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May 18, 2012 11:06 AM

Patron Citronage

Based on recommendations here and elsewhere that Patron Citronage is a solid, less-expensive alternative to Cointreau, I picked up a bottle yesterday. Upon opening I gave it a sniff, and... TEQUILA! It smells like orange tequila. Which, I suppose, I should have expected coming from Patron.

But seriously, how can something with strong tequila aroma and flavor be considered a substitute for Cointreau (which is pretty far from tequila)? I personally hate tequila, and so I don't see Citronage working for me in place of Cointreau. It seems like it would drastically change the flavor of any cocktail that you substituted it in place of Cointreau. Are people really using it as a substitute in anything other than a margarita?

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  1. My understanding is that the market position is to serve as triple sec or curacao in tequila-based (or at least tequila-friendly) cocktails. Perhaps you can swap for something else with another cocktail lover.

    Another, perhaps more difficult, option would be to develop a taste for tequila. Alas, the good stuff is expensive.

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    6 Replies
    1. re: EvergreenDan

      Dan -developing a taste for tequila is not such torture if you are drinking good stuff, and I am actually coming across more and more excellent Tequilas that are not very expensive at all. Of course, I guess people in Massachusetts don't have the option of getting things shipped in so your selection is more limited.

      Just last weekend I tried Herencia Blanco, from the legendary NOM 1079, which I immediately put into my top 5 - and ordered a couple bottles from Hi time wine for $20. It was originally priced at $60 but is not a closeout, very nice hand-blown bottle too. I wouldn't pay $60 for it but it would still be a bargain at $30-35 where many other great blancos are, such as Casa Noble and Siete Leguas. NOM 1079 formerly supplied the juice for 1921, one of the best tequlas ever, and tequila nuts lust after treasure bottles.

      I also recently got a bottle of Muchote reposado, for $25, at the reco of nearly everyone at - very similar to Don Julio Reposado which is my favorite repo (so far), at a much lower price.

      I got a bottle of Toro de lidia extra anejo for $30 - also at the recommendation of someone at - and though the wood is very dominant, it is pretty good and incredibly cheap for an xa. Hard to find though.

      There are also two anejos that get extremely high marks at that are under $40 (quite cheap for a good anejo) - Don Pilar and Corrido. I have a bottle of don Pilar on it's way from Hitime, would probably be in my hand if I were home but I will get it tomorrow night.

      1. re: EvergreenDan

        What you say makes sense (that it's intended for tequila-based cocktails). The confusing thing is that many people don't mention that when recommending it - I've seen many reviews that just describe it as a budget substitute for Cointreau, without mentioning that it's based on an entirely different liquor base.

        I know that my dislike of tequila is something I can overcome and I'm sure I will at some point. But I've tasted and re-tasted the good stuff and just can't seem to appreciate it yet. I did the same with gin - didn't like it for a long time, then trained my palate to appreciate it and now am quite fond of certain bottles - so I know I can do it, but it just hasn't taken yet for tequila.

        1. re: monopod

          Is it in fact made from agave? Or tequila? I've seen nothing to suggest that it's made from any base other than a neutral grain spirit.

          1. re: monopod

            I suspect that people suggest it as a sub for Cointreau without any tequila reference because the vast majority of drinks made with Cointreau are Margaritas. (I have no data to back this up; it's just conjecture based on the fact that most of the people I know have no clue about most of the drinks that use orange liqueur, with the exception of the Cosmopolitan and the Margarita. And it seems like Margaritas are more popular by an order of magnitude.)

            1. re: monopod

              Monopod - when you say you've tasted "the good stuff" what brands would that be? There are many different flavor profiles, and many enthusiasts (including myself) prefer the more flavorful ones with a more aggressive agave presence. Based on what you have not liked in the past, I might be able to recommend something that might help you to develop a taste for it.

              Although Patron is not well regarded by tequila enthusiasts,mainly because it is far too pricey for what it is, it does have a very smooth and mellow profile - some call it "tequila lite". The new Espolon bottles are also quite smooth though IMO a step up from Patron and cost about half as much in most places.

              1. re: ncyankee101

                To add to yankee's recommendation for a mellow profile, I would add Camarena.

          2. I saw the title of this thread and thought, orange tequila. No surprise there.

            1. I thought the same thing when I opened it up and smelled it. It was fine (if not a bit redundant) in margaritas, but not very useful for anything else. I was kind of relieved when it was gone. I second the idea of trading it with a margarita-loving friend.

              1. Does Patron make anything that is NOT tequila? It seems kinda obvious.

                3 Replies
                1. re: wyogal

                  Their XO cafe liqueurs are tequila based, but the taste of the coffee and cocoa are so strong that you can barely tell. I am not a fan of Patron at all, but I did find the XOs decent for what thay are.

                  1. re: ncyankee101

                    I agree. We've enjoyed the XO at our place. Not lifechanging, but until Firelit(light, can't remember which) is nationwide, I'll make do.

                  2. This is really good to know, thanks for posting. I too have seen recommendations for Citronge as a Cointreau substitute (no idea why if what you say is true) and now I know not to buy it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: tinnywatty

                      I really wanted to like Citronge when I bought a bottle last Summer, but found it average at best [in comparison to Cointreau]. Although I did not get a "tequila taste," it was missing the clean back-in warming burn that Cointreau possesses.