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Margarita drinkers - orange liqueurs


alphaiii
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I have always used a Grand Marnier type liqueur, often Gran Gala (it's just over 1/2 the price) but sometimes real Grand Marnier, in my margaritas.

I recently picked up a little 50ml mini of Cointreau to try in my margarita. I wanted to get a little more tequila taste to shine through.

Here's what I thought -

Gran Marnier/Gala is clearly sweeter, and I like the sweetness, but the cognac/brandy flavor overpowers the agave flavor too much.

Cointreau has adds good orange flavor without the cognac/brandy flavor, but is a bit more bitter than I like.

Now, since I'm too cheap ( :laugh: ) to buy Grand Marnier, I obviously won't buy Cointreau either. I was planning to use Marie Brizard triple sec, after reading JAZ's recommendation.

So I have 2 questions:

First, is Marie Brizard triple sec as bitter as Cointreau? I would guess it'd be a little sweeter and less bitter due to the lower proof, but not sickly sweet and artificial tasting like cheap triple secs. In this case, I think it'd be a perfect fit for my tastes.

And second, just out of curiosity, which orange liquor to you fellow margarita drinkers prefer - Grand Marnier (and the like) OR Cointreau (and the like)??

BTW, I did the taste comparison using both 1800 Reposado and Sauzua Hornitos (my usual margarita tequilas).

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I also would be interested in knowing which one is good. I've never found one that I liked particularly. I thought about just infusing some vodka with lots of orange zest. It doesn't have to steep all that long. That way the orange can be pretty strong and not taste artificial or nasty and I can use a simple syrup to control the sweetness. I made margaritas with a few strawberries, lime juice, lime infused vodka, and simple syrup. I used the 1800 Reposado. It turned out very good and wasn't too sweet. Then had the idea about making orange infused vodka for an orange liquor instead of triple sec or cointreau. I just never liked the flavored stuff from the shelf. Would an orange vodka really make that much of a difference in a margarita instead of triple sec or cointreau? Of course I must confess that I haven't tried Gran Marnier.

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trader joe's carries (or carried---you know how they are...) one called "sublime". kinda cool, tall bottle, and pretty good stuff, especially in a marg. it couldn't have been more than 8 bucks.

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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A rather odd question, but this thread doesn't make any sense without the answer: how much does a bottle of Cointreau run in the States? I'm from America, but am currently living in Japan, and didn't start drinking until I got here. I'm planning on returning in the next year or two, and wanted to know what I have to look forward to...

I know that some alcohols are cheaper here in Japan, but it seems that Cointreau in particular is repeatedly mentioned as being expensive.

In Japan, it's priced fairly similar to any other standard, decent liqueur or alcohol: it typically runs around 2000 yen for a standard bottle (700mL, I think). I picked up a bottle on sale for 1700 yen. The yen is currently at around 110yen to the dollar, so that's around $16.

It's really the only triple-sec availble here (Grand Marnier is available, though), so I don't have anything to compare the price to. Is it significantly more expensive in America, or are the other triple-secs just really, really cheap?

-------

Alex Parker

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I have used Marie Brizard in a margarita, and I think it is entirely interchangable with cointreau. Marie Brizard is 39% abv, that is hardly noticeable.

The PLCB catalog had it listed as 50 proof, so that is why I referred to it as a lower proof liqueur.

Won't be the last time their catalog is incorrect though.

Either way, even with the bitterness of the Cointreau, I still think I prefer it over Grand Marnier or Gran Gala. So I'll probably be picking up some Marie soon.

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There was a post in the limoncello thread that discussed using it in a margarita in lieu of an orange liqueur. I'm making my own limoncello and "tangerine-cello" now and am eagerly anticipating how they taste in a margarita! I'll post with the results.

Cointreau is about $27 here in Arizona for a 750. On the store-bought front, I vastly prefer Cointreau over Grand Marnier. GM is just too sweet for me.

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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Cointreau is around US$20/375mL here. I'd much rather put that money toward better tequila. By the way, I find 1800 too woody for good, fresh tasting margaritas. Silver or reposado tastes more like tequila to me.

Walt

Walt Nissen -- Livermore, CA
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Cointreau is around US$20/375mL here. I'd much rather put that money toward better tequila. By the way, I find 1800 too woody for good, fresh tasting margaritas. Silver or reposado tastes more like tequila to me.

Walt

Yeah Cointreau is just too expensive. That's why I'm going to go with the Marie Brizzard instead.

Which 1800 are you refering too? The Anejo is very "woody" and is definitely not a tequila I'd use in a margarita. It's good for sipping though, since it's incredibly smooth.

The Reposado (which is the one I used) makes a good margarita. I think I like Hornitos a little better though. I do plan to try the 1800 Silver at some point, I just have way too much tequila to justify buying another bottle.

I think the best margarita I've had was with Gran Centenario Reposado. I got it for like $20 in Mexico, but just the fact that it's $40-50 a bottle in the US makes me want to savor the bottle a little more instead of pouring it all into margaritas.

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Well alphaiii, you'll have to let us know how you like the Marie Brizzard. As for me, I'm gonna get some oranges and try making my own orange liqueur. I won't make it sweet. That way if I need something sweeter I can just add a little simple syrup when mixing a drink.

