Triple sec is a clear, orange-flavored liqueur that’s created from the peel of bitter and sweet oranges. Its name comes from the French word for “triple distilled,” which refers to the distillation process of the alcohol used in the liqueur.
Triple sec can taste like a combination of orange and lemon mixed with various herbs, fruit peels, and spices. It has a strong citrus flavor with hints of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, or coriander. Some brands feature flavors like caramel, vanilla, or honey as well.
The alcohol content of triple sec varies from 15% to 30% ABV, depending on which brand you choose to drink. Whether you like it straight or mixed into a cocktail, this versatile liqueur is one you’ll want in your liquor cabinet!
History of Triple Sec
The original recipe for Triple Sec was created by Jean-Baptiste Combier in 1834. He originally produced it from dried peels of the Caribbean Laraha oranges, grown on Curacao Island.
In 1875, M. Edouard Cointreau improved the distillation process and created his own style of Triple Sec. His triple-distilled product had a smoother flavor than the originals, and he trademarked the name Cointreau.
Although the French took credit for creating the Triple sec liqueur style, it was the Dutch who introduced the process of distilling orange peels to make the liqueur.
The Dutch started distilling liquor from orange peels and distributing them across Europe. The Island of Curacao became the center of Triple Sec production. The original Dutch Curacao liqueurs were made from Laraha oranges, native to Curacao Island.
More than a hundred years later, the French took inspiration from the Dutch and introduced the Triple Sec orange liqueurs.
How is Triple Sec made?
It starts with oranges, or, more specifically, their skins. Just before the oranges ripen, they’re harvested, and their peels are removed. The peels are stored until they dry out naturally (this takes about four to six weeks).
Once they’re fully dry, they’re distilled in neutral alcohol. Instead of using wine or sugarcane, beet sugar is used to maintain the neutrality of the liqueur.
The concentrated orange-flavored spirit is further neutralized by distilling it with water, spirit, and beet sugar. It is important to pick the oranges while they’re green and not fully harvested.
If the oranges are left to be ripened, the essential oils present in the peels are absorbed by the fruit. These essential oils are the main ingredient that brings the flavor to Triple Sec.
Are there different substitutes for Triple Sec?
The term triple sec encompasses many different types of orange-flavored liqueurs, which can vary in color (from clear to yellow), alcohol content (from 15% to 40% ABV), and flavor profile (from dry to sweet).
Even though they all fall under the triple sec umbrella, these differences drastically change how liquor tastes. Here are some popular brands of Triple Sec.
Cointreau is a very high-quality triple sec that has been produced in France since 1875. It’s made from a blend of sweet and bitter orange peels, which are macerated in alcohol before being distilled.
Triple sec has a high alcoholic content, usually around 15%. This means that it packs quite a punch when sipping it straight up or adding it to a martini, margarita, or other mixed drink.
Cointreau is also an orange-flavored liqueur, and it’s made in a similar way to its counterpart, Triple Sec. It’s stronger than triple sec at 40% alcohol by volume and was first produced in 1875 in Angers, France.
Cointreau is often used as a substitute for a triple sec since they are very similar. Cointreau has a stronger taste than triple sec because of its higher alcoholic content, so if you’re using it as a substitute, you may want to use less than what is recommended with triple sec.
De Kuyper Triple Sec
De Kuyper is a brand of triple sec that has been produced since the 1920s by the De Kuyper Royal Distillers Company in Schiedam, the Netherlands.
The taste is similar to other brands of triple sec, but it’s less sweet than most other brands and has more spice.
De Kuyper Triple Sec is made from dried orange peels, which have been macerated in alcohol to extract the essential oils. This extract is then blended with neutral spirit and sugar syrup.
The result is a deliciously rich liqueur with a deep orange color and a slight aftertaste of bitter orange peel.
Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, an orange-flavored liqueur and cognac-based spirit, is a popular drink used in several cocktails.
The liqueur was created in 1870 by Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle, who learned to distill from his father, a wine merchant. It’s about 40 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and typically around 80 proof, although some varieties are greater or lower than that.
Grand Marnier has a smooth flavor with hints of orange. It’s much more complex than the average Triple Sec because it is made with Cognac brandy and orange flavors. T
his gives it a deeper color and richer flavor than regular Triple Sec.
What is the difference between Triple Sec and Cointreau?
Triple sec is a colorless, orange-flavored liqueur that gained popularity in the mid to late 1800s. It is made from dried peels of Laraha oranges found in the Caribbean islands.
As a result, the orange flavor is quite pronounced. The name “triple sec” comes from distillation, which is done three times.
On the other hand, Cointreau has been around since 1875 and is a blend of sweet and bitter orange peels and sugar beets, herbs, and spices.
Cointreau uses both sweet and bitter oranges instead of just one or the other, adding to its complexity.
