Grand Marnier is a French orange liqueur that adds sophistication to everything it touches. Here’s more about it and how to use it.
Looking at buying a bottle of Grand Marnier, or simply wondering what it is? This top shelf liquor has a beautiful bottle with signature red ribbon and stamped wax seal. But what’s inside the bottle, and what cocktails to do you use it for? Can you swap it out for other orange liqueurs, like Cointreau or Triple Sec? Here’s more about this fancy French liqueur, what it tastes like and how to drink it.
What is Grand Marnier?
Grand Marnier is a brand of French liqueurs, best known for its product Cordon Rouge (Cordon Rouge means “red ribbon”). This French orange liqueur is a mixture of Triple Sec and Cognac and has a sophisticated, developed flavor.
Grand Marnier was invented in 1880 by Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle. He had the idea to combine French cognac with a rare variety of bitter orange from the Caribbean. Luckily he had famous friends to help him pull it off. His pal Cesar Ritz, founder of the Ritz Hotel, helped him come up with the name and bottle design. This fancy liqueur was even served on the Titanic; we know because a bottle was discovered in the wreckage (source).
How do you say Grand Marnier? Say Gran Mar-NYAY.
What does Grand Marnier taste like?
Grand Marnier tastes like orange-flavored brandy, with notes of vanilla and oak. It has a heavier, more complex flavor than other orange liqueurs like Triple Sec and Cointreau.
Are there any Grand Marnier substitutes? Look for the real thing if at all possible. If it’s not available, substitute it with equal parts of Cointreau, Cognac or brandy, or Triple Sec. Here’s more about the differences between Cointreau vs Grand Marnier.
Why we like it
Grand Marnier is full of rich, developed flavor and intrigue from the Cognac, and makes any cocktail taste that much sexier. It’s strong enough at 40% ABV that you can drink it in a snifter like a Cognac. It’s not a must in a basic liquor collection, like Cointreau. But we’d recommend it for the adventurous home mixologist.
How much does it cost?
Compared to other liquors, Grand Marnier is expensive. A 375 ml bottle costs around $15 to $20, and a 750 ml bottle costs around $30 to $45. You’ll use it in small amounts, so one bottle lasts quite a while. We recommend opting for the 375 ml size.
Most popular Grand Marnier cocktails
You can drink Grand Marnier neat in a brandy snifter, or as an upgrade to orange liqueur in cocktail recipes. Mix it with champagne or Prosecco for a bubbly spin, or add soda water for a make-shift spritzer. Or, try in one of these popular Grand Marnier cocktails:
You can also use this French orange liqueur in the following drinks:
- El Presidente Pair it with rum, vermouth and grenadine for a classic Cuban cocktail.
- Between the Sheets Add rum, Cognac and lemon.
- Mai Tai Go fruity with two types of rum, orgeat syrup, and lime.
- Red Sangria Make up a pitcher of classic sangria.
This Prosecco cocktail is sophisticated and classy, with citrus notes and lots of bubbles. It’s easy to whip up for parties and celebrations!
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) champagne (or other sparkling wine)
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Grand Marnier
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Garnish: orange twist
- Add the Grand Marnier and lemon juice to a champagne flute and swirl to combine.
- Tilt the glass at an angle and pour in the Prosecco. Garnish with an orange twist.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Poured
- Cuisine: Cocktails
Keywords: Grand marnier
More liquor guides
Wondering what Aperol is? Or St Germain or Chartreuse? Want the best brand of bourbon or how to make a whiskey sour? We’ve got you! Here are a few more guides to liquor:
- Quick Guide to Chartreuse This pale green liqueur is worth adding to your collection…here’s why.
- Quick Guide to Absinthe This formerly banned liquor is now in good graces.
- Guide to Grenadine It’s mistaken as cherry, but this bright syrup has a secret.
- Quick Guide to Cointreau This popular orange liqueur is the best out there.
- Quick Guide to Orange Liqueur All you need to know about this somewhat confusing style of liquor.
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.