Orange liqueur is a type of orange flavored liqueur used extensively in preparing cocktails.

Orange Liqueur

also known as Triple Sec, Curacao

What is Orange Liqueur?

Orange liqueur is a type of orange flavored liqueur used extensively in preparing cocktails. Also, it may be consumed neat as an aperitif or as a digestive.

  • There are two main types of orange liqueur: triple sec and curaçao.
  • Triple sec is of French origin and the name refers to the distillation process, which is done three times.

Curaçao originated in the Caribbean and usually has spices added. Orange liqueurs may have a clear to deep orange color and are sweet and mildly spicy with notes of orange, vanilla, and hazelnut

The top 9 most popular orange liqueur brands are:

  • Cointreau 
  • Bols Triple Sec
  • Grand Marnier
  • Combier Liqueur d’Orange
  • Patron Citronge Orange Liqueur
  • Grand Garonne
  • Drillaud
  • Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
  • Agavero 

Origin of orange liqueur

Curaçao originated in the island of Curaçao in the Caribbean. Made with laraha, bitter oranges native to the island and found only there, the inventor of the liqueur remains unknown. The original liqueur was first made in a Dutch mansion on the island in 1896. However, triple sec originated in France in the 1800s. Credit is often given to Jean-Baptiste and Josephine Combier, who tried to create a local version of the curaçao. Also, there is a popular variation of this liqueur that uses blue coloring, known as blue curaçao.


Nutritional profile for orange liqueur (1 shot):

Like any other alcoholic drink, overconsumption of orange liqueur can result in a change in the brain’s functioning patterns, liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, heart problems, strokes, different types of cancers, as well as affect overall immunity. However, it can be enjoyed, if consumed responsibly and in moderation.

Commercial production

Orange liqueur is a distilled spirit flavored with oranges or orange peels. Different brands use different procedures for producing this alcohol. They mainly use a neutral grain spirit such as vodka, rum, or brandy. The orange flavor is infused into the liquid through orange peels or orange essential oil. Additionally, some orange liqueurs may add spices. These liqueurs usually have an alcohol by volume of between 15 to 40 percent.

Orange liqueur recipes

This liqueur may be consumed alone as it is quite flavorful. For this same reason, it is used in desserts and baking. Also, many popular cocktails use this liqueur as a key ingredient. Here are a few recipes:

FDA regulations

All alcohol related products are regulated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) in the US. Triple Sec and Curacao both fall under the liqueur or cordial class and are defined as orange flavored liqueur or cordial.


Ivan Lauer, A Brief History of Orange Flavored Liqueurs, Drinkhacker: The Insider’s Guide to Good Drinking, 

Guly, Henry. “Medicinal brandy.” Resuscitation vol. 82,7 (2011): 951-4. doi:10.1016/j.resuscitation.2011.03.005,