Substitute for orange curacao | The 10 best alternatives

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Orange Curacao is an orange liqueur made from bitter peels and rum bases. It has a fantastic bitter-sweet flavor that is famous in many cocktail recipes. This liqueur can be packed with herbs, seeds, nuts, or even spices. So what drinks can be used as substitutes for orange curacao? Read on to understand. 

What is orange curacao?

Orange Curacao is a clear or pale orange-colored liqueur made from dry peels of bitter oranges.  The peels used are grown on the curacao island. Orange curacao can be used in cocktails, desserts, and in mixed drinks, all thanks to its refreshing strong orange flavor.

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10 Substitutes for orange curacao

Here are some of the top substitutes for orange curacao:

1. Grand Marnier

Grand Marnier and orange curacao serve the same purpose only that they are made from different flavors. Grand Marnier is an orange liqueur made with aged brandy that gives it an intense oaky flavor. It is flavored with bitter orange peels that produce a deep flavor and a golden appearance. It is commonly used in cocktails and in baking as well.

2. Triple sec

This liqueur is clear-colored with a strong orange flavor from dried orange peels and neutral spirit. It is used in cocktails as an ingredient or as a lemon garnish due to its citrus flavor. Lower quality brands contain 20%-40% alcohol while higher quality ones have 38%-42% and an intense orange flavor.

3. Gran Gala

Gran Gala is a native of Italy. It has a rich brandy base and a smooth velvety texture that makes it one of the best brandy. This amber-colored liqueur has a fresh orange smell making it a great substitute for orange curacao.  It has additional flavors of vanilla, caramel, spices, and cocoa. Gran gala can be added to cocktails and recipes.

4. Aurum

Aurum is an orange-flavored liqueur with a brandy base. Its flavor is imparted by the period the alcohol is left to age. The longer it ages, the more concentrated the flavor is.

This Pescara native liqueur has a sweet smooth flavor that is dominated by the orange aroma.  It can be served as a cocktail or added to ice creams and desserts.

5. Picon

Picon is a French aperitif that is made from orange peel and other citrus fruits. It has a bitter, sweet, and sour taste from the combination of herbs (cinchona bark, gentian root, and orange zest), spices, caramel, and neutral alcohol. This liqueur is used in cocktails and is also available in Picon bière, Picon café, and Picon vin flavors.

6. Orange juice

Orange juice is a popular breakfast drink and can also be used as a cocktail mixer. It is made from the pulp and juice of oranges. It contains vitamin C, fiber, folic acid, and other minerals. Orange juice has an orange flavor that can substitute for orange Curacao.  To intensify the flavor, reduce the juice to a syrup. You can also use orange extracts in place of the juice but in lesser amounts.

7. Apple brandy

Apple brandy is a liqueur made from distilled apple cider. It can be made from either butter apple juice or unsweetened apple concentrate. It comes in two versions-the American which tends to be sweeter and the European which has hints of vanilla and tannins from oak barrels and spices. Its bitter-sweet taste with a bit of soreness is used in cocktails and recipes, just like orange curacao.

8. Mimosa

Mimosa is a refreshing cocktail that can be used as an alternative to orange curacao. It is made with orange juice and champagne. To make a mimosa, simply combine equal parts orange juice and champagne in a glass. To pour it diligently, add in the champagne first and then the orange juice to prevent bubbles from escaping the glass.

9. Blue Curacao

Blue curacao has a colorless appearance with an additional blue artificial color. It has a sweet-bitter taste that varies depending on the brand. It can be added to cocktails to increase vibrancy and a punchy, acidic taste. It can also be added to cupcakes, brownies, and mousse.

10. Garibaldi

Garibaldi is a nice orange curacao substitute that you can whip in the comfort of your home. It is made with orange juice and Campari. The beverage is named after the Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi who was known for his redshirts.

To make a Garibaldi cocktail, simply combine equal parts of freshly squeezed orange juice and Campari in a glass. Froth the juice till it gets foamy using a whisk of a blender then add in Campari and some ice. Lastly, top with an orange-flavored liqueur.

Orange curacao versus Cointreau

Orange Curacao is a type of liqueur that is made with dried bitter orange peels while Cointreau is made from a mix of sweet and bitter oranges.

When it comes to taste, orange curacao is less sweet and has a more intense orange flavor, while Cointreau is brighter with a clean and crisp orange flavor. In terms of alcohol content, curacao is 15-40 % ABV, while Cointreau is 40% ABV.

Additionally, orange curacao is often used as a cocktail ingredient or for baking, while Cointreau is usually sipped on its own.

Where to buy orange curacao

There are a few places where you can buy orange curacao. The most popular place to buy it is at the liquor store. However, you can also find it online stores.

Orange curacao nutrition

Orange Curacao liqueur is not only a delicious addition to cocktails, but it is also relatively low in calories and sugar. It is rich in vitamins like Vitamin B6, B12, C, and E and minerals like phosphorous, selenium, zinc, and potassium.

When mixed with other beverages, the calorie content of a drink made with orange Curacao will depend on the ingredients used. For example, a Margarita made with orange Curacao, tequila, and triple sec contains about 211 calories per serving.

If you are watching your calorie intake, you can enjoy cocktails made with orange Curacao liqueur in moderation. When mixed with lower calorie ingredients, such as diet soda or seltzer water, you can enjoy a refreshing and guilt-free drink.

Video: Difference between orange flavoured liqueurs Curacao, Cointreau and Grand Marnier

Frequently Asked Questions

Is orange curacao gluten-free?

Yes, Orange Curacao is gluten-free.

Orange Curacao versus blue curacao

The main difference between orange Curacao and blue Curacao is the color. Blue Curacao is colored with food coloring, while orange Curacao is made with the peel of bitter oranges. Both types of Curacao are liqueurs that are flavored with oranges.

While both orange and blue Curacao liqueurs are delicious, they can be used for different purposes when making cocktails. If you are looking for a drink that is refreshing and has a bit of sweetness, you may want to try a cocktail made with orange Curacao. If you are looking for a festive drink that will impress your guests, you may want to try a layered cocktail made with blue Curacao. No matter what type of cocktail you are looking for, these liqueurs are sure to add a delicious flavor.


In conclusion, there are many substitutes for orange curacao and they all have unique favors that can be used in cocktails and other recipes. So if you’re looking for a substitute for orange curacao, any of the above options should work well.

Have you ever used a substitute for orange curacao? What was your experience? Or maybe you have a tip on making a great cocktail? Let us know in the comments below.

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