Liquor Substitutes When You’re Out of Triple Sec

Craft cocktails set the mood for any party, whether big or small. A celebration is only complete with a few cocktail glasses in the mix. Triple sec is a common ingredient in most cocktails, but what happens when you run out of this magnificent flavoring agent? Below, we look at some substitutes to keep the party going.


Since the early 1800s, the versatility of Cointreau, an orange-flavored spirit, has made it famous all over the globe. Most cocktail enthusiasts and bartenders love Cointreau’s bitter-sweet taste and orange aroma. To obtain the signature flavor, distilleries sundry and process the peels of bitter and sweet oranges.

Cointreau has an alcohol content of 40%, making it an ideal substitute for triple sec when making cocktails like Cosmopolitan, Sidecar, or Margarita. Some mixologists argue that Cointreau gives a drink a superior taste to Triple Sec. 

Orange extract

If you are aiming to lose weight and want a low-calorie drink, orange extract makes for a solid triple-sec substitute. The ingredient provides a sophisticated burst of citrus flavor that will take your cocktail to premium levels.

Unlike triple sec, orange oil doesn’t have alcohol or added sugars, which makes it preferable for people looking for a simple, soothing drink.


An aromatic, red, sweet, fruity drink, you can effectively use grenadine to replace triple sec. The syrup adds a rare tangy flavor to beverages like the Shirley Temple or Tequila Sunrise.

Also, grenadine’s intriguing color has made it a popular addition to visually stunning cocktails. You can even mix it with lemonade to get a sip of relaxing freshness after a hard day at work. Some Chinese chefs also use the syrup on flesh or fruit salads, which is the perfect ice cream accompaniment.

Maraschino liqueur 

Considered by many mixologists as Triple Sec’s first cousin, maraschino packs a classy flavor profile of nutty, sweet notes. Since the bygone era, this syrup has been featured in cocktails such as Singapore Sling. You can use maraschino liqueur to add a punch to your cocktails, and it has a red color that will make your drink appealing.

If you don’t like the overly sweet flavor triple sec brings out in a drink, maraschino liqueur is the alternative to use.


St-Germain is a fruity, floral beverage that will add an elegant, unique twist to all your cocktails as a triple-sec alternative. The drink is made from elderflowers and has a complex yet delicate flavor profile that blends nicely with tequila, vodka, and gin.

Unlike triple sec, which brings alcohol and extra sweetness to your cocktail, St-Germain only adds a floral aroma and slight bitterness to keep things balanced.

Orange juice

Simplicity is key, and orange juice is a simple and available triple-sec replacement. It has a citrussy, sweet flavor and will add acidity and brightness to all your cocktails. 

Even though orange juice lacks triple sec’s alcohol content, it’s a superb way to introduce a fruity twist to any mixed drink. Plus, you can fine-tune the sweetness to your preference by adding agave nectar or simple syrup.

Combier Liqueur d’Orange

Crafted in France using a unique blend of bitter-sweet orange peels, Combier Liqueur d’Orange is undoubtedly a premium liqueur. It has a bold citrus flavor and deep orange color and features plenty of French-themed cocktails like the infamous French Manhattan.


Hailing from a sunny Caribbean island called Curacao, this vibrant blue liqueur makes a delightful substitution for triple sec. 

The beverage is obtained from Lahara, an extremely bitter fruit, and most people believed it was inedible until they found that its dried peels could make a spirit. Since then, lahara has been immensely used to make curacao. 

You can use curacao to make cocktails like Blue Lagoon and Blue Hawaiian. It imparts a colorful hue and zesty citrus flavor, making any drink appear glamorous.

Interesting facts about Curacao

  • Curacao can help improve digestion. 
  • The liqueur is mentioned several times in Charles Dickens’s famous novel Our Mutual Friend.

Grand Marnier

Grand Marnier is an exquisite spirit from France, renowned for its fascinating history and refined taste. It’s also a sophisticated and indulgent delicacy you can partake in on any occasion. The spirit features a solid combination of bitter orange fluids, cognac brandy, and the right amount of sugar to create a balanced blend that emits a welcoming and pleasing aroma with hints of vanilla and spice.

It’s also a versatile cocktail and a superb option for people seeking low sweetness, contrasting to Triple Sec, which features lots of sugar. You can enjoy grand Marnier over ice, neat, or incorporate it into numerous cocktails like El Presidente, Margarita, and Cadillac.

Interesting facts about Grand Marnier 

  • Grand Marnier can only be made in Cognac, France. 
  • Originally, the spirit was called Curacao Marnier, but Cesar Ritz, the founder of the famous Ritz hotel in Paris, didn’t like it. He recommended it be called Grand Marnier.
  • It takes at least 125 years to grow trees used to make the barrels used to store its cognac.
  • The oranges used to make Grand Marnier were first brought to the Caribbean by early European explorers. A sizeable group that reportedly included Christopher Columbus.
  • The Marnier family has a private collection of cognacs going way back to 1906, and it uses some of it to make Quintessence.
  • Alexander Marnier-Lapostolle created Grand Marnier using skills he learned from his father, a spirit and wine merchant.
  • The Marnier distillery is family-owned and has been in operation since 1827.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. When was triple sec invented?

In 1834, Jean-Baptiste Combier and Josephine created the first triple sec in their kitchen in Saumur, France. 

2. What’s the shelf life of triple sec?

Triple sec has a rather high ABV ( alcohol by volume content) that ranges from 35 to 40% and doesn’t possess perishable ingredients. So it can last for a long period when stored properly.

3. What makes triple sec affordable?

Manufacturers use easily available ingredients to make the spirit, and the process isn’t complicated, factors that make it affordable.

4. What country does triple sec originate from?

Tripe sec comes from France, and “Sec” is a French term that means dry. So, the triple sec directly translates to triple dry.


At Distillery Nearby, we aim to provide spirit enthusiasts (like you) with in-depth information about different types of spirits, distilleries worth visiting, cocktail recipes, and more. Also, if you have any questions about your favorite spirit or would like to know about its history, visit our website.

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