Triple Sec

The classic margarita cocktail is made with tequila, lime juice and orange-flavored Triple Sec.
This strong, clear liqueur is flavored with the peels of both sweet and bitter oranges that grow on Curacao, a Netherlands Antilles island in the Caribbean. Though it's name implies "triple dry," Triple Sec is actually "triple distilled" and quite smooth and fruity. It's used in thousands of mixed drinks (margaritas, Cosmopolitans and mai tais) and can also be employed as a versatile flavoring agent for everything from sweet desserts to savory seafood and meat dishes.


The average alcohol by volume content for Triple Sec is 30% (60 proof), though different brands vary. Popular brands include Bols, DeKuyper, and specialty varieties Cointreau (an intensely exotic French style) and Grand Marnier (a barrel-aged cognac blend).

Non-alcoholic versions (which offer the same orange flavor at a lower cost) are made by Arrow, Franco's and Rose's.

Storage Tips

Though commercial liqueurs have a lengthy life expectancy, a good rule of thumb is to store them away from heat and use within one year. You can easily tell the condition of your liqueurs by looking at the bottom of the bottles. If you see sugar crystals or sediment, the flavor has been damaged and it's time to re-stock the bar.

Usage Tips

• Serve Triple Sec straight, on the rocks or mixed into your favorite cocktail.

• Add a teaspoon or so to angel food cake batter.

• Mix with shredded coconut and prepared Thai peanut sauce for a spirited satay.

• Whisk with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and honey for an exotic orange vinaigrette.

Substitution Tips

Triple Sec is very similar to an undistilled liqueur called Curacao. It comes in varying degrees of bitterness, and also clear, blue, green, orange or red tints that make for enticing mixed drinks.

Try one of our favorite triple sec recipes:

Chilled Peach Soup
Acapulco Margarita Grouper or Sea Bass
Huber's Famous Spanish Coffee