The ever-popular Cosmopolitan cocktail is a delicious and relatively easy cocktail to make at home. It’s usually made with Cointreau or generic triple sec (we definitely recommend Cointreau, if we’re being honest). But what if you only have Grand Marnier in your pantry?


Cosmpolitan cocktail with lime juice, lemon twist, and Cointerau for balanced flavors by cody chan via unsplash copy

Photo by Cody Chan via



Is Grand Marnier the same as Cointreau? Well, no, not exactly. They are both orange liqueurs (typically referred to as triple sec), but they are a little different in style. Grand Marnier is aged from cognac and therefore considered a curaçao style triple sec, while Cointreau is unaged and made from a neutral spirit.

Because of this production difference, Grand Marnier is heavier and a bit sweeter. So can you still use it in your Cosmo recipe? Sure! We just have to make a little adjustment so you still have a balanced cocktail in the end.


exceptional spirits of Cointreau vs Grand Marnier in bottles on a table with 3:4 ounce in an old fashioned martini glass-10

Copyright A Bar Above



So, this one obviously isn’t for the Cosmopolitan cocktail purist. We’re not messing with it too much, but it’s not quite the classic cocktail, either.

The Grand Marnier is pretty fun in this recipe, actually– it’s sweetness plays with the tart flavor  cranberry juice in this delicious cocktail. Try serving it this way at your next cocktail hour or dinner party and see what your guests think.

Let’s look at the original recipe so we can compare, shall we?

  • 1.5 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 0.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 0.5 oz Cranberry Juice


Cosmopolitan cocktail with cranberry juice in a coupe cocktail glass by nikita tikhomirov via unsplash

Photo by Nikita-Tikhomirov via


This recipe changes with the addition of Grand Marnier in a couple of ways, according to Rob Harrah, our A Bar Above bartender:

  • First, Grand Marnier brings a little more weight and ABV than Cointreau does to the cocktail, which is why I dropped it from your traditional ¾ oz to ½ oz. I didn’t have to adjust much else because this cocktail already has a fair amount of brightness and acidity to help offset the Grand Marnier.
  • The overall mouthfeel and texture of this cocktail will change a bit because of the weight and sweetness of the Grand Marnier; however, it won’t overwhelm the cocktail much at all — It actually brings a bit more balance and depth.

OK, now let’s make a Cosmo with Grand Marnier and see what you think– Let us know in the comments how you like this version!



Cosmopolitan with Grand Marnier

A little twist on an 80s classic! See how to make the Cosmopolitan cocktail with Grand Marnier instead of Cointreau.
4.15 from 7 votes
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Course: Drinks


  • 1.5 oz Absolut Citron Vodka (see instructions below)
  • 0.5 oz Grand Marnier
  • 0.75 oz Lime Juice
  • 0.5 oz Cranberry Juice


  • Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice.
  • Shake well.
  • Strain into a coupe or cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with a lime wheel, orange peel, or even lemon twist.