Difference between orange flavoured liqueurs Contreau, Triple sec, Grand Marnier and Curacao

Finding differences of orange flavoured liqueurs usually lead to common misconceptions and confusions due to the fact that the origins of triple sec or curacao are not well known. So we gonna instead focus on taste and how to use each of them efficiently in a cocktails.


Curacao gets its name from island near Venezuelan coast and the true Curacao is the only liqueur made of the peels of the Laraha fruit which is Bitter orange. Curacao is usually Brandy or Rum based liqueur.Curacao comes in different colourings with blue to be the most famous one but the most decent brand of Curacao is Pierre Ferrand brand Dry Curacao.

orange flavoured liqueur

Typical tasting notes on the nose orange, creamy vanilla and marzipan aromas dominate. It’s taste is silky smooth, rich, sweet and orangey upon entry and dry and spicy on the finish.

In terms of style Curacao is the closest to Grand Marnier because they are both brandy/cognac based liqueurs although Grand Marnier is much heavier and sweeter than a pleasant bitter taste of Dry Curacao.

As an example how to use it in a cocktail Curacao island

Grand Marnier

Orange flavoured liqueur

Grand Marnier is Curacao style cognac based orange flavoured liqueur which comes from France. 

It does have a deeper and more complex flavour profile than many triple secs with vanilla and oaky elements(which comes from aging process) and orange marmalade-y finish.

When mixed in a cocktails in needs to be used carefully because it doesn’t always work when mixed with a lighter spirits but most of the time it adds great complex flavours and new depth.


Orange flavoured liqueurTriple sec style of orange flavoured liqueur from France with a sugar beet alcohol as its base. 

It’s made from sweet and bitter orange peels sourced from all over the world providing great balance of sweetness and freshness.

Although it’s triple sec style(sec means dry) the palate is intensely sweet, well rounded
profile of predominantly orange essence and gently spicy with drier finish.

Cointreau is used in large number of classic cocktails and works very well to balance citrus juice in a cocktails.


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