Created in the 19th century by Dutch settlers on the island of Curacao, orange liqueur has made its way from through the years and become a staple of almost every bar as it is now used in simple classic cocktails to the obscure and odd.
Generally speaking, there are two types of orange liqueur: triple sec and curacao, but no one is absolutely certain which came to fruition first. Which doesn’t really matter at this point because they both seemingly do the same thing, right? Exactly. Here are my top ten favorite cocktails that make use of orange liqueur.
Many people seem to forget that in addition to lime, salt, agave or simple syrup and well, tequila, there is also orange liqueur. But without this essential ingredient the classic margarita would fall short on so many different levels. Orange liqueur plays such a crucial part in the making of a margarita in that without it, this cocktail would have an overbearingly tart and spirit-forward taste. But with it the cocktail becomes balanced with and smooth with a bit of a loose tang.
3 oz Tequila
2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
1 oz orange liqueur
A salted rim
And, of course, ice
Fill a cocktail shaker with all the ingredients mentioned above and shake for about 30 seconds or until a frost generates on the outside of the shaker. Strain the contents of the shaker into a rocks glass filled with new ice and a salted rim and enjoy!
Who doesn’t love a classic Mai Tai? I envision myself sitting under the warm yellow sun of summer with the surf booming up to my feet as I sip a Mai Tai and relax in the sand. Now, not everyone will agree that the Mai Tai needs orange liqueur as an ingredient, but, if you want a real Mai Tai done the real way (San Francisco barman and rum expert Martin Cate swears by this recipe) than you’ll want to look no further than his famous recipe right here.
¾ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz orange curacao
¼ simple syrup
2 oz white rum
½ oz dark rum float
Combine all the ingredients except the dark rum float with fresh ice in a shaker and shake until frosty. Strain into a fresh glass with new ice and top off with the ½ oz dark rum float. Here you should have a nice distinction of color in the base o the cocktail (should almost look like a darker version orange juice) and the dark rum which will sit at the top of the cocktail to give an added jab. Cheers.
Think whatever you want about this timeless cocktail, but the fact remains. It’s on here for a reason. Light, smooth and fruity, The Cosmo is sure to delight vodka lovers everywhere.
2 oz vodka
1 oz cranberry juice cocktail
¾ oz fresh lime juice
¾ oz triple sec
And an orange twist for showmanship
Combine the vodka, cranberry juice, lime juice and triple sec into a shaker with ice and shake until the outside of the shaker becomes frosty. Grab a chilled martini glass and strain up into the glass. Add the orange twist for good measure and don’t forget, pinky up.
The Singapore Sling was first created at the Long Bar in the confines of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore in the early 1900s. It became known almost instantly for it bright pink complexion and frothy fruit punch top. With a little bit of everything in this one, the Singapore Sling has a fruity island sort of vibe that will make you want to shuffle across your kitchen in delight.
1 oz fresh pineapple juice
¾ oz gin
½ oz fresh lime juice
¼ oz orange liqueur (Grand Mariner is best for this one)
¼ cherry liqueur
1 dash peach-vanilla bitters
A dash of club soda
Combine the pineapple juice, gin, lime juice, orange liqueur, cherry liqueur, Benedictine, and bitters in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously until thoroughly chilled and strain into a highball glass or pint glass if you don’t have all these excessive glasses laying around. A rocks glass works too, just save the rest. Top with club soda and garnish with a cherry if you so desire.
What is so seemingly amazing about the Sidecar is that this cocktail remains as popular today as it was a century ago. Another amazing component of this cocktail is that it can be made with more than one base spirit but I wholeheartedly recommend whiskey as it will give a classic sour feel but with a jolt of electricity running through it.
2 oz bourbon
1 oz orange liqueur
¾ oz lemon juice
And a lemon or orange twist as a garnish
Here, you’ll want to gather all of your ingredients and pour into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake the ingredients well for about 30 seconds and then strain into a chilled cocktail glass up or without ice. Adding ice will only dilute the flavor of the cocktail. Garnish with a lemon or orange twist and you are ready to rock n’ roll.
If you love the classic Manhattan like I do but don’t mind a little citrus twist on this classic cocktail, then give The Grand Manhattan a whirl. I promise you won’t be disappointed. What’s different here is that orange is one of the central flavors here and this cocktail doesn’t seem as spirit-forward as the classic. A perfect brunch cocktail to enjoy.
1 ½ oz bourbon
¼ oz orange liqueur
¼ oz sweet vermouth
1 oz orange juice
And an orange wheel, slice or twist garnish
Gather all the ingredients together and pour into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake hard for 30 seconds at least and strain into a chilled martini glass without ice. Garnish your cocktail and enjoy responsibly.