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I'm making my own limoncello and "tangerine-cello" now and am eagerly anticipating how they taste in a margarita!  I'll post with the results.

OMG, tangerine-cello......please DO post the results, in a brand new thread, with BIG CAPS. and a recipe! tangerine-cello.....i'm short of breath.

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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Yeah, I've heard people say they liked the silver better in a margarita and I will try it but the 1800 Reposado was on sale so that is what I got.  It made a very good margarita.

Glad you liked the 1800. I feel its definitely worth the extra 4-5 bucks over Cuervo Especial.

I hoping the LCB will put the silver on sale sometime soon. Maybe by them I will have polished off some of my tequila supply.

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Wow, the tangerine does sound wonderful! Wasn't it hard to get the zest without the pith in a tangerine? I thought the limes were tough. But lemons are much easier. You mentioned the lemoncello thread so I looked at it. I started one and added a little lime zest as mentioned. :biggrin: I'm gonna have to get more vodka so I can make that orange one. I do have plenty of the Priviet left but that stuff is too nasty to risk ruining my orange liqueur.

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Glad you liked the 1800. I feel its definitely worth the extra 4-5 bucks over Cuervo Especial.

I've never gotten the Cuerco Especial until last week when I got a little 50ml to compare with the 1800. I haven't opened it yet.

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Katie Loeb gets the credit for the "tangerine-cello" inspiration - her recipe is listed in the limoncello thread, and at the end of the recipe she suggested trying oranges using the same recipe as well. Seemed like a fine idea to me! I used a microplaner to zest the tangerines, which did the job very nicely.

I'd also like to weigh in with the reposado-in-margaritas love... my favorite old reliable reposado is Hornitos. I don't like anejo in margaritas, although I did infuse some El Tesoro anejo with pineapple which made a mighty fine slushy pineapple marg. :wub:

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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When cost isn't an option, I tend towards Cointreau and Hornitos for my margaritas. However, since I'm a poor canadian college student, I have to pay quite a premium for Hornitos :sad: Since purchasing both premium tequila and premium orange liqueur is beyond my buying power, I buy the tequila.

Here in Ontario, I use Meagher's Triple Sec as my orange liqueur.

It comes in cointreau-like squarish container, is bottled at 35% and runs about $10 cheaper than Cointreau.

Marie Brizard and McGuiness are also fine, but are lower proof.

Even better, if you have access to it, is Meagher's Gran Curacao.

Same bottle, Same price, same proof as above, but the contents are IMO easily on par with Cointreau.

Unfortunately, I have to make trips to Quebec to get my hands on it. :angry:

so, If you have access to it, Meagher's Gran Curacao is an exceptionally priced substitute for Cointreau .

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Ooooooh Viva! Those Pineapple Margaritas sound so yummy!

I love the Tangerine-cello idea. PLEASE post those results.

I made a Limon-rita for myself last night. About equal parts of limoncello and the cheap gold tequila I use for frozen margaritas in the summer time. A splash of Gran Gala and some sour mix I'd brought home from the bar to experiment with some cocktails at home. Whirled it up in the blender with just a few ice cubes so it was cold and frothy but not slushy frozen. Pretty refreshing!

I really like the Gran Gala in my drinks although I always have a bottle of regular Triple Sec around the house as well.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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  • 2 weeks later...
I have always used a Grand Marnier type liqueur, often Gran Gala (it's just over 1/2 the price) but sometimes real Grand Marnier, in my margaritas. 

I recently picked up a little 50ml mini of Cointreau to try in my margarita.  I wanted to get a little more tequila taste to shine through. 

Here's what I thought -

Gran Marnier/Gala is clearly sweeter, and I like the sweetness, but the cognac/brandy flavor overpowers the agave flavor too much. 

Cointreau has adds good orange flavor without the cognac/brandy flavor, but is a bit more bitter than I like. 

Now, since I'm too cheap ( :laugh: ) to buy Grand Marnier, I obviously won't buy Cointreau either.  I was planning to use Marie Brizard triple sec, after reading JAZ's recommendation. 

So I have 2 questions:

First, is Marie Brizard triple sec as bitter as Cointreau?  I would guess it'd be a little sweeter and less bitter due to the lower proof, but not sickly sweet and artificial tasting like cheap triple secs.  In this case, I think it'd be a perfect fit for my tastes. 

And second, just out of curiosity, which orange liquor to you fellow margarita drinkers prefer - Grand Marnier (and the like) OR Cointreau (and the like)??

BTW, I did the taste comparison using both 1800 Reposado and Sauzua Hornitos (my usual margarita tequilas).

--------------------------------------------------------

At the risk of sounding self-serving- (OK, no risk, I am self-serving)

I make an Orange Vodka called Orange V- we use Organic Grain and Florida Oranges to give it a real fruity and sweet orange flavor.

I;ve had several people send me recipes of Margarita variations where Orange V was used in place of Triple Sec.

My favorite thus far

2 oz. Patron Silver

1 oz. Orange V vodka

1/2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice

1/2 oz. Fresh Orange Juice

Shake over rocks and strain into chilled cocktail glass garnished with an orange wheel.

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