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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Homemade Grand Marnier the sugar-free way (LC, GF, SF)

Since we are starting to go into fall and the holidays are ever closer, it’s time to set those things that take a long time to “age” going, so it can be ready when we need it. One of those things is a homemade Grand Marnier. I don’t generally drink alcohol, but for cooking, baking and for that extra special something, I love to use a little alcohol! And filled into a decorative bottle,  it makes a really nice gift too!
I have tried this with xylitol before, but never with erythritol. I am not sure how or if  the re-crystalizing properties of the erythritol result in separation of floating chunks of crystalized zest, but I am hoping that the alcohol may inhibit that. The glycerine will certainly help too!
So this year I am making half with xylitol and half with erythritol and by about Thanksgiving time, we’ll know for sure if erythritol is a good substitute or not!

{Here’s the mix, ready to go steeping in my closet for 1 month!}


6 oranges, organic (since we’ll be using the zest!)
3/4 cup xylitol (or 1 cup erythritol, powdered - see note above)
2 1/2 cups brandy
1 cup vodka
2/3 cup Monin unflavored sweetener base or triple sec flavored sugar-free syrup
1 tbsp. vegetable glycerine, optional (creates a finished product with a more velvety feel in the mouth and it inhibits recrystallizing)


Wash and zest the oranges, making sure there is no white on the zest. It will make the liquor bitter! Using a rasp works best and the quickest in my experience!
In a mid-sized to large shallow bowl or a mortar, sprinkle half of the xylitol over zest and mash together with the back of a spoon, or with a pestle.

Continue mashing and adding a little xylitol at a time until paste-like texture is formed.

Put the mashed zest, brandy, vodka and the vanilla bean in a glass container, like a large mason jar. Add the sugar-free syrup and glycerine to the orange mixture. Cover and steep  for about four weeks in a cool and dark place. Shake the jar up about every week or so.

{Here they are after things settled down a bit, about a week in.}

After four weeks, strain through a fine-mesh stainless steel strainer into a large measuring cup or a bowl with a spout.  Discard zest and put vanilla bean aside. *
Rinse the strainer and jar that you used to age the liqueur.
Line the mesh strainer with cheesecloth, a clean tea towel, or a paper coffee filter and pour the liqueur through coffee filter within fine mesh stainless steel strainer. This can take some time and you can speed up the process by frequently changing the coffee filters!
Pour everything back into "aging jar”, close  jar tightly, and continue aging for an additional 1-3 months & up to 5 months in your refrigerator!
I’ll post some photos once the sugar-free Grand Marnier is ready!

*You can reuse the vanilla bean in spice mixes or scenting/flavoring some granular erythritol. Just let it dry, then add it to a container with granular erythritol to give you a lovely orangey vanilla flavor. Or dry the bean completely and use it in the Delicious Pinch Spice Mix.

And here is the finished product on December 16th, 2011.

It doesn't get to the clear, dark-brown stage with this method and these ingredients that are the mark of the real thing, but the flavor is very good and it works in all the recipes just like the real thing! I hope you will try it too! Let me know how it turns out for you!

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  1. I really enjoy your creative recipes! I check every few days to see what recipe you have created and I am amazed. Thank you for taking the time to share!

  2. This looks really good. The reason it doesn't get to the "dark brown stage" is because you started with clear liquor (vodka) when Gran Marnier is actually based on cognac. So if you want it to be really authentic (and have that brown color) start with a moderately priced cognac or even brandy. I'm going to try this...I'll check back in 3 months, assuming you still keep up this blog. :-) Happy holidays!

  3. Hi there! Any idea on the carb count of this recipe? What about using Truvia/Stevia for it? Can't wait to try it!

  4. No, you would need to work out your own carb count based on your ingredients.

    You could use truvia/stevia, but I haven't tried it for the following reasons. Stevia can develop an unpleasant after taste in combination with certain things, so I wouldn't want to risk that.
    You also wouldn't get the same consistency. It will just be sweetened vodka. The xylitol/erythritol thickens it a bit and gives it more of the liquor mouthfeel. Stevia, other liquid or highly concentrated sweeteners, or anything maltodextrin based, doesn't do that.
    Also, you really need the bulk that the xylitol/erythritol lends for the mashing of the peel ... stevia/truvia doesn't have enough bulk.
    So, yes, you can use stevia, theoretically, but the result would be quite different and it may not work out at all.
    Having said that though, these days (this recipe was from a long time ago) you can get quite a few low carb sweeteners that combine stevia and erythritol/xylitol and those would of course work just fine!


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Birgit Kerr