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What cocktails are famous for orange liqueur?

Orange liqueurs like Cointreau, Grand Marnier, and Triple Sec are popular ingredients in many classic cocktails. Their sweet, citrusy flavor blends beautifully with spirits, juices, and other mixers. Let’s explore some of the most famous and delicious cocktails featuring orange liqueur!

1. Margarita

The Margarita is undoubtedly the most popular tequila cocktail and a staple of Mexican bars and restaurants. This tangy, refreshing drink typically contains tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice. Traditional recipes call for equal parts tequila, orange liqueur like Cointreau or Triple Sec, and fresh lime juice. The ingredients are shaken with ice and strained into a chilled glass rimmed with salt. Margaritas are often served straight up but can also be blended with ice into frozen Margaritas.

2. Sidecar

The Sidecar is a vintage cocktail that became popular during Prohibition. It contains brandy, orange liqueur, and lemon juice in equal proportions. The ingredients are shaken over ice and strained into a cocktail glass rimmed with sugar. Sidecars highlight the complementary flavors of citrus and oak from the orange liqueur and brandy. This elegant cocktail is garnished with an orange twist.

3. White Lady

Closely related to the Sidecar, the White Lady swaps out the brandy for gin. It combines gin, orange liqueur, and lemon juice in equal parts. The cocktail is shaken briskly with ice and strained into a chilled coupe glass. The White Lady dates back to 1919 and was a favorite in London speakeasies. The light, frothy citrus flavor makes it a refreshing aperitif.

4. Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge

Grand Marnier is a premium orange liqueur made from fine cognacs blended with distilled essence of tropical oranges. Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge is the original blend and iconic orange liqueur. Its complex flavors and smooth finish make it delicious enough to drink straight. Grand Marnier is spectacular in cocktails but also shines solo served chilled or over ice.

5. Mai Tai

The Mai Tai is a Polynesian-style cocktail invented in the 1940s in California. It combines rum, orange liqueur, orgeat syrup, and lime juice. Recipes vary, but most contain equal parts white rum, dark rum, orange liqueur, and lime juice. The ingredients are shaken with ice and finished with a sprig of mint. The Mai Tai offers robust rum flavors balanced by sweet and tart citrus notes.

6. Orange Whisky Sour

For a refreshing twist on a whiskey sour, the Orange Whisky Sour incorporates orange liqueur. It brings together whiskey, orange liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup, and orange slice. The ingredients are shaken vigorously with ice and strained over a large ice cube in an old fashioned glass. The bittersweet bourbon contrasts nicely with the bright citrus flavors.

7. Alaska Cocktail

This elegant vintage cocktail dates to the early 1900s. The Alaska Cocktail combines gin, yellow chartreuse, and orange liqueur in equal ratios. The ingredients are shaken and strained into a coupe glass. Some recipes also include egg white for added froth and foam. The herbal chartreuse and citrusy orange liqueur soften the botanical bite of gin.

8. Remember the Maine

Remember the Maine pays tribute to the 1898 sinking of the USS Maine battleship, which contributed to the start of the Spanish-American War. This cocktail contains American rye whiskey, Italian vermouth, cherry brandy, and orange liqueur. It’s stirred gently and garnished with a cherry. The bittersweet flavors and deep red hue make this a bold, sophisticated drink.

9. Cosmopolitan

The Cosmopolitan became a sensation after appearing on the HBO series “Sex and the City.” Vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice, and lime juice are shaken vigorously and strained into a chilled martini glass. It’s garnished with a flamed orange peel. Tart, sweet, and fruity flavors make this pink cocktail immensely quaffable and fun.

10. Brooklyn

The Brooklyn combines rye whiskey, dry vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and orange bitters. It’s stirred gently and served straight up with a maraschino cherry garnish. This refreshing drink highlights the spicy rye against sweet cherry and citrus from the bitters and maraschino liqueur. The Brooklyn became popular in the late 1800s.

11. Blood Orange Mezcal Margarita

For a smoky twist on the Margarita, blood orange juice and mezcal add delightful flavors. It brings together mezcal, blood orange juice, lime juice, orange liqueur, and agave nectar. The cocktail is shaken with ice and poured into a glass rimmed with chili-salt. The combination of tangy citrus, sweet orange liqueur, and smoldering mezcal makes for a killer Margarita.

12. Bamboo

The Bamboo combines sherry and dry vermouth with orange liqueur in equal parts. Angostura bitters are dashed on top. The cocktail is stirred gently and strained into a chilled Nick & Nora glass. Garnished with a lemon twist, the Bamboo features layers of nutty, floral, and citrus flavors for sophisticated sipping.

13. Mezcal Greyhound

For a smoky, south-of-the-border twist on a Greyhound, mezcal steps in for the vodka. Mezcal, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and orange liqueur are combined. The cocktail is poured over fresh ice and garnished with a grapefruit wedge. The bittersweet grapefruit juice pairs sublimely with the orange liqueur and smoky mezcal.

14. Orange Blossom

This floral gin cocktail stars orange liqueur and orange juice. It mixes together gin, orange juice, orange liqueur, and lemon juice. The ingredients are shaken and strained into a chilled cocktail glass. Some recipes include a dash of orange bitters. TheOrange Blossom highlights the botanicals of gin beautifully with orange and lemon citrus flavors.

15. Hunter’s Moon

Perfect for autumnal sipping, the Hunter’s Moon contains rye whiskey, orange liqueur, apple cider, and maple syrup. It’s shaken vigorously with ice and strained into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnished with an orange slice, this drink balances sweet, spicy and earthy flavors for a cozy whiskey cocktail.


Orange liqueurs like Cointreau and Grand Marnier provide sweet, bright citrus flavor that blends seamlessly with various spirits, juices, and mixers in cocktails. From tropical rum drinks like the Mai Tai to sophisticated gin cocktails like the Alaska, orange liqueur contributes distinct flavor and character. Timeless classics like the Margarita and Sidecar spotlight orange liqueur beautifully. For vibrant citrus flavor in cocktails, reach for orange liqueurs like Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or Triple Sec.