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Keith Orr

Homemade Triple Sec

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There was an article on Haitian Dried Citrus peels being used for making Gran Marnier on Bunnyhugs

Yesterday at the Asian Market I saw a big bag of them for $4 so I bought it. Anybody got any tips other than the obvious "Soak them in a bottle of brandy and add some sugar"?

I'm wondering if dried citrus is anything like dried mushrooms, where the flavor seems to strengthen and become so much more intense.


Edited by Keith Orr (log)

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Yesterday at the Asian Market I saw a big bag of them for $4 so I bought it. Anybody got any tips other than the obvious "Soak them in a bottle of brandy and add some sugar"?

Seems like the right beginning, though that would make more of an orange curracao. If you want something more in line with triple-sec, I'd use (primarily) neutral grain spirits as a base.

In either case, let us know how it goes...

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Yesterday at the Asian Market I saw a big bag of them for $4 so I bought it. Anybody got any tips other than the obvious "Soak them in a bottle of brandy and add some sugar"?

Seems like the right beginning, though that would make more of an orange curracao. If you want something more in line with triple-sec, I'd use (primarily) neutral grain spirits as a base.

In either case, let us know how it goes...

My understanding is that Gran Marnier is made with Cognac and is a type of triple sec and Curacao as an orange flavored liqueur is also a type of triple sec. I don't know what type of spirit base is used for Curacao.

Anyway, I have dried orange peel soaking in brandy, rum and vodka and hopefully we'll all know more in a few weeks.

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Grand Marnier is made with a brandy base and sees some wood aging. Triple Sec or Cointreau is made with neutral spirit base and does not have any wood aging. Two completely different things. Smell and taste them side by side and the differences should become more obvious.

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Interesting related thread

Triple Sec versus Curaçao Liqueur:  It's a bit difficult to classify orange liqueurs into families and say that one is definitively a curaçao liqueur and not a triple sec while another is definitively a triple sec and not a curaçao liqueur.  Technically, I suppose triple sec is usually colorless and supposed to be made with a blend of sweet and bitter orange peels (originally from Haiti) while curaçao liqueur is usually colored and supposed to be made with bitter orange peels ony (technically from the island of Curaçao).  There is a good deal of overlap, though.  Senior makes an uncolored bottling of Curaçao of Curaçao, and triple sec was originally called "white curaçao."

In practice, of course, the lesser brands are made with whatever they have on hand, and both sweet and bitter orange peels are usually sourced worldwide.  As a generality, I'd say that curaçao liqueur has a sweeter, less fragrant and slightly bitter aspect compared to triple sec.

Brandy-Based versus Not-Brandy-Based:  This distinction doesn't really hold through very well.  Marie Brizard's orange curaçao is made with brandy, as is Cointreau's triple sec.  Grand Marnier could be classified a curaçao liqueur, as it is colored and is made with bitter orange peel.  GranGala calls itself a "triple orange liqueur," which could make it a brandy-based triple sec. 

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Here's the way I currently look at it.

Curacao was originally made by macerating orange peels in alcohol, filtering and bottling. Strong bitter orange character, but very, very sweet. I've asked Philip Duff a bit about this, and he has said he has tasted some vintage Curacaos. They are so sweet, he says there is no way they could even be marketed to today's tastes.

Probably Clement Creole Shrubb is the best currently existing example of this style.

Add Note: The column still wasn't patented until 1826, so out of necessity any liqueurs before this time would have been based, in the true sense, on pot stilled alcohol. Cheap grain neutral spirits weren't available until Europeans figured out how to make sugar, and thence alcohol, from beets on an industrial scale at around the same time.

As time went on, and commercial products developed, sellers realized that by distilling the orange infusion, they could get better shelf life.

So they started distilling an orange essence and blending it with spirits.

Triple secs, like Cointreau, are this type of orange essence blended with neutral spirits.

Products like Grand Marnier are distilled orange essence blended with brandy. They also tend to use a wider spice palate in flavoring their liqueur than products called "triple sec".


