9 Best Cointreau Substitutes

Cointreau is a premium orange liqueur that’s delicious in many cocktails. It has an intense flavor and aroma, with notes of orange zest, honey, apricot, and other citrus fruits. 

Unfortunately, Cointreau is not always easy to find at liquor stores or bars. If you can’t get your hands on this delicious spirit what are some good substitutes? 

There are several great alternatives for Cointreau that have similar flavors but may be more widely available than the original brand.

Here are 9 excellent Cointreau substitutes that you can use in your cocktails or even just sip on their own:

  1. Grand Marnier
  2. Triple Sec
  3. Orange Curaçao
  4. Luxardo Triplum
  5. Regular Rum
  6. Orange-Flavored Liqueur
  7. Orange Extract
  8. Luxardo Triplum
  9. Bols Triple Sec

No matter what your tastes are, there should be something here for everyone. Keep reading to where you can substitute these drinks.

What is Cointreau?

Cointreau is a premium orange liqueur that was first created in the 1880s by a French winemaker named Adolphe Cointreau.

The secret to its unique flavor is a combination of bitter and sweet orange peels. This innovative distiller realized that blending different types of oranges could produce a richer taste.

Cointreau is a triple sec, which means that it’s made from a combination of fruits and distilled spirits such as Cognac (a type of brandy).

When you first take a sip of Cointreau, you’ll notice the intense orange aroma. Then it hits your tongue with a mixture of sweet and bitter notes.

The sweetness comes from the sugarcane, oranges, and honey used in the recipe. The bitterness is a result of orange peel that’s been aged for months inside glass tanks before being distilled.

9 Best Cointreau Substitutes

1. Grand Marnier

Grand Marnier Substitutes

Grand Marnier is a popular orange-flavored brandy that is made by the same company as Cointreau. It’s actually part of the Cointreau family along with Triple Sec and Curaçao.

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If you can’t get your hands on Cointreau, Grand Marnier is a great substitute.

In fact, there are quite a few similarities between the two liqueurs. They both have an intense orange flavor and aroma.

They’re also both triple secs that include Cognac as the main ingredient. This is what makes them similar to Cointreau even though they don’t taste exactly the same.

Grand Marnier is often used in cocktails such as the Sidecar and Margaritas. Also, it’s ideal to use in desserts and orange soufflés because of its intense flavor.

2. Triple Sec

Triple sec is a type of liqueur made from a combination of alcohol and sweeteners such as sugarcane.

It can be found in many types of flavored vodkas and tequilas. Triple sec is known as a common ingredient in drinks such as the Margarita, Daiquiri, and Sidecar.

There are several brands on the market with varying degrees of quality. You can choose any according to your taste.

3. Orange Curaçao

Orange curaçao is another orange-flavored liqueur that’s made from Cognac and various types of citrus fruits such as bitter oranges, lemons, and limes.

The main ingredient in this orange-flavored drink is the peel of orange peels found on bitter orange trees.

The secret to curaçao is that it’s aged in wooden barrels before being distilled. This gives it a rich, sweet flavor with spicy notes of cloves and cinnamon.

Curaçao is made by several brands including Cointreau, Grand Marnier, and Bols. It’s commonly used as an ingredient in cocktails such as the Blue Lagoon and Long Island Iced Tea.

4. Luxardo Triplum

Luxardo Triplum is a cherry-flavored liqueur that is made from boysenberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cherries.

It’s then aged in casks of oak for 18 months to create richness. The result is a liqueur that’s sweet with hints of chocolate and vanilla.

Luxardo Triplum is perfect for sipping or as an ingredient in cocktails such as the Aviation or Cherry Sour. It has more complex flavors than some other cherry-flavored liqueurs which makes it more versatile.

5. Regular Rum

Regular rum is an excellent substitute for Cointreau in some cocktails. The flavor of dark rum, in particular, works well when mixed with orange juice or another fruit juice.

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It’s also typically much cheaper than other substitutes on this list.

