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Don’t have this orange liqueur? Here’s the best Cointreau substitute to use in cocktails like the margarita and beyond.

Cointreau substitute

Making a cocktail that calls for Cointreau and don’t have it? Don’t worry, there are few options that are perfectly suited as a substitution. Cointreau is an orange liqueur with a lightly sweet, orange perfume flavor. It’s most well known for being used in classic cocktails like the Margarita and Cosmopolitan. It was first invented in 1875, and now it’s sold all over the world.

Don’t have this tasty liqueur? You’re in luck: there are several options for a great Cointreau substitute that are easy to find.

Best Cointreau substitute

1. Grand Marnier

The best Cointreau substitute? Grand Marnier. Grand Marnier is a French orange liqueur that blends Cognac, bitter orange and sugar. The bottle you’ll typically see is called Cordon Rouge: that’s the Grand Marnier brand’s most popular product. Grand Marnier is like a high-end version of Cointreau: you’ll find it makes your drinks even better.

Once you’ve got a bottle on hand, you can make great Grand Marnier Cocktails like the Cadillac MargaritaEl Presidente, and more.

2. Triple Sec (any brand)

Another Cointreau substitute? Triple Sec. Triple Sec refers to a dry style of orange liqueur. “Sec” means dry in French, so some say the name means “triple dry” or “triple distilled.” The term can be used to refer to a style of dry orange liqueurs as a category: Cointreau is actually a type of Triple Sec! But most often the name refers to a lower-quality generic orange liqueur.

Keep in mind, the flavor of most Triple Sec brands is more harsh than a Cointreau. So you’ll get the absolute best margarita if you hold out for Cointreau.

3. Orange Curaçao

A final Cointreau substitute? Orange Curaçao. Curaçao is the original orange liqueur. If you can find Orange Curaçao, it’s a great match. Curaçao is also sold in a Blue Curaçao variety, which is used in drinks like the Blue Hawaii and Blue Lagoon. We don’t suggest using Blue Curaçao instead of Cointreau in your drink, unless you’re ok with it turning your drink a funky color!

4. Any orange liqueur

Can’t find any of the above liqueurs? You can really use anything labeled “orange liqueur” that you can find at your local liquor store.

Here are some recipes where you could use this Cointreau substitute:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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