Edited by eje (log)

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Also, maybe I'm a stickler, but I don't like the usage of saying Grand Marnier or Brizard Orange Curacao are based on Brandy/Cognac.

This, to me, implies that somehow it is the base spirit for the infusion and/or distillation.

As I pointed out, Grand Marnier and Cointreau are made in exactly the same manner.

Flavoring essences are distilled and then used to flavor a sweetened liqueur.

The only real differentiation point is the type of spirit with which the orange essence is blended after distillation. One is blended with brandy and the other is blended with neutral spirits.

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Also, maybe I'm a stickler, but I don't like the usage of saying Grand Marnier or Brizard Orange Curacao are based on Brandy/Cognac.

This, to me, implies that somehow it is the base spirit for the infusion and/or distillation.

As I pointed out, Grand Marnier and Cointreau are made in exactly the same manner.

Flavoring essences are distilled and then used to flavor a sweetened liqueur.

The only real differentiation point is the type of spirit with which the orange essence is blended after distillation.  One is blended with brandy and the other is blended with neutral spirits.

So the dried orange peel is soaked in water? alcohol? Then distilled and added to the brandy or Cognac?

I'm getting an education - Thanks

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So the dried orange peel is soaked in water? alcohol? Then distilled and added to the brandy or Cognac?

I'm getting an education - Thanks

The dried orange peel would be soaked in high proof neutral spirits of some sort and then the resulting liquid distilled.

More or less the same as the way gin is made.

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So the dried orange peel is soaked in water? alcohol? Then distilled and added to the brandy or Cognac?

The dried orange peel would be soaked in high proof neutral spirits of some sort and then the resulting liquid distilled.

So would adding something like an orange tincture to a sweetened spirit be a possible method in the absence of a still? Or even a maceration-based way, like this one (masively scaled-down of course)?

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I'd like to revisit this topic since my current Triple Sec supply is waning. To my mind, it seems like it should not be that difficult to at least surpass the flavor of the cheap crap I've got on my shelf right now with something a little simpler than a still. I'm thinking more along the lines of a sweetened orange zest extract. Maybe include some juice along with it? What other flavors might be added to try to come up with a pseudo-triple sec that doesn't require any distillation? Suggestions?

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I'd like to revisit this topic since my current Triple Sec supply is waning. To my mind, it seems like it should not be that difficult to at least surpass the flavor of the cheap crap I've got on my shelf right now with something a little simpler than a still. I'm thinking more along the lines of a sweetened orange zest extract. Maybe include some juice along with it? What other flavors might be added to try to come up with a pseudo-triple sec that doesn't require any distillation? Suggestions?

the peel of approximately three seville sour oranges

260 grams of sugar

850ml or so of 94 proof spirit to bring the liquid total to a liter

this should end up with more or less the same sugar content as cointreau and be 80 proof.

this is what i'm using at the bar. i made enough sour orange concentrate to last the entire year. probably like 50 liters worth.

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Just to clarify, you are using the juice in other recipes, but NOT in the making of the "Triple Sec," right?

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The reality is, I think, that you may be able to make up something you like, and you may use it as a rough replacement for a quality triple sec. But there's no way you're going to get anything DIY that's even remotely similar to triple sec -- especially if you don't have a still or a rotavap.

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Right, this is something I struggle with. I know that I am never going to replace my bottle of Cointreau for those drinks where TS is a key flavor. But I get the feeling that a lot of cocktails that call for it are really just looking for an orange-flavored sweetener. Maybe this is not the case, but when I look at those big crates of oranges at my produce market, it gets the wheels turning... "hey, that homemade Falernum was pretty good. I wonder if I could make a Triple Sec..."

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But you can't make a triple sec. You can perhaps make what some might call "orange-cello."

If all you want is an orange-flavored sweetener, just use orange-infused simple syrup. It's easy enough to make.

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But you can't make a triple sec.  You can perhaps make what some might call "orange-cello."

