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The 8 Finest Triple Secs for a Margarita, In keeping with Bartenders

Tequila tends to get high billing in a Margarita. However think about triple sec, the cocktail’s supporting actor. With out triple sec, a Margarita is off-kilter and primarily only a Tequila Gimlet. The candy, orange-flavored liqueur is the important thing ingredient that provides the drink’s delicate citrus notes offsetting the sharp chew of lime and the punch of liquor. 

Past Margaritas, the candy orange liqueur might be employed in lots of different methods. A half-ounce helps marry the spirits in a Lengthy Island Iced Tea and builds taste in a Cosmopolitan. Strive 1 / 4 cup in your subsequent batch of Lynnette Marrero’s Sauvignon Blanc Sangria, or add some to the limoncello, gin, and Campari-combo of a Pink Woman.

“The title itself, ‘triple sec,’ comes from the concept the liqueur was 3 times extra concentrated however nonetheless much less candy than different liqueurs in the marketplace. It maintains sufficient dryness that it means that you can make cocktails just like the Margarita or the Sidecar with out them getting cloying.” — Lara Creasy, beverage director, Rocket Farm Eating places

In keeping with bar business consultants, listed below are among the finest triple secs and orange liqueurs to make use of in cocktails. One word: whereas lots of the following bottles are triple secs, there are additionally a number of comparable, associated kinds like curacao, an orange-flavored liqueur popularized on the Dutch island of Curacao, which frequently incorporates further botanicals. All will likely be glorious in a Margarita.


Meals & Wine / Cointreau

“Invented in 1843, Cointreau set the usual for triple sec, regardless that Combier is the precise first model of triple sec,” says Lara Creasy, Rocket Farm Eating places’ beverage director. “The title itself, ‘triple sec,’ comes from the concept the liqueur was 3 times extra concentrated however nonetheless much less candy than different liqueurs in the marketplace,” she says. “It maintains sufficient dryness that it means that you can make cocktails just like the Margarita or the Sidecar with out them getting cloying.”

Lynnette Marrero, veteran bartender and co-founder of Velocity Rack, factors out that Cointreau, an orange liqueur created from bitter and candy orange peels was used within the authentic Margarita recipe over 70 years in the past. “Its citrus taste profile enhances the tangy and tart flavors of lime juice, which is a key ingredient in a Margarita,” she says. “I discover that including Cointreau to a Margarita gives a well-rounded and balanced style, and provides a delicate sweetness and depth of taste that enhances the tartness of the lime juice and the tequila. The orange notes improve the citrusy character of the drink with out overpowering it.”

“Cointreau is at all times my first alternative,” says Stanislav Harcinik of Mirror Bar in Bratislava. “It brings citrusy-zesty aromatics to a Margarita’s taste profile, and makes the drink even lighter, with its fragrant floral notes that at all times make me scent it yet one more time and, after all, [take] one other sip.”

Grand Marnier

Meals & Wine / Grand Marnier

Zachary Dimmitt, the meals and beverage director of Nick’s Quorum Bar & Supper Membership in Omaha, leans on Grand Marnier due to its orange undertones and Cognac affect. “That helps to create extra depth in a Margarita,” he says. “I robotically attain for this product when somebody asks for a Cadillac Margarita.”

The famed French liqueur was launched by Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle in 1880. 

Grand Marnier is made with a base of brandy sourced from 5 Cognac crus after which blended with an orange distillate. Lapostolle introduced on Baccarat to design a plump, quick bottle that acts as a nod to the form of a Cognac nonetheless.

Alma Finca

Meals & Wine / Alma Finca

Eduardo Guerrero shakes up quite a few Margaritas because the lead bartender at Etéreo, Auberge Resorts Assortment in Riviera Maya, and he swears by Alma Finca, a bitter orange liqueur made within the Yucatan Peninsula. 

“[Alma Finca] gives plenty of stability to a traditional or skinny Margarita,” says Guerrero. “Made with contemporary candy and bitter oranges, citrus blossoms, Persian limes, and spices, it brings a complexity to the beloved Mexican recipe.” 

