It’s used to add flavor to some of the most widely consumed cocktails. But is Cointreau gluten free? Or is not compatible with a gluten-free diet?
From margaritas to mimomas, I use often Cointreau to elevate cocktails and add some robust orange flavoring.
But if you have Celiac disease or another gluten intolerance, can you still enjoy this mixer?
Yes, Cointreau is gluten free. This type of triple sec is comprised of natural ingredients including orange peels, water, and sugar, none of which contain gluten.
In this post, I’ll cover what Cointreau is and common uses for it. And I’ll reveal if other popular orange liqueurs like Grand Marnier and Triple Sec are also free of gluten.
What is Cointreau?
Cointreau is a colorless, orange-flavored liqueur (or sweetened liquor) often used as an aperitif, or a drink enjoyed before a meal. But it can also be used following meals as a digestif.
Developed in the late 19th century in Saint-Barthélemy-d’Anjou, France, it’s made from sweet and bitter orange peels as well as sugar beets. That sugar is what is converted to alcohol. If fact, Cointreau has an alcohol content of 40% ABV.
Is Cointreau gluten free?
Cointreau does not contain gluten, as it features no gluten-containing ingredients. That means it is considered gluten free and should be a safe option if you have a gluten sensitivity, gluten allergy, or Celiac disease.
Is Cointreau Noir gluten free?
Cointreau Noir is made with a blend of Cointreau orange liqueur and Rémy Martin cognac. The cognac adds a unique flavor depth and spicy aromas, including notes of vanilla, gingerbread, and honey, due to aging in oak barrels.
Like original Cointreau, Cointreau Noir is considered gluten free, as neither Cointreau orange liqueur nor the cognac used in the “Noir” blend contains gluten. And the richer complexity of the blend makes it a delicious option for cocktails and on its own with ice.
How do you use Cointreau?
The most common use for Cointreau is as a mixer with other alcoholic beverages and fruit juices in cocktails. Add it to a classic Margarita along with tequila, lime juice, and some optional sweetener.
It’s a great option in a Cosmopolitan with vodka, cranberry juice, and lime juice to give the drink a citrusy kick.
It also is added to Sidecar cocktails with cognac, lemon juice, and sugar.
And if you prefer fizzy drinks, try a French 75 with Cointreau, Champagne, gin, and lemon juice.
You can also use Cointreau in cakes and sorbets to add some subtle citrus flavor.
What is triple sec?
While Cointreau is a kind of triple sec, it is a proprietary blend of orange liqueur. Conversely, triple sec is a broader term for an orange liqueur produced by several manufacturers. And it’s made in varying strengths. Varieties can range in alcohol volume from 15% to 40%.
Made from dried orange peels, triple sec is used as a mixer in a range of cocktails to add sweet, tangy citrus fruit flavors.
Cointreau vs triple sec
Simply put, Cointreau is one of the most popular brands of triple sec. But it has a more complex flavor profile and depth. While you may notice significant differences in taste and strength from one triple sec to another, Cointreau is a specific blend of orange peels and aromatics that is always produced with an ABV of 40%.
Generally, triple sec has a very sweet taste and a more syrupy consistency than Cointreau.
In most cases, Cointreau is a great substitute in recipes that call for triple sec. And you may notice a better balance of orange flavor when swapping Cointreau for triple sec in cocktails.
Is triple sec gluten free?
Yes, triple sec is among the list of gluten free liqueurs as it’s made with orange peels, beet sugar, and neutral grain alcohol. Though neutral spirits can be made from gluten-containing grains like wheat or barley, the distillation process removes gluten protein.
That means triple sec is generally safe for those with gluten intolerances or Celiac disease.
Is Cointreau the same as Grand Marnier?
Like Cointreau, Grand Marnier is an orange-flavored liqueur. But Grand Marnier is made from a blend of cognac and bitter orange liqueur.
It’s somewhat sweeter with a more robust and oaky flavor than Cointreau. That’s because the cognac used to make Grand Marnier is aged in oak casks.
Both Grand Marnier and Cointreau have 40% ABV.
Despite their similarities, the spirits aren’t interchangeable. Grand Marnier can be heavier and more intense than Cointreau. So if you’re in a pinch and need to substitute it in mixed drinks, it’s a good idea to use a bit less Grand Marnier so you don’t end up with an overpoweringly intense orange or oaky flavor in your drink.
For comparison, Grand Marnier is closer in taste and style to Cointreau Noir rather than original Cointreau.
Like other alcoholic spirits, it’s best to store Cointreau in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight like a pantry or liquor cabinet. Be sure to close the bottle tightly after each use to prevent oxidation and to ensure the best flavor and aroma over time. Cointreau has a long shelf life. It can keep for up to 2 years after opening. Unopened bottles of Cointreau can last indefinitely.
Yes, it is gluten free. On its website, Grand Marnier states that the spirit does not contain gluten. And like other types of orange-flavored liqueurs including Cointreau and triple sec, Grand Marnier is made with no gluten ingredients.
More gluten-related answers
Wondering whether some of your other favorite drinks are gluten free? Tap the posts below.