Cointreau Substitute: 11 Easy Alternatives for You

Making a cocktail may require the need for Cointreau. What do you do when you don’t have the liqueur at hand? Look for alternatives? That’s right. You can also use Cointreau substitute in creating your cocktail. 

Quite familiar with a margarita and cosmopolitan cocktails? Then you must have had Cointreau. The liqueur is a popular ingredient in classic cocktails. However, there are times when you may run out of this tasty liqueur. 

Some substitutes will suit your liqueur needs perfectly and are easy to find around. What determines a great alternative is its price, flavor, availability, recipe, and alcohol content. Read ahead to find out great alternatives for Cointreau that you can use. 

SEE: Get Free Meal At Checkers & Rally’s

What Is a Cointreau?

Cointreau is a strong, sweet, and clear liqueur popularly produced in Saint Barthelemy-d’Anjou, France. The liqueur has an orange flavor which makes it one of a kind when it comes to cocktail creation. 

The liqueur is made out of the sweet and bitter peels of orange fruit and pure sugar beets alcohol. It was first introduced to the market in the 1870s. The ingredients of the liqueur include water, sugar, orange peels, and neutral alcohol. 

What Is Cointreau Used For?

The liqueur is popularly used as an ingredient in creating classic iconic cocktails like a margarita, sidecar, and cosmopolitan. Likewise, You can also have it as an aperitif and digestif when you consume it as an alcoholic beverage. 

Additionally, you can use it as a stabilizer for any citrus solution by mixing it with sugar syrup and water.

Cointreau Substitutes

1. Triple Secs

Triple Secs are the most reliable go-to options when you can’t find Cointreau available. Even though they have different flavors, they are also made from orange peels and alcohol. 

Compared to Cointreau, triple secs are affordable. It costs between $3 to $10, while its counterpart costs a whopping $30 or more. If you are looking to cut down costs, this is a good alternative for you. 

Triple sec usually has anywhere from 15% to 30% alcohol content, but it sometimes has as much as 40% alcohol, which is the same amount as Cointreau. Most of the time, substituting triple sec for Cointreau will result in having a less alcoholic content

Triple secs have less alcohol content and are best if you are keen on minimal alcohol consumption. This makes it an excellent alternative for cocktails and baking. You can use triple secs as an ingredient in margaritas, long island ice teas, and other cocktail drinks as well as desserts.

2. Curacao

Curacao is another alternative you can use. It is made from laraha, an inedible bitter orange that grows on the dutch island of curacao. This liqueur has a similar taste to triple sec but has a more bitter flavor. This is a good alternative to use in drinks. 

You can use the blue version to change the original color of a drink. Use it for your margaritas, kamikazes, sidecars, and other cocktails to enjoy a magnifying change of color. The liqueur is less expensive compared to Cointreau as you can get it as low as $5. 

Curacao contains only about 25% alcohol, making it a food substitute in desserts. Using blue Curacao in desserts will give it a bright blue color with an orange flavor. 

3. Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge 

Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge is another Cointreau substitute that falls under the same price range. Also known as Red ribbon, this liqueur has an orange flavor that combines vanilla and hints of oak. It is a common digestif and is also popular in drinks and desserts. 

Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge has cognac brandy as its base with a combination of orange essence and sugar. You can use it in margaritas, sidebars, cosmopolitans, and other cocktails instead of Cointreau. Both Grand Marnier and Cointreau have the same price and alcohol content.

4. Orange Extract

Orange extracts usually come in a small bottle. The extract comes from a concentration of orange oils, water, and 75% to 80% alcohol. You only need a few drops to achieve the Orange flavor you need in your cocktail or dessert without the use of sugar or alcoholic content of Cointreau. 

This is a great Cointreau substitute for non-alcoholic drinks and desserts. This means that you will get the orange flavor without any alcohol effects if you use an orange extract. However, this requires syrup or sugar to make up for the missing sweetening effects of Cointreau.

The cooking process burns off all the alcohol content of the extract. Therefore, you can use your orange extract to make your dish tasty as it is safe for children as well.

5. Combier Liqueur d’Orange 

This is a perfect Cointreau substitute for a glass of cosmopolitan cocktail. You can use it in classic cocktails and recipes instead of Cointreau. It is made from distilled orange peels and pure sugar beets. 