The citrus and botanicals are harvested by a cooperative of native farmers in Mexico and macerated individually for 5 days earlier than distillation.

Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao

Meals & Wine / Pierre Ferrand

As a substitute of a triple sec, some bartenders favor to make use of dry curacao, a liqueur made with dried orange peels flavored with further herbs and spices. “I normally go for Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao in a Margarita,” says Demi Natoli, the beverage director of Graduate Nashville’s meals and beverage retailers. “This conventional French [orange liqueur] has extra herbs and spices in its mix than a straight orange taste[ed] triple sec, including layers of depth to your citrusy drinks.”

Ben Liebman, beverage director for RPM Eating places, has blind-tested nearly each main triple sec and dry curacao. His favourite: a mixture of agave nectar and Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao. “It provides you the most effective of each worlds,” he says. “The product by itself is improbable, providing you with the orange profile you search for in a traditional Margarita. The addition of agave nectar amplifies the agave of the tequila.”

Alex Pisi, the lead bartender for The Wells in Washington, D.C., additionally likes to lean on dry curacao. “The fundamental idea is identical, however the sugar content material is decrease, leading to a brighter and extra dry orange taste that means that you can mess around with the sweetness in your Margarita.” Like Liebman, Pisi additionally likes to combine Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao with uncooked agave nectar. “It makes essentially the most natural-tasting Margarita.” 

Combier d’Orange

Meals & Wine / Combier

First created in 1834 within the Loire Valley by two confectioners, “Combier d’Orange is the right orange liqueur for Margaritas,” says Michael Coyne, the director of wine and spirits at Stanly Ranch, Auberge Resorts Assortment in Napa Valley. “It’s comparatively dry which retains the cocktail in stability with out being overly candy. There’s additionally this delicate floral word which is improbable with agave-based spirits.” 

Combier d’Orange is made with candy and bitter orange peels which have been left to dry within the solar earlier than they’re macerated right into a impartial spirit and distilled.

Blended Household No.17 Triple Sec

Meals & Wine / Blended Household

Nick Hassiotis, proprietor of Basis Social Eatery in Alpharetta, Georgia, is a giant fan of Blended Household No.17 Triple Sec, an American-made triple sec crafted by longtime bartender Scott Mayer. 

“It makes use of Florida oranges and it’s produced regionally in Georgia,” says Hassiotis. Made with candy and bitter orange peels and orange blossoms, Blended Household hits all the appropriate notes for a well-made Margarita. “It is tremendous tasty,” he says.

Giffard Triple Sec

Meals & Wine / Giffard

Simon Sebbah, who leads the beverage program at Grand Tour Hospitality (together with Vacation Bar, American Bar, and Saint Theo’s) finds that Giffard’s triple sec is a simple, all-purpose possibility. “I really feel like Giffard checks all of the bins: it has a velvety texture and tastes nearly like candied orange, with some citrus and almond notes on the end,” he says. Because the liquid is evident, he additionally finds it brings a “nice texture to drinks” with out including any odd orange hue. 

This orange liqueur is created from citrus left to macerate for months in impartial alcohol. The combination is then distilled 3 times at low temperatures to make sure the intense citrus notes stay.

Hamilton Petite Canne Shrubb Orange Liqueur

Meals & Wine / Hamilton

“I wish to bend the foundations just a little as a result of my favourite triple sec for a Margarita will not be a triple sec in any respect,” says Stephen Rowe, the co-owner of Minneapolis restaurant Dario. “That is an orange liqueur created from macerating oranges in a rhum agricole base.” A contact of uncooked Martinique sugar is added for a delicate sweetness.

“It has the grassy soul of agricole rhum combined with loud flavors of macerated oranges,” says Rowe. “It’s heavier than your typical triple sec, so be warned: just a little goes a great distance when constructing a Margarita. That mentioned, even in case you are just a little heavy-handed with the shrub, you’ll be able to’t lose.”

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