Grand Marnier is an orange-flavored liqueur that both professional chefs and home cooks alike love. Adding it in meat glazes, savory dishes and desserts just adds more flavor and kick that steps up the overall taste of the dish.
However, buying a bottle of Grand Marnier for just a tablespoon requirement for that one recipe can be a bit pricey.
The best substitutes for Grand Marnier are Triple sec, Orange juice concentrate, Orange extract, Cointreau, Curacao, Orange flower water and Orange juice.
Let’s take a close look at each substitute and find the one that works best for you. The following sections contain both alcoholic and non-alcoholic choices.
Substitutes For Grand Marnier
1. Triple Sec
This is a colorless liqueur that is also flavored with bitter and sweet orange peels. Triple sec is drier than Grand Marnier, which explains the name itself, sec which means dry in French. You can use triple sec in so many cocktail recipes such as kamikaze, cosmo, and sidecar.
For savory dishes, you can have it in sweet-based sauces or glaze, for stews and desserts like crepes, cakes, and creme brulee.
Using this as a substitute doesn’t make any difference since both triple sec and Grand Marnier are quite the same. Except when taken on its own, you will feel more dryness with triple sec.
If you’re feeling fancy and just wanting to taste more sweetness in your dish, you should definitely try Cointreau.
Cointreau is also an orange-flavored liqueur that was also mixed with sugar beets. It has a total of 40% alcohol, making it perfect as a mixed drink like cosmopolitan and margarita.
For classic recipes, it’s best used with sweet desserts. Don’t worry about the alcohol content as it evaporates during baking time.
My favorite recipes are tiramisu, pie, creme brulee, and orange-flavored cakes. Just a teaspoon or tablespoon improves the flavor profile of the dessert.
You can find so many variants of curacao in the market. There’s a blue curacao, rum raisin curacao, and the regular curacao. I recommend sticking to blue curacao and the regular ones.
This is to stick with the substitution that we’re trying to do with Grand Marnier. You can drink it as it is by just adding an orange or lemon garnish. Also, perfectly mixed with other drinks as a cocktail like a blue lagoon, blue Hawaiian, and bluebird.
For baking and desserts, you can use it the same way as you would Grand Marnier. It goes well with fruit-based desserts as it elevates its sweetness and aroma.
You don’t need to use a lot of curacao in the dish, a teaspoon is just enough for one recipe depending on how big the servings would be.
4. Orange Extract
For non-alcoholic fans or those who can’t take alcohol, the orange extract is a perfect go-to for Grand Marnier. It’s pretty much concentrated, so a few drops are enough to add to your dish.
For cocktails, I like using soda water or seltzer and add a few drops of that orange extract. You can then mix it with other fruits and juices to make your own mocktail at home.
Orange extract is also great for baking and making glazes. I love using it for cakes and muffins to add a bit of acidity to the dish.
Also, the aroma makes the dish more sweet-smelling especially when freshly taken out of the oven. Turn your boring vanilla ice cream into a flavorful one by just adding a drop per serving. Voila! You immediately have orange-flavored ice cream.
5. Orange Juice Concentrate
You can also use an orange juice concentrate if the orange extract is unavailable. They’re similar but orange extract has a stronger concentration than orange juice concentrate.
Still, this one is a good alternative for making mocktails by just following the same recipe that includes orange extract.
It’s also great for non-alcoholic baked goods. However, unlike orange extract where you only need a few drops, you would need more when using the orange juice concentrate. You’ll get the same results in terms of aroma and flavor.
6. Orange Flower Water
To get a copycat of grand Marnier’s bitter oranges, your best bet is to choose orange flower water instead. It’s non-alcoholic water infused with bitter orange blossoms. So it’s not really the fruit itself but still, you get the hint of oranges as its own.
With its undeniable lovely fragrance and subtle flavor, it makes a perfect mocktail drink on its own or mixed with other juices.
For baking, you will only benefit from the aroma if that’s something you’re trying to achieve. You will not really get much of the taste since it’s too mild. But, it’s still a competitive choice if you don’t have any other options to choose from.
7. Orange Juice
And, the easiest substitute that you can find that you probably have at home would be regular orange juice. Whether you buy it in a pack or make your own fresh juice at home, it will do just fine. However, I personally prefer fresh orange juice to maximize that overall flavor and aroma.
Orange juice can be used for different mocktail recipes. It’s easy to find and offers more versatility for varied choices of drinks. You can use it with your favorite orange chicken, meat marinade, glaze, and sauces.
As it caramelizes, it balances the savory and salty flavor of the meat. For baked dishes, you can never go wrong with orange juice. It works wonders for ice cream, pies, cakes, and more.
What are the perfect pairings to mix with Grand Marnier?
Grand Marnier compliments well with a lot of different drinks including iced tea, sangria, cranberry juice, and of course orange juice. You can experiment with other drinks as well just for fun and see if it suits your taste.
Is Cointreau and Grand Marnier the same?
Both might be the same as they are orange-flavored, however, they are not technically the same. Grand Marnier is distilled with cognac while Cointreau uses clear alcohol from sugar beet. Grand Marnier is also sweeter than Cointreau.
How does Grand Marnier taste like?
Grand Marnier leaves a good impression in your mouth as it is heavy and really sweet. Perfect for those who can’t take bitter and strong liqueurs. You can also taste a hint of oak and vanilla making it unique from the rest.
Can you sip Grand Marnier on its own?
Since it’s more tolerable due to its sweetness, you’ll find sipping a glass of Grand Marnier to be enjoyable.
Surprisingly, Grand Marnier has a lot of substitutes available in the market whether it’s alcoholic or non-alcoholic.
Whichever you prefer, surely you won’t have any problems finding a remedy for your favorite cocktail or dessert the next time.