The liqueur has a clear and bright citrus flavor that has a similar taste to Cointreau. However, the finished taste of combier Liqueur d’Orange is a bit of butter. Combier Liqueur d’Orange is quite cheap compared to Cointreau and contains less alcohol content. 

6. Luxardo Triplum

Luxardo Triplum is made from dry peels of Curacao, sweet orange, and mandarins.  This combination creates a level of balance between the sweet and bitter taste of the ingredients. Luxardo triplum has a classy aroma that gives it an upper hand against other Cointreau alternatives.

Use this liqueur instead of Cointreau to achieve a wonderful finish taste. Additionally, the liqueur costs less than Cointreau and is a perfect fit for any recipe that calls for an orange-based liqueur. It also smells so fascinating.

7. Bols

Bols is an affordable liqueur that you can use in place of Cointreau. So if you need to host a party and don’t have Cointreau at hand, use bols. It is an orange-flavored liqueur that contains only about 15% alcohol. 

It tastes great in cocktails. Therefore, you can use it to mix your cocktails. It adds extra hints of exquisite flavor like cinnamon and glove into your cocktail recipe, giving you a hard one to beat.

8. Patron Citronge

Patron Citronge is made particularly for moreish and margaritas. You can look for patron citronge instead of Cointreau. It is made from dry orange peels of the famous Jamaican sweet oranges. You can use it to create cocktails for margaritas and tequila drinks. 

9. Orange Juice

If what you want to make is a less or nonalcoholic drink, orange juice is the right Cointreau for you. Orange juice does not contain any alcohol content and you can get it at any grocery store. You probably already have it available in your kitchen. 

You can also squeeze out fresh juice from healthy oranges. For any drink and cooking that needs a hint of citrus flavor, use orange juice instead of Cointreau. This is a good choice for you if you don’t want any alcohol content in your recipe. 

10. Orange Zest

For an extra boost of flavor in your dessert and non-alcoholic drinks, orange zest should be your go-to option. Freshly grated orange zest is a great Cointreau substitute if you are trying to get rid of alcohol. 

The intriguing flavor of orange zest makes it a great addition to your favorite savory and baked dishes. However, you may not exactly get the distinctive taste and flavor of orange in your recipe without lots of adjustments. 

11. Any Orange Liqueur

If you can’t get your hands on any of the previously mentioned liqueurs for your alcoholic cocktail and dessert, this is for you. You can get yourself any orange-flavored liqueur of any kind at any liquor store. 

Getting an orange liqueur that is made from sugar cane or sugar beets is a good substitute for Cointreau as they will taste similar to it. Add an orange liqueur into your drinks and dessert for a drastic change of flavor.

Why Does Cointreau Need Substitutes? 

Although Cointreau gives you the elegant and distinctive flavor you need for your cocktail, the alcohol content in it calls for alternatives. 

Cointreau contains 40% percent alcohol and if you have alcohol intolerance, you will need substitutes for Cointreau in your recipe. Likewise, if alcohol is off-limits in your recipe, you can use the non-alcoholic options available.

Additionally, Cointreau is quite expensive. If you can’t afford it, you can make use of affordable alternatives from the list above.


Is Cointreau good for digestion?

Yes, it is. Cointreau works well as a digestif. Therefore, consuming a glass of Cointreau after eating is a good way to aid quick digestion due to its alcohol content. 

Do you need to refrigerate Cointreau?

No, you don’t. You don’t have to put your Cointreau in a refrigerator to preserve it. 

You can place your Cointreau over a counter or store it at room temperature. It will remain perfectly fine, whether sealed or opened.

Can you replace Cointreau in margaritas?

Yes, you can. There are several other liqueurs you can use in place of Cointreau in your margarita. 

You can opt for other orange liqueurs like curacao, grand marnier, triple sec, and so on. You can also use non-alcoholic options like orange juice, extract, or zeets.

SEE: Chili Powder Substitutes That Suits Your Needs


Whether you are unable to get enough Cointreau or you want to leave it out totally, there are several orange-based alternatives you can try. Cointreau substitutes include triple sec, grand marnier, orange juice, orange zest, curacao, bols, and others.

For your alcoholic drink and cocktails, you should stick with the orange-based liqueurs. However, if you don’t want alcohol in your drink and baked dishes, you can add the non-alcoholic Cointreau substitute to your recipe.

Thanks for reading.

Visit Cheffist to read more food guides for alternatives for your cooking needs.