It’s true—triple sec is vital to any respectable home bar and is required to make many a wonderful cocktail. I bought my first bottle of triple sec to use in margaritas but soon after found there are so many more uses for this wonderful ingredient—that citrus punch and touch of sweetness can really help to balance a good drink out.
One question I’ve gotten quite often is—what’s the difference between Triple Sec and Curacao? Good question, as the two are similar in many ways and can be used interchangeably in some cocktails (well…at least I think so). Triple Sec is an orange-flavored liqueur, while Curacao is “flavored with the dried peels of the laraha citrus fruit on the island of Curacao.” I don’t find much of a difference in taste myself, but tend to lean toward Triple Sec, since more of the recipes I’m interested in call for it.
Another common question—what is the difference between Triple Sec, Cointreau, and Grand Marnier? Grand Marnier and Cointreau are both brands of Triple Sec (some people will debate this). The difference you’ll find with Grand Marnier is that it’s cognac-based. So while they are certainly not the same, they fall within the category of orange-flavored liqueur.
One major difference is price. Grand Marnier will usually set you back about $40 (at least around these parts) and Cointreau costs about $30 for a 750ml bottle. I have a bottle of Grand Marnier at home that I use on occasion but find Hiram Walker’s Triple Sec to work just fine in most cocktails—it’s still a good quality product and usually only costs about $10, which is nice since we’re all watching our wallets closely these days.
Now, of course, I must leave you with a wonderful cocktail recipe to use your triple sec in. Cheers!
Acapulco (Thank you, CocktailDB)
1 ½ oz. Light Rum
½ oz. Fresh Lime Juice
¼ oz. Triple Sec (I used Hiram Walker)
½ egg white
½ tsp sugar
Shake ingredients thoroughly in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a mint sprig.