I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of Grand Marnier substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion.
Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or seeking an alternative tailored to your specific dietary requirements, rest assured that I’ve got you covered.
Grand marnier is triple sec mixed with cognac, so you can easily DIY your own wth these two ingredients. Gran gala is another orange liqueur you can use. Or you can mic cognac with orange oil. For non-alcoholic options, try orange blossom water or orange juice.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
I made a few batches of margaritas to test various Grand Marnier substitutes. Don’t worry – I shared them with my friends!
Grand Marnier is a liquor made with cognac and orange bitters.
It boasts sweet, citrus notes and a warm twist from the cognac. And it’s 40% ABV, which is a high compared to other liqueurs.
Here are the substitutes I tested and my verdicts:
|Substitutes||How to Substitute||Verdict|
|Triple Sec||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Gran Gala||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Other Orange-flavored Liquors||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Orange Extract/Oil + Cognac||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Orange Flower Water||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Orange Juice||Replace in a 1:1 ratio, and reduce the liquid in your recipe if necessary||8/10|
|Homemade Orange Liqueur||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||8/10|
Common uses for grand marnier
Here are some popular ways to use grand marnier and the best substitutes for those situations:
- For cocktails: Try using another orange liqueur, or orange extract mixed with cognac. Use orange blossom water for a non-alcoholic option. Orange juice can work in a pinch too.
- For sauces: Use orange juice and vodka for a quick and easy substitute. Or another liqueur will work if you have it.
- For desserts: Try using triple sec or gran gala. Orange blossom water is also a great addition.
Triple Sec is a well-known orange-flavored liqueur that originated from the vineyards of France.
It shares a similar citrusy flavor profile with grand marnier but is slightly less sweet and less rich.
There’s a variety of triple sec brands, but the most popular one (and the best replacement for grand marnier) is cointreau.
It matches Grand Marnier’s ABV at 40%, and it has hints of spice, making it a touch sweeter. than the average triple sec.
Psst… mix in some cognac if you have it to make grand marnier!
How to substitute: replace in a 1:1 ratio with triple sec.
Gran gala is another orange liqueur you can try in place of grand marnier.
Like grand marnier, it has a brandy base, which gives it a familiar boozy warmth.
I found it less sweet than grand marnier, which worked for me – but you can always add a teaspoon of simple syrup to your cocktail to make up for it.
And the cherry on top? Gran gala is more budget-friendly than grand marnier… bottomless margaritas anyone?!
How to substitute: Replace in a 1:1 ratio with gran gala.
Other orange-flavored liquors
Triple sec and gran gala are the closest orange liqueurs to grand marnier, but there’s plenty more!
Blue curacao is a solid option if you want to make your cocktails more fun. It has similar orange notes with a bitter finish, but what makes it stand out is its bright blue color.
Or if you want an alternative with a brandy base, consider trying bauchant or grand monarch. These ones are also cheaper than grand marnier!
And if you feel like switching things up, try a lemon liqueur like pallini or luxardo limoncello for a tangier twist to your margaritas.
How to substitute: Replace in a 1:1 ratio with your choice of orange liqueur.
Orange extract/oil + cognac
Let your inner mixologist shine with this handy substitute!
Grand marnier is a mix of cognac and triple sec – and you can easily replicate the orang flavor of triple sec with orange extract or orange oil.
I’d go for orange oil if you have a choice because it’s got more flavor. But the oil is less stable than the extract, so you need to have other uses for it (it’s perfect for baking).
Pssst… you can use any brandy if you don’t have cognac.
How to substitute: Replace with an equal amount of orange extract (or oil) and cognac mixture.
Orange blossom water
Orange flower water is an elegant, non-alcoholic alternative for grand marnier!
Despite missing the warm, sweet notes of cognac, it has delicate floral notes that make this ingredient a delightful surprise.
The flavor is a lot more subtle than grand marnier, so it works best in cocktails without loads of bold ingredients.
You can find a bottle of orange blossom water in most grocery stores — check the baking aisle!
How to substitute: Replace in a 1:1 ratio with orange blossom water.
Another non-alcoholic and super accessible alternative for grand marnier is good old orange juice!
It’s an easy switch, since orange juice is a staple in most households.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an exact flavor match – the juice is sweeter and not as rich. But it’ll add the orange notes you’re after!
Pro tip: for a bolder flavor, you can also use orange juice concentrate.
How to substitute: replace in a 1:1 ratio with orange juice.
Homemade orange liqueur
Making your own orange liqueur isn’t as intimidating as you think!
Sure, it’s a long process – you’ll need to let the orange peels soak in the spirit for about three weeks!
But it’s mostly hands-off, and the only cooking you’ll do is making a simple syrup.
This easy recipe from Spiritgyde uses vodka as the base, but I made mine with brandy (sorry, I’m not uncorking my Cognac for this!) to make this DIY treat taste even more like grand marnier.
Pssst… this makes for a great gift too.
How to substitute: replace in a 1:1 ratio with your homemade orange liqueur.
Other substitutes to consider
Here are a few more options that can work:
- Campari – this is a classic Italian aperitif with a prominent orange flavor similar to grand marnier. The catch is its bitterness is more pronounced, but you can mix this with a splash of sweet vermouth for a more balanced flavor.
- St. Germain – this is elderflower liqueur. It’s a solid option if you want something more delicate and floral than grand marnier.
- Orange zest – this isn’t a perfect substitute, but it works in a pinch if all you need is a burst of citrusy goodness!
Avoid using midori
I came across this substitute while researching, so I tried it. It’s tasty, but I wouldn’t recommend it as a substitute for grand marnier.
It’s a Japanese liqueur flavored with muskmelon or honeydew. It’s very sweet, like candy, and doesn’t have the bright, citrus notes of grand marnier.
Best Grand Marnier Substitutes + 1 To Avoid
- zest of 2 oranges
- 2 cups vodka/brandy
- 2 cups sugar
- 1½ cup water
- Using a peeler, zest your 2 oranges. Avoid the pith (white part). Place the orange peels in a jar and pour in your vodka. Seal the jar and leave the mixture to infuse in a cool, dry place for three weeks (21 days).
- On the last day of infusion, combine 2 cups of sugar and 1½cups of water in a sauce pan. Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil. Let the sugar syrup cool down.
- Strain the peels and combine the infused vodka with your simple syrup. Mix well and transfer into an air-tight bottle.