When you hear the word “Cointreau,” you’re probably thinking, “Woah, nope, too fancy, I don’t have that!”
Don’t worry, we thought the same thing, and it does sound fancy and hard to get in the liquor store. Some of you may even know it and just ran out in the kitchen or grew sick of the taste (hey, it happens).
So, What can you use if you don’t have Cointreau?
Well, just like other kinds of liquors, there are great Cointreau substitutes you can use without having to compromise on flavor and texture.
Please take a look at the best Cointreau alternatives here on our list!
1. Grand Marnier
Grand Marnier is a French liqueur made with cognac, triple sec, and some sugar. Since Grand Marnier contains cognac, it has a sweeter and heavier taste profile with an amber-gold color. However, it’s still the best Cointreau replacements for your recipes.
These two orange liqueurs have a lot in common, which is why you can use them as a good substitute for one another.
Both are orange-flavored and sweetened with natural sugars and have 40% alcohol content or 80 proof. However, Grand Marnier has a stronger and deeper tone with just a hint of oaky sweetness, making it less ideal for Sangria or White Ladies.
You aren’t limited to making beverages with Grand Marnier; you can also create sauces and other delicious dishes. However, you’ll need to add half the amount first when you substitute for Cointreau, adding more until you reach your desired flavor.
2. Triple Sec
Cointreau has a variety of triple sec so that you can use these two interchangeably in cocktail recipes. “Sec” means dry in French, so triple sec literally means triple distilled or triple dry.
Triple sec is a kind of clear liqueur made of brandy, distilled water, and orange peels. Triple is a more neutral spirit than Cointreau, with a lower alcohol content ranging from 20-40%. We love using triple sec to replace Cointreau for margaritas with its strong, mildly bitter, and citrusy flavor.
3. Orange Curacao
The traditional orange curacao is made using a special type of orange too bitter to consume. Then, people discovered sundried peels with a pleasant fragrance added to the sugar brandy base. It’s what created the distinctive spirit we’re aware of today.
There are so many different kinds of curacao, depending on the color. Regardless of color, they all share the same flavor. Curacao is slightly bitter, running on a sweeter side. It has a moderate alcohol content of 15-40%.
4. Luxardo Triplum
Luxardo Triplum is another classic triple sec from Italia, made of three kinds of dried orange peels: mandarins, sweet oranges, and curacao. As a result, you get a perfectly balanced sweet and bitter flavor with a lovely aroma.
But compared to Cointreau, Luxardo Triplum is more mature and on the drier side, with a floral note setting it apart from the rest.
5. Combier Liqueur D’Orange
Many orange liqueurs, such as Combier Liqueur D’Orange, are part of the French heritage. It’s distilled from French sugar beets and orange peels, similar to Cointreau. Combier has a pure and clear character with a bright citrus flavor.
You can use this as a perfect alternative for Cointreau in many classic cocktails and recipes.
The only difference between Combier and Cointreau is that the former has a subtle bitter tinge. When served near, Combier is on the sweeter and semi-dry side.
6. Regular Rum
Regular or spiced rum are great options for playing with as a Cointreau alternative. While it isn’t as orange-y as Cointreau, you’ll enjoy the variety of spices in the drink.
We recommend using it as a substitute for savory dishes and desserts. It’s also very accessible and easy to find without spending a lot.
7. Orange-Flavored Liqueur
Cointreau and other orange-flavored liquors mentioned above may be difficult to find, but there are different types of liquors to use. You can find any other orange-flavored or similar sweet citrus liquor as a substitute. These can be more affordable and found in your local liquor store.
We recommend orange-flavored vodka mixed with a bit of lemon juice and sugar.
8. Patron Citronge
Patron citrange originates from a Mexican distillery and is considered a premium reserve made of dried peels of Jamaican sweet oranges and Haitian bittersweet oranges from a neutral spirit flavored with sugar.
Expect a balanced bittersweet and zesty citrus flavor. It’s great for margaritas and tequila-based beverages. We love its delicate, fruity alcohol that replaces Cointreau well.
Bols is a triple sec drink, making it a great substitute for Cointreau, too. Besides oranges, it has unique flavors, such as hints of cloves and cinnamon. However, it might be too sweet for specific dishes, and it’s more of a full-on intense orange flavor, so take note of this.
We recommend Bols as a flavoring for glazes, marinades, and desserts, along with cocktails like cosmopolitans.
The Best Non-Alcoholic Substitute for Cointreau
If you’re not allowed to take alcohol or consume it for other personal reasons, you can create mocktails and other recipes calling for Cointreau. Here are non-alcoholic alternatives you can try:
10. Orange Juice Concentrate
Orange juice or orange juice concentrate works excellently as the best substitute for Cointreau without alcohol. However, it may take some experimenting to achieve your desired flavor profile. Besides orange juice or concentrate, you can use orange flower water and orange oil.
We recommend reducing it to a syrup before using it in your recipe when using orange juice. The reduction will condense the flavor, making a better Cointreau alternative.
Plus, it’s easy to access, very affordable, and you can make it yourself with fresh oranges at home.
11. Orange Zest
Besides orange juice, you can use orange zest, too. It takes time and effort to get the proper balance, so we recommend experimenting before using it in your recipe. Furthermore, avoid catching the white pith as it can taste very bitter.
12. Orange Extract
You can also use this in savory dishes and desserts, if not cocktails. We love how it can brighten up icing, batters, beverages, and buttercream!
It’s easily accessible and works in a pinch. Just make sure you use one teaspoon of extract for every tablespoon of Cointreau.
Frequently Asked Questions
Don’t worry; we’ve got more in store for you! Learn more about Cointreau and substitute it with our frequently asked questions:
Wrapping It Up
We hope you found the best Cointreau substitute you need for your recipes. Whether using distilled spirits or orange peel, experiment with these ingredients for your dishes.
Happy cooking, and learn more about using different ingredients here in our blog!