orange curacao and bring out what is more discrete. 

More: 10 Best Orange Curacao Substitutes

10. Orange Flavored Vodka  


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Orange-flavored vodka is a good substitute for Grand Marnier, though it shouldn’t be your first choice because of the artificial colors. Most orange-flavored vodkas have artificial colors, so see that you get a translucent vodka tasting like orange. 

The orange-flavored vodka with no artificial colors are more expensive but work better than the cheaper artificially-colored kinds. Also, an excellent orange-flavored vodka has the recognizable citrus freshness of the Grand Marnier. 

Can I Use Triple Sec Instead of Grand Marnier? 

You can use triple sec instead of Grand Marnier for cocktails. However, don’t expect the same taste, as Grand Marnier is a cognac and triple sec is commonly spirit grain based. Whereas you can sip Grand Marnier slowly enjoying it, triple sec is mostly used for cocktails and it isn’t intended to be sipped slowly. 

Therefore, using triple sec instead of Grand Marnier will result in a sharper cocktail. The alcohol content in triple sec varies from 20% to 40%, while in Grand Marnier, it is a flat 40%. However, even the milder triple sec can taste sharper than Grand Marnier. 

Is Grand Marnier the Same as Brandy? 

Grand Marnier is a cognac which is a brandy made in the Cognac region in France. Therefore, it is brandy, but it isn’t the same as brandy. While brandy is a typically fruity drink made from grapes, with intense floral, fruity, and vanilla notes, the dominating flavor in Grand Marnier is orange. 

Also, Grand Marnier ages from six to eight months, which is shorter than the typical brandy maturation process. Nevertheless, there are Grand Marnier varieties that age longer. Still, due to its particularities, Grand Marnier is not the same as brandy, though it falls in the brandy category. 

What Else Tastes Like Grand Marnier? 

There are some products that taste similar to Grand Mariner, such as orange juice, orange concentrate, triple sec, orange-flavored vodka or orange-flavored water, Cointreau, or orange liqueur. 

What Is the Same as Grand Marnier? 

Grand Marnier is a unique drink, and even though it falls under the cognac category, many would argue that it is a separate drink category in itself. Therefore, saying that something tastes the same as Grand Marnier would be inaccurate as there is nothing that tastes the same as it. 

Nevertheless, Cointreau is the most similar drink to and the best substitute for Grand Marnier. Cointreau is a premium French orange liqueur that has the same alcohol content as Grand Marnier. It has a very similar texture and viscosity as Grand Marnier, as well as the same citrus freshness. 

Cointreau is the best substitute for Grand Marnier also because you don’t have to make any adjustments to the quantity, as the exact quantities apply to both. It goes without saying that Cointreau works perfectly as a Grand Marnier substitute for cocktails. 

However, the added bonus is that you can also use Cointreau instead of Grand Marnier for baking and cooking. 

Is Grand Marnier and Triple Sec Instead the Same? 

No, triple sec and Grand Marnier are not the same. While Grand Marnier is a type of cognac made predominantly of grapes, triple sec is spirit based, mostly made of sugar or grains. So, from the get-go, Grand Marnier and triple sec are different in terms of the base ingredients. 

Triple sec and Grand Marnier are different in color too. Grand Marnier has a deeper, darker color, while triple sec is usually clear. 

Although both triple sec and Grand Marnier have the recognizable citrus freshness, triple sec tastes more alcoholic and sharper than Grand Marnier. Grand Marnier is more tender and milder than triple sec. While you can slowly sip Grand Marnier, you have to mix triple sec in a cocktail as that is its primary use. 

Grand Marnier or Cointreau? 

Grand Marnier or Cointreau is a very tough choice. Both are delicious French and premium drinks. Moreover, they are very similar in taste and texture, and they have the same alcohol content, which is 40%. 

You can use the same dosage of both for whatever you need them and use them in the same cocktails or culinary endeavors. Whether you use Cointreau or Grand Marnier depends on what you would prefer. 

Can Cointreau Be Substituted for Grand Marnier?

Yes, you can substitute Cointreau for Grand Marnier anytime. Both have much in common, and therefore, you can switch between them as you like. 


  1. https://www.acouplecooks.com/grand-marnier-substitute/#:~:text=Cognac%20or%20any%20brandy&text=Cognac!,of%20citrus%2C%20vanilla%20and%20spices.
  2. https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/cointreau-vs-triple-sec-vs-grand-marnier/

Chad Smith

Meet Chad Smith, a seasoned bartender with a passion for mixology. He's the founder of Tin Roof Drink Community, a blog where he shares expert tips, creative recipes, and fosters a vibrant community of cocktail enthusiasts and aspiring bartenders. Join Chad as he takes you on a flavorful journey through the world of drinks. Cheers!

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