Difference Between Curaçao, Triple Sec & Orange Liqueur Explained
It is almost impossible to define Orange Liqueur without getting into a heated discussion. Like many things in the bartender world, not much is set in stone and almost everything is up for discussion. To make things clear, we decided to break it all down in one article. This article is what we, Senior liqueur, believe to be true after research. Facts are not easily found, so if anybody has interesting and reliable sources we can use, please let us know.
The simple explanation
Explaining Orange Liqueur can be as easy or as complicated as you want, but we will start with the short and easy version.
If you search for a cocktail recipe with an orange sweetener, you will find the following terms:
- Triple Sec
- Curaçao liqueur
- Orange liqueur
All these are interchangeable in the recipe. Of course, they will give a different taste, but they serve the same purpose. Usually, Curaçaos and Triple Secs are based on sugar cane alcohol and around 40% abv. Grand Marnier is also an orange liqueur, but made with brandy. This will heavily influence the taste of your cocktail so watch out.
Basically, we are talking about Orange Liqueur as a group name. These are liqueurs, where citrus orange peels are being used as a base ingredient in the distillation process. Between the different brands, there are differences in types of oranges used, the combination of different oranges, what kind of alcohol is used, and of course all the other ingredients (sugar, herbs etc.) that ultimately comprise a recipe for an orange liqueur.