Triple sec liqueur is a colorless orange-flavored liqueur.

Tripe Sec Liqueur

also known as Curacao Triple Sec

What is Triple Sec Liqueur?

Triple sec liqueur is a colorless orange-flavored liqueur. Its name originates from French with “sec” meaning “dry” so, “triple sec” means triple dry. This liqueur is produced using bitter orange peels, thus the name.

  • Triple sec liqueur has an Alcohol By Volume content that falls between 15% and 40%.
  • This liqueur is often mixed with other spirits to produce cocktails and is also a useful component in some classic French desserts.

The top 10 best-selling triple sec liqueur brands are:

  • Mr. Stacks
  • Doc Well’s
  • Drillaud
  • Vita Divine
  • Leroux
  • Hiram Walker 
  • Bols
  • Montezuma
  • Jacquin’s
  • Boulaine

Origin of triple sec

Many consider the original orange liqueur to be curacao, which was invented by the Dutch in the 17th century. However, in 1834, Jean-Baptiste Combier invented triple sec in Saumur, France.  The biggest difference between the two liqueurs is that triple sec uses both sweet and bitter oranges, while curacao only uses sweet ones. Triple sec would soon become a well-known component in drink and dessert recipes in France. The Combier brand is still working today and triple sec liqueur remains one of the most popular liqueurs, although there are many new brands producing it. 


A 1.5 fl oz (37g) serving of triple sec liqueur contains:

The nutritional values of this liqueur vary according to the recipe used. One cocktail that commonly contains triple sec is the margarita, which has some health benefits. The lime juice present in this cocktail is a source of vitamin C. Also, tequila can speed up digestion in the body. Nonetheless, it’s best to consume alcoholic beverages responsibly and in moderation.

Commercial production

One common type of orange used in the production of this drink is the Laraha orange. When the oranges are nearly ripe, the fruit gets harvested from the tree. The next step is to peel each orange into four sections. A stainless-steel knife is ideal for the peeling, as it helps to avoid staining the peels. Then, the peels are dried in the sun on a large concrete floor for five days. The peels must not get wet and should be covered at night or during the rain.

The bottling and distillation of this liqueur takes about 17 days. The distillation involves placing the peels in a gunny bag filled with spices to be heated in a copper still containing alcohol for three days at 302°F. After this, the distillate is cooled for one day before water is added to the gunny bags. Another distillation takes place for another three days at 482°F and then, pounds of sugar and water are added to the distillate. The final steps needed are filtration, coloring, bottling, and labeling. 


The best way to store triple sec liqueur is to keep it in a cool and dry place away from sunlight and heat. Triple sec liqueur can last for about ten years, if unopened and stored correctly. After opening, it can last for two to three years. However, the general quality and flavor of the drink decrease with time. 

Triple sec recipes

Triple sec liqueur can craft wonderful cocktails. Here are some popular recipes:

FDA regulation

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) classifies triple sec as a liqueur. The body has a standard of identity for triple sec liqueur, which it considers an orange-flavored cordial/liqueur. According to this standard, a liqueur is a flavored spirit product containing not less than 2.5% by weight sugar, dextrose, levulose, or a combination thereof made by mixing or redistilling any type of spirit over fruits, plants, pure juices, or with extracts derived from infusion or maceration of such materials.


Marcin, Skrzypiec. “Can Triple Sec Go Bad?”, Can it go bad blog, 31 Jan. 2020, 

That Cocktail. “What Is Triple Sec? Here’s All You Need to Know.”, That Cocktail blog, 29 June 2020,