Triple Sec is one of the most widely used liqueurs in the world today. It forms the basis for some of the world’s biggest selling cocktails and its bittersweet properties make it a perfect digestif over ice.
Made using dried orange peels to extract both bitter and sweet oils and fragrances, these peels are soaked in alcohol and sugar before being distilled to create the liqueur.
Curacao is another commonly found offshoot of triple sec. The primary difference being that it is made using the Lahara fruit. Generally this fruit is grown on the island of Cuaracao, hence the name. It is mostly inedible and the crafty inhabitants of the island used it to create this liqueur. It’s unclear who decided to add blue colouring to the recipe, but they’re responsible for sparking that delightful phase in cocktail history we know as ‘disco drinks’.
Cointreau is in essence a triple sec, but the recipe is a proprietary blend. It is called for specifically in many cocktails and often a triple sec is a poor substitute for the distinct flavour of Cointreau. Sweet and bitter orange peels are at the core of the recipe, little more is known about the secret behind it.
Grand Marnier also belongs to the same family. Again it’s a proprietary blend, but we do know they use cognac as a base spirit, giving a much deeper and less confectionary-like taste.
Triple sec finds itself as the basis for Margaritas, Cosmopolitans and the king of all disco drinks, the Long Island Ice Tea. It will forever remain as part of the bartender’s repertoire as trends and spirits move around it. It’s hard to beat and it’s a necessity in any home bar. Maybe just steer clear of the blue until disco comes back round again.