A variety of Curacao liqueur (an orange liqueur made from dried peels of oranges, both bitter and sweet), triple sec is a sweet and colorless orange-flavored liqueur with a more powerful, zesty flavor than orange curacaos. Triple Sec’s etymology is far from clear, but we do know it originated in France. “Sec” is the French word for dry, so the “sec” may refer to the process of distilling the schnapps three times, it possessing triple the flavor, being three times as dry, or is simply an effect of marketing over the years. Logic falls into the latter camp as contrary to many claims, Triple Sec is not distilled three times, nor is it three times as dry as Curacao.
Triple Sec’s ABV typically ranges between 20 and 40%, however most quality Triple Sec ranges at the upper end of that spectrum. Triple sec is consumed neat as a digestif, on the rocks, but most often as an ingredient in a cocktail. Famous cocktails containing Triple Sec include the Corpse Reviver #2, Cosmopolitan, margarita, Long Island Iced Tea, sangria, Side Car, Cosmopolitan, and the White Lady.
Widely available brands of Triple Sec include Cointreau (widely believed as the best), Mr. Stacks, Doc Well’s, Drillaud, Leroux, Luxardo, Potter’s, Hiram Walker, Draper’s, Monarch, DeKuyper, and Mr. Boston (inexpensive).
« Back to Glossary Index