Both triple sec and Cointreau are produced by macerating (soaking) orange peels in alcohol for up to two weeks to extract as much flavor as possible. Then it’s distilled again before being filtered and bottled.
Unlike triple sec, Cointreau is not just one brand of liqueur; it’s also an original type of liqueur that can be used as a substitute for triple sec.
Is Triple Sec Gluten-free?
Yes, Triple Sec is gluten-free. Triple Sec is made with distilled neutral grain alcohol (gluten-free) and flavored with bitter and sweet orange peel.
Triple Sec contains absolutely no wheat ingredients, making it a suitable choice for gluten-tolerant consumers.
Triple Sec Prices, Variations, and Sizes
The best-selling triple sec in America costs $8.99 for 750 ml, and it’s made by Hiram Walker. The cheapest triple sec costs $4.99 for 1 liter, and it’s made by Bols.
The most expensive triple sec price point comes from “Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge.” It costs $36.99 for 375 ml, and it’s made by Grand Marnier.
The second-most expensive triple sec in America is called “De Kuyper Triple Sec.” It costs $17.99 for 750 ml, and it’s made by De Kuyper Royal Distillers USA Inc.
The original Triple Sec is easy to find in your local grocery stores and liquor stores. Triple Sec is also available at cheap prices on Amazon. You can buy a Cointreau from its official website at a price starting from 20$ to 150$.
Following are the prices of some of the most famous triple sec bottles:
|Cointreau Triple Sec Orange Liqueur||750 ml||$30|
|Triple Sec by Bols||750 ml||$5|
|Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge||750 ml||$30|
|Grand Marnier Cordon Jaune||1 L||$50|
|Grand Marnier Quintessence||750 ml||$800|
|Grand Marnier Cuvée Louis Alexandre||700 ml||$70|
|Grand Marnier Cuvée du Centenaire||700 ml||$145|
|Grand Marnier Cuvée 1880||750 ml||$350|
Is Triple Sec Vegan?
Not only is Triple Sec vegan, but it’s also made from common ingredients and infused with organic orange peels.
Although most types of liquor are not considered vegan, Triple Sec is one of several brands that are free of animal byproducts.
What is the best way to drink Triple Sec?
Triple sec is a liqueur that is a staple of many popular cocktails. This liquor is made by distilling dried orange peels with alcohol. It has a potent, citrusy flavor and aroma.
Triple sec is a versatile ingredient because it complements many different spirits and juices. While you can certainly drink triple sec straight, it’s not designed to be sipped on its own.
It’s a key component in many famous cocktails, such as the Cosmopolitan, Kamikaze, and White Lady. When mixed with other ingredients, the strong flavor of triple sec balances the taste of the cocktail.
Top 3 Triple Sec Cocktail recipes
Triple sec is an orange-flavored liqueur used in many popular mixed drinks. It has a sweet taste, but it is not very strong and has relatively low alcohol content compared to other liqueurs.
This makes Triple Sec an ideal base for different cocktails and margaritas. Following are some of the most popular mixed drinks made with Triple Sec!
The most popular cocktail that uses Triple Sec is the sidecar, a blend of Cognac, lemon juice, and Triple Sec, in which the sweet taste of Triple Sec helps balance the bitter taste of Cognac and lemon juice.
To make a sidecar, fill a shaker with ice. Add 2 tbsp. Triple Sec and Cognac and 1 tbsp. of lemon juice. Combine the ingredients together and strain the mixture into a cocktail glass with a sugared rim. The sidecar is often garnished with an orange slice or peel.
The reason why this cocktail is so popular is because of its beauty and taste. The ingredients are all very easy to come by, and it has a lovely rich taste with a hint of sweetness, which makes it perfect for an after-dinner drink or cocktail party.
The Cosmopolitan Triple Sec recipe is said to be one of the most popular cocktails. It is a fun and simple drink that can be enjoyed on many different occasions, making it a must-have in your repertoire of drinks.
To make a Cosmopolitan, fill a shaker with ice cubes, 1 tbsp. vodka, ½ tbsp. Triple Sec, 1 tsp. Cranberry juice, and lemon juice. Shake, strain, and serve. Don’t forget to top the drink with an orange peel!
The tartness of the cranberry juice is offset by the sweetness of the Triple Sec while the lime keeps it from getting too sweet. It’s a perfect balance that’s not too heavy and can be made in a variety of quantities to serve anywhere from one to many!
The Kamikaze cocktail isn’t very complex in terms of its ingredients: vodka, lime juice, and triple sec. However, this combination makes for a very refreshing drink. The citrus flavors from the lime juice really complement the sweetness of the triple sec and create a delicate flavor balance that’s ideal when you’re looking for a light drink to enjoy on its own or between courses at dinner.
The recipe calls for equal parts lime juice, vodka, and Triple Sec. Shake all the ingredients until combined and pour into a martini glass. Decorate your glass with a lemon wedge, and your refreshing cocktail is ready to be served!