The 8 Best Substitutes For Dry Curaçao

What can I use instead of dry curaçao? The best substitutes for dry curaçao are orange liqueurs, like Grand Mariner, triple sec, Cointreau, and blue caraçao, or bitters, like Aperol and Picon. Non-alcoholic alternatives are orange juice and extract.

Dry curaçao is an orange liqueur containing brandy flavored with bitter orange peel, initially made in Curaçao in the Dutch Antilles in the nineteenth century. Different brands of dry çuracao taste citrussy, spicy, bitter, or sweetish, with an AVB of 15-40%. Use dry curaçao as a digestif, in cocktails with rum and brandy, or to flavor baked goods. Here are the eight best dry curaçao substitutes.

The Best Dry Curaçao Substitutes

Grand Marnier

The best substitute for dry curaçao is Grand Marnier.

Grand Marnier is a French brand of orange-flavored liqueur made in the curaçao tradition. Created in 1880, this liqueur consists of 51% Cognac and 49% orange liqueur, with an ABV of 40%.

A luxury, high-end product, Grand Marnier is aged in oak casks, producing a smooth and lush beverage.

Fans enjoy the sweet orange and spice notes, tempered with Cognac’s hazelnut and toffee undertones, and appreciate its warming effect.

Grand Marnier is a tasty alternative for dry curaçao in chocolate bakes and poultry dishes.

Enjoy Grand Marnier as a sipping beverage after a meal instead of dry caraçao.

If you enjoy the brandy undertone, you can add it to cocktails like the Grand Mimosa (with prosecco and orange juice), Margarita, Manhattan, or Sidecar.

Replace dry curaçao with similar quantities of Grand Marnier.

Triple Sec

Another handy substitute for dry curaçao is triple sec.

Triple sec is a French orange liqueur, with “sec” or “dry” referring to its comparatively low sugar levels. (In reality, it isn’t three times as dry as curaçao.)

The liqueur was originally made from a neutral spirit derived from sugar beets and flavored with bitter orange peel. Triple sec is now produced by various brands and from varying ingredients (including artificial flavoring).

Good quality triple sec is clear and strongly citrus-forward, like an orange-flavored vodka.

It can vary from 15-40% ABV and tends to be sweeter and lighter than dry curaçao. However, lower-quality, generic orange liqueur is often called triple sec. It is to be avoided as it is syrupy and cloying.

Use equal amounts of triple sec instead of dry curaçao when making a jug of Margaritas or tropical sangria for a party.


For a high-end alternative to dry curaçao, enjoy Cointreau.

Cointreau is a brand of French orange liqueur made in the triple sec tradition (although no longer labeled as triple sec).

The same proprietary recipe has been used since the 1800s. The clear liqueur is known to contain sugar beet alcohol and sweet and bitter orange peels.

With a higher ABV of 40%, Cointreau has a crisp orange flavor, with a complex bitter-sweet balance missing from poor quality triple sec. It is smooth, with a fragrant, spicy aroma.

Sip Cointreau neat or on the rocks as a digestif instead of dry curaçao. However, it comes into its own in classic cocktails, such as the Cosmopolitan, Margarita, or Sidecar.

Use Cointreau instead of dry curaçao in a 1:1 ratio.

Blue Curaçao

Try blue curaçao as an alternative to dry orange curaçao.

Blue curaçao is a bright blue variety of this orange liqueur and is generally thick, syrupy, and sweet.

If you prefer a light, fruity addition to cocktails, enjoy blue curaçao in the Blue Hawaii or Blue Lagoon. Note that your cocktails will be sweeter and an unusual blue.

Replace dry curaçao with the same amount of blue curaçao.


Aperol is a handy replacement for dry curaçao.

An amaro or Italian-style bitter liqueur, Aperol has been made since 1919 and is easily recognizable by its orange color.

The amaro contains cinchona, rhubarb, gentian, and bitter orange, giving it a refreshingly tart flavor.

Aperol is a delicious aperitif, most commonly drunk in the Aperol Spritz, where it combines with soda water and prosecco. Try Aperol over ice or with soda instead of dry curaçao.

As a low-alcohol alternative to dry curaçao, Aperol can be enjoyed in the same or greater measures.


For an unusual dry curaçao substitute, try Picon.

A bitter French liqueur, Picon falls in the tradition of herbal medicinal beverages. In the 1930s, Gaétan Picon was exposed to malaria as a soldier in Algeria and created Picon as a treatment.

The drink contains cinchona, from which quinine is derived – known today to treat malaria.

Picon also contains gentian root and bitter orange peel, giving it a robustly bitter orange flavor.

If you enjoy the taste of amari, try Picon along with beer or mixed into white wine. Try Picon in a Brooklyn (a Manhattan twist), a Paper Plane, or a Margarita.

Use the same amount of Picon to replace dry curaçao.

Orange Juice

For a non-alcoholic alternative to dry curaçao, try orange juice.

You can use either fresh orange juice or orange juice concentrate to add tangy citrus flavor to bakes and duck dishes instead of dry curaçao.

Add grated orange zest if you’re squeezing your own orange juice.

Orange juice makes a refreshing beverage over ice or combined with soda water. Replace dry curaçao with orange juice in mocktails. You’ll have the same zingy orange taste without the bitterness that dry curaçao provides.

Use orange juice to taste in beverages or two tablespoons of orange juice concentrate for every two tablespoons of dry curaçao.

Orange Extract

Another non-alcoholic substitute for dry caraçao is orange extract.

Like all concentrated extracts and essences, orange extract delivers a punch of citrus and a warm depth of flavor to bakes, savory dishes, and beverages. The best quality orange extract is made with orange peel, but cheaper varieties use artificial additives.

Use orange extract to flavor cakes, cookies, frosting, ice cream, and mocktails.

You need only a couple of drops of orange extract to create an intense flavor.

If the dry curaçao forms part of the liquid in a recipe, replace every 2 tablespoons liqueur with 2 tablespoons orange juice and ½ teaspoon orange extract.