What is triple sec?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question” What is triple sec?” with an in-depth analysis of the methods of its making and its qualities. Moreover, we are going to highlight the difference between triple sec and Cointreau.

What is triple sec?

Triple sec is known as an orange-flavored liqueur. Triple sec is made from dried orange peels. You can drink it neat after your dinner. Triple sec is typically added to popular cocktails like a Long Island iced tea, Cosmo, Kamikaze, and Sidecar. One of the most popular and recognizable brands of triple sec is Cointreau. 

Triple sec is known as a drier style – ‘sec’ is from the French language. It is used for dry orange liqueur. Its origin is in France, but the origin of the liqueur’s name is still not known. Some people say that triple sec’s name is associated with a French translation of ‘triple dry’. Others say that triple sec references triple distillation, but it doesn’t occur in the preparation of triple sec.

Triple Sec overview:

What it is:

Triple Sec is known as any clear dry orange-flavored liqueur. It includes Cointreau. In most liquor stores, bottles labeled Triple Sec is not present in good quality. It is more affordable than Cointreau.


The  Flavor of Triple Sec is more straightforward than Cointreau. It’s very citrusy just like an orange-infused vodka. The quality of its flavor ranges based on the brand.


Triple Sec is very inexpensive. A 375 ml bottle costs around $7 to $10, and a 750 ml bottle costs around $10 to $15.

Alcohol content:

Triple Secs have a lower alcohol content than Cointreau; bottles range from 15% to 30% ABV.

Triple Sec is not too complex, but as you know it’s very inexpensive.

When to use it?

If you’re looking for a budget option, then you can use Triple Sec. We like the Drillaud brand. If you’re ok with the price tag and can purchase expensive items, then you should use Cointreau: you won’t regret it!

Triple Sec has some qualities and functions:

  • It is a liqueur. This liqueur is orange-flavored and sweet
  • Triple sec has a content of alcohol ranging from 20% – 25%.
  • It is generally clear. But triple sec can be colored in some name brands.
  • It is made from dried orange peels. It also includes some other spices and alcohol.
  • Triple Sec is used for mixing cocktails. We can also use it as an alcoholic beverage.

Difference Between Triple Sec and Cointreau:

A very popular question comes up: is Triple Sec the same as Cointreau?

Cointreau and Combier are both well-known varieties of Triple Sec Orange Liqueur.

Both types of Triple Sec have slightly different methods of preparation.

It is described that combier Triple Sec is 30-plus years older than Cointreau, but today 

Cointreau is a more popular brand than combier triple sec.

Cointreau has a 40% content of alcohol as compared to Combier Triple Sec. Combier Triple Sec has 25% of alcohol.


Triple Sec and Cointreau are both liqueurs. They are usually used to mix cocktails and alcoholic drinks.  Their function is similar. The main difference comes in their quality, some of the ingredients, and the price.

The flavor of Triple Sec and Cointreau:

The orange flavor is present in both the liqueurs. This orange flavor differs in the variety of oranges that are used to source the dried peels.  These orange peels are first distilled and after this, they render the oil that contributes to the orange flavor together with the alcohol content. 

Different spices are used to enhance the orange flavor. These spices may include cinnamon and nutmeg.

Branding of Triple Sec and Cointreau:

Triple Sec has many different brand names. The reason behind this is the recipe and the contents of Triple Sec are widely used.  Triple Sec is a name brand used behind many other brands of orange liqueur.  Cointreau however, is the brand name. The name of this brand is exclusively used by the manufacturers of Cointreau.

Origin of Triple Sec and Cointreau:

The origin of Triple Sec is France. The process of using oranges to create an alcoholic beverage was influenced by Curacao from the island of the same name in the Caribbean.  It is distilled three times in a copper distiller. This principle increases the flavor and concentrates the taste. 

Cointreau was developed by the Cointreau brothers. It is an orange-flavored liqueur. The exact process of its preparation is protected by the family business and is still not disclosed

Here, you can find more information about triple sec.


In this brief guide, we answered the question” What is triple sec?” with an in-depth analysis of the methods of its making and its qualities. Moreover, we highlighted the difference between triple sec and Cointreau.




Difference Between Triple Sec and Cointreau

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.