5 Excellent Cointreau Substitutes

By Sina Torner / Last updated on April 24, 2023

Cointreau is the bestselling Triple Sec worldwide. The premium orange liqueur from France is a staple in every bar.
Best Cointreau Substitutes

Cointreau is one of the most popular Triple Sec liqueurs and the most common choice in cocktails like the Margarita. It has an intense, pungent orange aroma, and a dry and rich orange taste with a high alcohol content of 40% ABV. But how can you best replace Cointreau if you don't have it at home?

If you don't have Cointreau around and can't get it, the overall best alternative is Combier Liqueur d'Orange. -Have a quick look at our winners here.

Summary Cointreau Substitutes:

For more helpful information, read our recommendations for the best alternatives to Cointreau below. Each substitute has a short description and taste review to find the perfect replacement for your needs. 

Jump to Combier | Grand Marnier Cordon Jaune | Le Favori | Patron Citrónge Orange | Paula's Texas Orange

What makes Cointreau unique?

Cointreau is a high-quality, triple-distilled, dry, colorless orange liqueur with an ABV of 40%, which is pretty high for liqueurs. And it is not as sweet as other fruit liqueurs. Quite the contrary, it is remarkably low in sugar. It's not the cheapest cocktail ingredient and often sells for $40 per bottle, more or less. 

Its intense citrus flavor comes from the essential oils in the skin of bitter oranges. If you want to read more about Cointreau and its history, you can find everything you need to know in our guide to Cointreau.

The 5 Best Substitutes for Cointreau

You can find countless alternatives for orange-flavored liqueurs and Triple Sec on your local store shelves. But this list exclusively focuses on the very best substitutes for Cointreau.

Like with most substitutes, there's no overall perfect replacement. Some are best used for neat or chilled drinking, and others are very similar to Cointreau in cocktails. So, here are the best Cointreau substitutes.

1. Combier Liqueur d'Orange

Combier Triple Sec - best Cointreau Substitute
  • Type: Triple Sec
  • ABV: 40%
  • Price: $31
  • Best as: Replacement in cocktails

The French brand Combier deserves the top spot on this short list. It is a fantastic Triple Sec and the liqueur that started it all. -Combier is the world's first Triple Sec and clocks in at 40% ABV.

Combier has a more subtle alcohol note and a less pronounced orange aroma. When sipping it straight or neat, you'll notice the difference. In cocktails, though, it's an excellent Cointreau substitute.

It's also significantly cheaper than Cointreau, so you save some bucks with every bottle.

2. Grand Marnier Cordon Jaune

Grand Marnier Cordon Jaune bottle
  • Type: Triple Sec
  • ABV: 40%
  • Price: $25 (Only available in Europe)
  • Best as: Substitute for sipping

Contrary to the more popular Cordon Rouge, Grand Marnier Jaune is a true Triple Sec and an ideal substitute for Cointreau when served chilled or neat.

It's transparent and has a fresh and clean taste with zesty orange notes. The balance of sweet and sour is just right, with some subtle spicy notes in the back.

Pricewise, it's an affordable alternative to Cointreau. The only downside is that you can only get it in Europe at the moment.

3. Le Favori Triple Sec

le favori triple sec
  • Type: Triple Sec
  • ABV: 40%
  • Price: $12
  • Best as: Cheap Cointreau alternative


Le Favori is another French brand and a much cheaper alternative to Cointreau. It's not as smooth, but at 40% vol. it works a treat in Triple Sec cocktails for a fraction of the price.

It has a fruity and orange-forward aroma that's very inviting. The taste of Le Favori Triple Sec is sweet and slightly spicy with intense and robust orange notes. It is also significantly drier than most other Triple Sec liqueurs, which makes its flavor profile very similar to Cointreau. 

At only $12 per bottle, Le Favori is a real steal. One of the best substitutes for Cointreau overall, and probably the best budget-friendly alternative. 

4. Patron Citrónge Orange Liqueur

Patron Citrónge Orange liqueur
  • Type: Triple Sec
  • ABV: 35%
  • Price: $34
  • Best as: Alternative in Margaritas


Patron specifically developed their Citrónge Orange Liqueur to use in Margarita cocktails. -No wonder the orange liqueur excels in this category. It has an intense and sharp orange scent with hints of tangerine. The taste is slightly sweet but at the same time dry with bold citrus notes.

The liqueur is tequila-based, which results in that nice tequila spice lingering in your mouth after every sip. The alcohol content is slightly lower at 35% compared to 40% in Cointreau, but you don't taste the difference in mixed drinks.

It is also slightly cheaper than Cointreau and sells for $34 per bottle of 750ml. If you're looking for a Cointreau alternative in Margaritas, that's your best option.

5. Paula's Texas Orange

Paulas Texas Orange liqueur bottle
  • Type: Triple Sec
  • ABV: 40%
  • Price: $16
  • Best as: Unique Cointreau substitute

Like Tito's Handmade Vodka, the lady behind Paula's Texas Orange decided on corn as a base for their Triple Sec. Paula Angerstein is the second person - Tito was first- and the first woman to have gotten a distilling license in Texas. And she uses it well. 

At 40% ABV, this Triple Sec is a sweet and unique alternative to Cointreau. It has a bright orange aroma with rich orange notes, with a hint of corn sweetness in the back.

Overview Cointreau Substitutes

ABV Price Type Best For
Combier Liqueur d'Orange 40% $31 Triple Sec Cocktails
Grand Marnier Cordon Jaune 40% $25 Triple Sec Sipping
Le Favori 40% $12 Triple Sec Budget-friendly alternative
Patron Citrónge Orange 35% $34 Triple Sec Margaritas
Paula's Texas Orange 40% $16 Triple Sec Unique taste

The difference between Cointreau and other Triple Sec?

Cointreau is stronger, drier, and cleaner in taste than most other Triple Sec. The term Triple Sec is only loosely regulated and comprises all kinds of orange liqueurs.

So, when grabbing the second-best Triple Sec in the supermarket, you might end up with something sweet and colorful, with an ABV well below 20%. -Less than half of what Cointreau contains. That works in some cases, but in others, it's not ideal. 

Is Curaçao a good substitute for Cointreau?

I cannot give a general recommendation to replace Cointreau with Curaçao. The flavors already vary a lot within the category, and there's a notable difference between Cointreau and Curaçao. 

For a more thorough comparison, read the article about Triple Sec vs. Curaçao.

Curaçao is another type of orange liqueur and the forerunner of Triple Sec. It's also flavored with the peels of bitter oranges growing on the island of Curaçao - hence, the name.

This liqueur is mainly known for its blue version, Blue Curaçao. It is used in iconic drinks like the Swimming Pool or the Blue Lagoon. Curaçao is not always blue, though. It can be orange, green, red, and also clear. And these colorless versions sometimes can work as a substitute for Cointreau - depending on your intentions.

Is Grand Marnier a good substitute for Cointreau?

Regular Grand Marnier - officially Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge- is a category of its own, as it is based on Cognac and not on sugar beet like Triple Sec. It's more complex in taste and therefore changes the flavor profile significantly when used as a Cointreau substitute.

The flavors of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge are rich with notes of vanilla and toffee shining through. Also, the color is darker and of deep amber which won't work well visually with some cocktail recipes. Depending on what you plan to do with it, Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge can be a valid option. To learn more, read this comparison of Cointreau and Grand Marnier.

There's also a clear version called Grand Marnier Cordon Jaune that is very similar to Cointreau. It's a regular, see-through Triple Sec without the addition of Cognac. You can find it ranking on second place in our list of the best Cointreau substitutes.

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