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Class up your drink with this Grand Marnier margarita recipe! The flavor is full-bodied with a touch of sophistication.

Grand Marnier Margarita
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What’s the best way to make a margarita? We’re here for all the margarita variations: fruity, sweet, spicy, and smoky. But one of our top ways to add a little class? The Grand Marnier Margarita. Also called the Cadillac, this variation uses top-shelf everything: tequila reposado for nuanced, aged flavor, Cointreau for the orange perfume, and Grand Marnier for notes of vanilla and oak. There’s so much flavor, you might just make this your regular margarita…period.

Ingredients in a Grand Marnier margarita

The margarita is one of the most classic cocktails there is, invented back in the 1930s. This popular sour is on the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails, meaning there’s an “official” definition. The classic margarita is just tequila, Cointreau (or triple sec), and lime juice. This Grand Marnier margarita simply floats the top-shelf liquor right on top! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tequila
  • Lime juice
  • Cointreau orange liqueur
  • Grand Marnier

What if you don’t have Cointreau? That’s ok too. You can make a Grand Marnier margarita by simply using Grand Marnier in place of Cointreau in the recipe below (then skip the floating!).

Grand Marnier margarita recipe

What’s Grand Marnier? How is it different from Cointreau?

Grand Marnier is a brand of French liqueurs, best known for the bottle Cordon Rouge (Cordon Rouge means “red ribbon”). This French orange liqueur is a mixture of Triple Sec and Cognac, which makes it taste more rich and complex than other orange liqueurs. Its flavor is like an orange-flavored brandy, with notes of vanilla and oak.

What’s the difference vs Cointreau? Well, Cointreau is also an orange liqueur. It has a smoother flavor than Grand Marnier, and it’s more commonly used in classic cocktails. Grand Marnier is slightly more expensive with an even more complex flavor, a blend of Triple Sec and Cognac.

Why to use tequila reposado

You can use any type of tequila in your Grand Marnier margarita! But we like using tequila reposado or aged tequila. Why?

  • Tequila reposado is aged tequila, which is stored from 2 to 12 months. It has a nuanced flavor, with notes of oak and vanilla. Reposado pairs well with the oak and vanilla notes of the Grand Marnier!
  • Tequila blanco is un-aged, and has a more straightforward flavor and that signature tequila burn. If all you have is tequila blanco, you can use that too!
Grand Marnier Margarita

How to make a Grand Marnier margarita: single drink

The Grand Marnier margarita is like any other margarita: make a salt rim, stir or shake up the ingredients, and serve! But you’ll need the final touch: floating Grand Marnier on top. Here are the basic steps (or go right to he recipe):

  1. Rim the glass with salt. Cut a notch in a lime wedge and slide that around the edge of the drink instead of wetting your finger. It’s quick and easy (and more hygienic!).
  2. Shake in a cocktail shaker OR stir in a mixing glass. Either works here! Shake the ingredients together with ice in a cocktail shaker (or use a mason jar with a lid) — or stir in a mixing glass until cold.
  3. Strain into a glass and float the Grand Marnier. Strain it into a glass and serve with ice!
Cointreau vs Grand Marnier

Or, make a margarita pitcher!

Do you want to serve a crowd with this Grand Marnier margarita? You can make a pitcher instead! With the pitcher method, you can substitute Grand Marnier for the Cointreau you’ll need to add a specific amount of ice to dilute the drinks to the right level. For a Grand Marnier margarita pitcher that serves 8, add:

  • 1 ½ cups tequila
  • 1 cup Cointreau
  • 1 cup lime juice
  • 3 handfuls ice
  • 1 cup Grand Marnier, for the float (optionally, simply substitute it in place of the Cointreau)

Add the ice and stir until cold. Pour into individual glasses. When serving, add the Grand Marnier float on top (1 ounce per drink or 2 tablespoons).

That’s it! Let us know what you think of this tasty cocktail in the comments below. Do you prefer it to the classic marg?

Grand Marnier margarita

More margarita recipes

We’ve made more margaritas than we can count! Here are all our favorite margarita recipes to try:

When to serve a Grand Marnier margarita

The Grand Marnier margarita is built to impress! It works as a:

  • Happy hour drink
  • Dinner party drink
  • Late night drinks drink
  • Guys or girls night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
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Grand Marnier Margarita

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
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Class up your drink with this Grand Marnier margarita recipe! The flavor is full-bodied with a touch of sophistication. 


  • 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) best quality tequila reposado
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Cointreau*
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Grand Marnier
  • Kosher salt or flaky sea salt, for the rim
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice)
  • For the garnish: Lime wedge


  1. Cut a notch in a lime wedge, then run the lime around the rim of a glass. Dip the edge of the rim into a plate of flaky sea salt (or for a festive look, use our Margarita Salt).
  2. Place tequila, Cointreau and lime juice in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until cold.
  3. Strain the margarita into the glass with the salted rim. Add ice. Then carefully pour the Grand Marnier onto the top of the drink over the back of a spoon (float it!). Serve immediately.


*If all you have is Grand Marnier, simply substitute Grand Marnier for the Cointreau, and don’t do the final step of floating on top. 

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

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 and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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1 Comment

  1. Paul Helms says:

    Made this recipe for the first time and followed it to the T. Served it up to some friends we had invited over along with some happy hour h’orders. It wasn’t 15 minutes later and I was in there making up another batch. The recipe was perfect. Go ahead, be a hero, follow the recipe to a T.