all about orange liqueurs

all about orange liqueurs

There are lots of orange liqueurs in the marketplace from which to choose: Triple Sec, Cointreau or Grand Marnier, or your own orange-cello. But what’s the difference? There are three common orange liqueurs found in the marketplace: Grand Marnier, Cointreau and Triple Sec. Their flavor profiles are different, and may be explained by the methods of production for each.

Orange essence comes from dried oranges. Oranges are first harvested and left to dry and ferment in the sun, preserving and concentrating the pungent oils in the skins. The dried orange skins are then shipped to the distilleries. The skins are macerated with alcohol to extract the orange flavors and aromas, then the mixture is distilled to condense the natural sugars and to remove some of the bitterness inherent in the orange peels.

Grand Marnier

  • Made in France. The orange skins are originally macerated in an eau-de-vie, Cognac is added to raise the alcohol content, sugar for sweetness and a secret ingredient known only to the Cointreau family. Aged in Oak.
  • 80-proof.
  • Subtle hints of spice, citrus and raisin, smooth, honey-like, mildly orangey. Nice round flavor.


  • Made in France. Added cane sugar and water, then distilled.
  • 80-proof liqueur.
  • Faintest orange flavor of the three.

Triple Sec

  • Vodka-based, with orange flavors and added fructose.
  • 42-proof and 60-proof.
  • Exceedingly sweet and orangey.

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