Triple sec

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Triple sec
Triple Sec.jpg
TypeLiqueur
Country of originFrance
Introduced19th century
Alcohol by volume15% to 40%[1]
Color
  • Clear
  • golden
  • blue
FlavorOrange

Triple sec is a generic term for a sweet, clear orange-flavoured liqueur that originated in France. It contains 15–40% alcohol by volume level. It is made by macerating sun-dried orange skins in alcohol for at least 24 hours before going through a three step distilling process.[2]

Triple sec is rarely consumed neat but is used in preparing many popular mixed drinks such as Margaritas, Cosmopolitans, Singapore Slings, Long Island Ice Tea, and Mai Tais.

Etymology[edit]

The name appears to be related to its distillation process.[3] Sec means "dry" or "distilled" in French and the "triple" appears to refer to the number of distillations used to make it.[by whom?]

History[edit]

Triple sec has been popular for more than 150 years. The Dutch East India Company (WIC) created orange liqueurs by steeping dried orange peels from places such as the island of Curaçao.[4] They called this "Curaçao liquor", and unlike Triple secs, which contain only the flavour of orange peel, the Dutch version has herbs and spices added, and comes in a variety of colours such as clear, orange, or blue.[5]

The Combier distillery claims that Jean-Baptiste Combier and his wife Josephine invented triple sec in 1834, in their kitchen in Saumur, France.[6] Orange liqueur was consistently rising in popularity after the Dutch introduced Curacao, and the Combiers sought to create a version that would be true to the orange fruit, they wanted it to be crisp and clean, featuring orange essential oils as the main feature. To achieve this, the Combier family used bitter oranges that were native to Haiti, and sweet Valencia oranges to balance the flavour.[7] The liqueur was made by sun-drying the various orange peels. After at least 48 hours, they would begin distilling this mixture in copper pots. Lastly, they would put them through a third distillation, in order to purify the flavour.[8]

In 1875 Cointreau created its version of triple sec and calls itself one of the most popular brands.[9] Triple sec gained popularity and was widely known by 1878; at the Exposition Universelle of 1878 in Paris, several distillers were offering "Curaço [sic] triple sec", as well as "Curaço doux".[10]

Production[edit]

Triple sec is made from neutral spirits. The spirit is usually made using a base that is created from beet sugar, versus grains, which would give it a heavier taste. Oranges are then harvested when their skin is still green and they have not fully ripened, so the essential oils remain in the skin and not the flesh of the fruit; this gives triple sec its intense flavour.[11] Dried orange peels are then macerated in a neutral alcohol of 96% ABV (alcohol to volume ratio) for multiple days, extracting the natural oils. Then the liqueur is distilled twice more and may be blended with more of the neutral spirit, beet sugar and some water.[12] This process creates a spirit that has a very strong and distinct orange flavour.

Variances[edit]

A variant of triple sec is Grand Marnier, which uses brandy as a base, giving it a distinctive heavier and earthy flavouring.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Triple Sec". Bar None Drinks. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  2. ^ "Definition of Triple Sec". www.barnonedrinks.com. Retrieved 2021-05-12.
  3. ^ "Definition of Triple Sec". www.barnonedrinks.com. Retrieved 2021-05-12.
  4. ^ "Triple sec liqueurs". www.diffordsguide.com. Retrieved 2021-05-12.
  5. ^ "Triple sec liqueurs". www.diffordsguide.com. Retrieved 2021-05-12.
  6. ^ "Original Combier". Combier. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  7. ^ "The Combier Story // History // Combier Liqueurs". www.combierusa.com. Retrieved 2021-05-12.
  8. ^ "The Combier Story // History // Combier Liqueurs". www.combierusa.com. Retrieved 2021-05-12.
  9. ^ "Cointreau". Rémy Cointreau. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
  10. ^ The Lancet Analytical Commission, "Report on the Food Products exhibited in the French and English Departments of the Universal Exhibition of Paris", The Lancet, 21 September 1878, p. 417f.
  11. ^ "Triple sec liqueurs". www.diffordsguide.com. Retrieved 2021-05-12.
  12. ^ "Triple sec liqueurs". www.diffordsguide.com. Retrieved 2021-05-12.