6. Orange-Flavored Liqueur

Orange-flavored liqueurs are often found in coffee shops where they are used to make White Russians.

They can also be found inside some bottles of vodka and tequila. Brands like Hiram Walker produce various kinds of orange-flavored liqueurs.

The flavors range from orange cream to mandarin orange. These liqueurs are perfect for adding a subtle orange flavor when mixed with other ingredients such as vodka and cranberry juice.

7. Orange Extract

Orange Extract

Orange extract is another substitute for Cointreau that is less expensive than the liqueurs listed above. It tends to yield a bitter flavor though so it may not be as good as other substitutes listed above.

Orange extract is another popular way to add an orange flavor without having to use actual oranges.

It’s made by mixing ground orange peels into alcohol then heating it up to boil off the alcohol. The result is a concentrated syrup that can be used for baking, drinks, and cocktails.

Orange extract is found in the baking section of most grocery stores. It’s particularly useful in recipes for cakes and cookies because it doesn’t change the consistency as orange juice can.

Just make sure to use small amounts when you cook with it in order to achieve the orange flavor desired in your food.

8. Luxardo Triplum

Luxardo Triplum can be used as a substitute for Cointreau in some recipes. It has a strong cherry flavor and can be used to add a twist to many classic cocktails such as the Sidecar and the Cosmopolitan.

It is a cherry-flavored liqueur that is made from boysenberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cherries. It’s then aged in casks of oak for months to create richness. The result is a liqueur that’s sweet with hints of chocolate and vanilla.

Luxardo Triplum is perfect for sipping or as an ingredient in cocktails such as the Aviation or Cherry Sour. It has more complex flavors than some other cherry-flavored liqueurs which makes it more versatile.

9. Bols Triple Sec

Bols Triple Sec is another substitute for Cointreau that can be used in cocktails. It tends to mix well with other flavors to create interesting twists on classic drinks such as the Margarita and Sidecar.

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Bols Triple Sec is a brand of triple sec liqueur that is made from sweet and bitter orange peels and various other natural flavors. The orange flavor is not too strong though so it’s a good substitute for many recipes that call for Cointreau.

Bols Triple Sec can be found in the liquor section of most major grocery stores and at specialty liquor stores. It’s typically much cheaper than Cointreau but tends to have a shorter shelf life.

What Does Cointreau Taste Like?

Cointreau has a sweet-yet-bitter taste that is similar to many orange liqueurs.

It’s made from a blend of curaçao, triple sec, and cognac that gives it a nice citrusy flavor with hints of vanilla and honey.

Most people use Cointreau as an orange-flavored liqueur that goes well with other citrus flavors.

It’s most popular for use in cocktails but it can also be used as an ingredient in desserts, appetizers, and entrees.

Is Cointreau Better Than Triple Sec?

Many people say that Cointreau is better than triple sec because it has a stronger, more bitter flavor.

Triple sec tends to have a sweeter taste though which makes it good for mixing with other ingredients such as vodka in cocktails.

Can You Drink Cointreau Straight?

Yes, many people drink Cointreau straight or on the rocks. It’s best drunk neat to experience the full flavor and aroma of this liqueur.

People say that Cointreau is too bitter to drink straight. It may be difficult to hold down because of the strong orange flavor. Some people mix it with Sprite or 7-Up but many prefer to use it in cocktails instead.

How Much Alcohol Percentage Does Cointreau Have?

Cointreau has an alcohol percentage of 40% depending on the variant. This makes it slightly stronger than average liqueurs.

Does Cointreau Go Bad?

Yes, Cointreau can go bad. The shelf life depends on how it is stored and the variant. Expired Cointreau may have an off taste or could separate into layers.

Cointreau will last for years when properly stored in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. Most variants typically have a two-year expiration date.

Final Words

Cointreau is a delicious orange liqueur that can be hard to find. However, there are plenty of substitutes for this drink available online and in stores near you!

Have you tried any of these drinks? What do you think about our list? Let us know what your favorite substitute is or if we missed one!

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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