As the name suggests, Grand Marnier sounds exceptionally grand and fancy, and for a good reason!
It’s a French invention that’s become one of America’s favorite beverages up to this day.
But with such a grand beverage, expect a slightly high price, being a top-shelf orange liqueur.
I mean, even we can’t afford it all the time, so we get that some of us don’t have bottles of Grand Marnier around.
So, what’s the best Grand Marnier substitute?
We’ve got alternatives for you, so get ready!
- The 4 Best Substitutes For Grand Marnier You Might Not Know!
- The Best Non-Alcoholic Grand Marnier Substitutes
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping It Up
The 4 Best Substitutes For Grand Marnier You Might Not Know!
Grand Marnier is an orange-flavored liqueur many people love for its taste and versatility.
It’s made of cognac brandy, triple sec, bitters, and simple syrup or other sugars.
Don’t panic if you have none of this orange liqueur at home or in the store.
You can always use a Grand Marnier substitute like:
1. Triple Sec: Orange Liqueur
Triple sec is a colorless liqueur flavored with sweet and bitter orange peels. It’s drier than Grand Marnier, as sec translates to dry in French.
When using this orange liqueur as a Grand Marnier substitute, you can do a 1:1 ratio in mocktails like sidecars, cosmos, and kamikaze.
You can also use it in savory dishes like stews or sweet-based sauces and glazes, as well as desserts like cakes, crepes, and creme brulee.
If you want to add more fanciness to your dish and more sweetness, we recommend Cointreau. It’s an orange-flavored liqueur mixed with sugar beets, having 40% ABV.
Because of that, it’s perfect for cocktails like margaritas and cosmopolitan.
You can also use it in sweet desserts, like pie, tiramisu, orange-flavored cakes, and creme brulee.
Even just a teaspoon or tablespoon can improve your dessert’s flavor profile immensely.
There are many kinds of curacao to choose from: blue, rum raisin, orange, and regular curacao. We recommend getting blue, orange, or regular curacao. (*)
Orange curacao works amazingly in desserts, but if that variety isn’t available, you can also use blue or regular curacao, which works in cocktails like bluebird, blue Hawaiian, and blue lagoon.
It also works well in fruit-based desserts, elevating the aroma and sweetness. Depending on how big the servings are, you won’t have to add too much curacao. Just a teaspoon is adequate as a Grand Marnier substitute.
If you’re after the strong aftertaste than the orange flavor in Grand Marnier, then go for brandy instead. Brandy, especially cognac, is Grand Marnier’s alcoholic base, making it a suitable alcoholic substitute.
You aren’t only limited to using cognac.
You can use other brandy varieties as well. If you want to achieve the signature flavor, mix it with a dash of other orange-flavored liqueurs, like vodka.
The Best Non-Alcoholic Grand Marnier Substitutes
Not a big fan of alcohol or don’t take it for religious or other personal reasons? Whether you’re making mocktail recipes or other dishes, there are ways to capture the flavor notes of Grand Marnier without the alcohol.
Try any of these non-alcoholic Grand Marnier substitutes:
5. Unsweetened Orange Juice Concentrate
Orange juice concentrate is an excellent Grand Marnier substitute. It’s less concentrated than orange extract and does the trick for mocktails and non-alcoholic baked goods.
Start with ¼ the amount a recipe needs and add more from there to reach your desired aroma and flavor. We recommend using an unsweetened orange juice concentrate, as the added sugars can affect the taste.
Alternatively, you can use regular orange juice, which is one of the easiest substitutes for Grand Marnier as you most likely already have it at home. You can even buy orange juice from the grocery store or make your own at home!
It’s more versatile in mocktails and other dishes, such as orange chicken, glaze, sauces, and marinades. When orange juice caramelizes, it can balance the salty and savory flavors. It’s also great for desserts like cakes, pies, and ice cream.
6. Orange Extract
Orange extract is a go-to Grand Marnier substitute. Note that this is a concentrated liquid, so a few drops of it is just enough.
If you’re using it in your favorite cocktail, mix a few drops of orange extract with soda water or seltzer. Then mix it with other juices and fruits for the perfect mocktail drink.
Besides that, we like using the orange extract for baking and glazing, particularly in muffins or cakes, for a bit of acidity. We love the aroma it exudes when we take our baked dishes out of the oven!
7. Orange Flower Water
Orange flower water is closest to Grand Marnier’s bitter orange copycat. This liquid is infused with bitter orange blossoms, and while it isn’t the fruit itself, you have the hint of oranges.
We recommend using this as a mocktail ingredient for its fragrance and subtle flavor. However, it won’t give much of the taste, focusing more on the aroma of your food or drink.
Frequently Asked Questions
Don’t stop reading just yet, because there’s more to learn about Grand Marnier besides the substitutes mentioned above! Here are a few insightful frequently asked questions to keep in mind:
1. Is Grand Marnier and Triple Sec similar?
They are almost the same, but not exactly. Triple Sec and Grand Marnier are both considered orange liqueurs, but the former is drier on the tongue and has an ABV of 15-40%, compared to the latter, which has an ABV of 40%.
Grand Marnier is a proprietary blend, while triple sec comes from various distillers, so the latter is cheaper than the former.
2. What does Grand Marnier taste like?
Grand Marnier has a distinctive and complex flavor profile with a strong orange palate containing oak and vanilla notes.
The orange bitters and sugar give this drink light and fruity beginning, with the cognac providing heavier notes of oak and vanilla as an excellent finish.
3. What cocktails contain Grand Marnier?
Since Grand Marnier has a sophisticated and subtle flavor, you can use it in all types of cocktails. Traditionally, you use this in D’Artagnan (a boozer mimosa) and sidecars.
That said, you can also use it in margaritas, Mai-Tais, and other cocktails you’d like to add an orange flavor too.
4. Can I use Grand Marnier for cooking?
Yes, you can use Grand Marnier for cooking. There are recipes you can use the orange liqueur in, such as:
- Desserts like truffles, souffles, and cakes
- Sauces and compotes
- Poultry and shrimp dishes
You can also cook with Grand Marnier substitutes if you use the recommended amount as mentioned above. You can use a 1:1 ratio with alcohol, depending on how strong the alcohol and its flavors are.
5. Do Grand Marnier substitutes taste similarly?
Honestly, you can’t replace the exact flavor of Grand Marnier in the substitutes mentioned, but they do come close. The closest to use is a dash of brandy, though it depends on the recipe you’re making.
Furthermore, non-alcoholic substitutes can alter the flavor and texture, specifically in cocktail recipes.
You can also make your own Grand Marnier by mixing cognac brandy with orange flavoring in equal amounts, like orange zest, juice, or liqueur. We highly recommend using an orange liqueur like Cointreau or Curacao.
Wrapping It Up
Did you find the best Grand Marnier substitute from this list?
Share what you learned and extra recommendations of alternatives that work for your classic recipes in the comments section below!