Mixing up cocktails at home has never been more popular. The rise of elegant subscription boxes and online mixology classes raised the profile of the home mixology trend.
So many of my favorite cocktails feature orange liqueur, and I didn’t know this until I started shaking and stirring my mixed drinks!
Some of my favorite ways to practice my new mixology hobby include making a sidecar, cosmopolitan, or traditional margarita.
I also love to imbibe in an occasional mai tai or lemon drop martini. These delicious cocktails require orange liqueur or its closely related liqueur cousin, triple sec.
While this orange liqueur may be an unexpected ingredient, there are several liqueur brands to choose from, and I’ve detailed the top seven orange liqueurs available.
Read on to learn how to take your mixology skills to the next level with the best orange liqueurs.
This legendary orange liqueur brand traces its history to 1850s France and offers a recipe with more concentrated flavor and less sugar than competitors.
Perfectly selected orange peels and specific copper barrels deliver signature Cointreau flavor.
This liqueur offers a “crystalline” appearance and is beautifully transparent.
Six generations of family members maintain the legacy of this historic brand. Cointreau claims more than 500 cocktail recipes rely on Cointreau, including essential cocktails like the popular cosmopolitan and retro-cool sidecar cocktails.
Reach for Cointreau for brunch, baby shower, or bachelorette cocktails. Its clear color and fresh flavor make the perfect match for social media-ready photos of delicious and authentic Cointreau cosmopolitans and sidecars.
Another French liqueur, Grand Marnier, boasts a slightly earlier founding date than Cointreau: 1827.
Unlike Cointreau, which selects orange peels from Africa, Grand Marnier sources its oranges from the Caribbean.
These oranges pair with French cognac to deliver the iconic flavor profile of Grand Marnier.
Grab a bottle of Grand Marnier to spiff up your liquor cabinet. This liqueur’s brand sticks closely to a French aristocratic feeling, with a wax seal and red ribbon still adorning the elaborately-shaped bottle.
Grand Marnier carries this reputation to the price tag, ranking as one of the most expensive brands on this list.
Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
As the name implies, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao provides another French orange liqueur.
Founded in 1989, this brand evokes historical recipes even though founded much later.
Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao features orange blossoms and orange peels of Caribbean oranges mixed with brandy and Ferrand Cognac.
Pierre Ferrand applies its unique cocktail historian skills to gin, fruit liqueurs, and rum. Come for the alcohol, but stay for this brand’s gorgeous bottles and vintage labels.
Its sophisticated appearance makes this orange liqueur my go-to choice for a thoughtful gift.
Dry Curacao is found only at specialty liquor stores and costs about the same amount as Cointreau.
Drillaud Orange Liqueur
Grab Drillaud Orange Liqueur for assertive orange flavor within this robust, savory liqueur.
Orange peel blends with French brandy for a sweeter orange liqueur than the other best orange liqueurs on this list.
Because of its sweet and robust flavor, choose Drillaud for a big pitcher of sangria instead of the delicate balance of a mixed drink.
This orange liqueur option ranks as one of the most affordable on this list. Expect to spend about half as much on this bottle than a similar bottle of Cointreau or Pierre Ferrand.
DeKuyper Triple Sec
DeKuyper marks the first Dutch brand on this list of best orange liqueurs.
While this brand holds a storied history, today, it is best known for its ubiquitous bottles with the thick black band on the label.
DeKuyper Triple Sec and other products offer sweet liqueurs necessary for a fun and whimsical drink at an affordable price.
This type of orange liqueur provides the first introduction to the term triple sec. Triple sec provides a sweeter, less complex flavor than an orange liqueur, and triple sec also contains a lower alcohol content and lower price.
Choose triple sec when making a mixed drink where the layers of flavor may be more masked, like a mai tai or big buckets of Cadillac margaritas.
Bols Triple Sec
Another Dutch brand, Bols Triple Sec walks a tightrope between Drillaud and DeKuyper’s price point and Cointreau and Pierre Ferrand’s flavor profiles.
While still considered a triple sec, Bols Triple Sec delivers a more delicate flavor that can be sipped on its own. Buy Bols at specialty liquor stores at a very affordable price.
Bols Triple Sec provides a full mixology experience. In addition to offering gins, tequilas, and triple sec, Bols also offers ready-to-drink cocktails.
Check out this alcohol brand for online mixology classes and authentic recipes to make at home.
Grand Imperial Orange Liqueur
Unlike Cointreau’s clear appearance, Grand Imperial Orange Liqueur presents a honey-colored liqueur.
This orange liqueur delivers caramelized vanilla, fresh orange zest, and candied orange peel against a French cognac base.
Grand Imperial Orange Liqueur stands apart on this list for its deep flavors, reminiscent of toffee or roasted nuts.
Choose Grand Imperial Orange Liqueur if you’re looking for a flavor boost to your margaritas, sidecars, and cosmopolitans.
I also like to add Grand Imperial to boost other cocktails for an unexpected twist. Add this heavy liqueur to old-fashioned or a Manhattan to create a fresh spin that is all your own.