If all you want is an orange-flavored sweetener, just use orange-infused simple syrup.  It's easy enough to make.

if you have interesting oranges you can still make something amusing like "creole shrubb". triple sec might imply distillation but what does that really do to the peels? citrus peels have so much volatile stuff that i think far less is transformed or left behind in distillation than other botanicals. therefore all you really gain is clear liquid in my limited experience.

the juice doesn't add much relative to the peel. probably acidity which is more important to something like lemoncello which is mainly a stand alone beverage. i wouldn't put orange juice in my shrubb. it would compromise the large amount of alcohol that differentiates it from other liqueurs.

i've seen some strange industrial orange liqueur recipes. some were compounded and some were distilled but all focus on terpene removal as really imporant. some recipes were aromatized with cloves, cinnamon, etc... and things as strange as significant amounts of pepper mint.

orange aromatization is a tricky subject. its hard to describe things in words. i can't even thing of something that rhymes with orange...

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the peel of approximately three seville sour oranges

260 grams of sugar

850ml or so of 94 proof spirit to bring the liquid total to a liter

this should end up with more or less the same sugar content as cointreau and be 80 proof.

Two questions: how long do you let this infuse, and I assume you add the sugar after straining? I'd like to try this with bergamots, if there are still any left at my farmer's market this weekend.

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the peel of approximately three seville sour oranges

260 grams of sugar

850ml or so of 94 proof spirit to bring the liquid total to a liter

this should end up with more or less the same sugar content as cointreau and be 80 proof.

Two questions: how long do you let this infuse, and I assume you add the sugar after straining? I'd like to try this with bergamots, if there are still any left at my farmer's market this weekend.

i probably have no good recommendation on how long to infuse them. a week? or two days if your alcohol is strong enough. i didn't dehydrate the peels either. i thought the water in them might bring something nice if it wasn't negligible...

i used to add whispers of bergamot peel (scraps from the pastry chef) and cardamoms to existing orange liqueur. it can be an over whelming flavor pretty fast but still worth playing with.

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So my original effort was a failure - the dried orange peels I bought had very little flavor and less aromatics.

I saw Boston Apothecary's post a while back and using 100 proof vodka made a couple of litres of sour orange peel flavored infusion that I'm very happy with.

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Well, I have to say that making triple-sec is not the easiest job. Someone above mentioned that what is 'easier', or - moreso, what will most commonly be the result is Orangecello.

I make my own lemoncello, and while its delicious (I use ONLY the peel of oranges, then freeze them to open the cellular walls and then soak these peels in 150proof 'vodka' for a week or more), and this turns into orangecello, NOT triple sec. The difference? Well, a) it's only one kind of orange, and be) louching will happen with fresh orange peels when mixed with water. Not to attractive for use as triple-sec.

But, to make triple sec? I will try dried orange peels with 150 proof to see if the flavor can be matched along with losing the louching.

Here at my Alcohology blog, I talked about making infusions, but.s..triple ec would be a good one to do since bars use it so often. It'd save us some money, to be sure.

I look forward to anyone's successful efforts.


Edited by Liberty Bar - Seattle (log)

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I will be shocked if anyone can come up with a DIY homemade product that even approaches the quality of second-tier triple sec.

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Well, I have to say that making triple-sec is not the easiest job. Someone above mentioned that what is 'easier', or - moreso, what will most commonly be the result is Orangecello.

I make my own lemoncello, and while its delicious (I use ONLY the peel of oranges, then freeze them to open the cellular walls and then soak these peels in 150proof 'vodka' for a week or more), and this turns into orangecello, NOT triple sec. The difference? Well, a) it's only one kind of orange, and be) louching will happen with fresh orange peels when mixed with water. Not to attractive for use as triple-sec.

But, to make triple sec? I will try dried orange peels with 150 proof to see if the flavor can be matched along with losing the louching.

Here at my Alcohology blog, I talked about making infusions, but.s..triple ec would be a good one to do since bars use it so often. It'd save us some money, to be sure.

I look forward to anyone's successful efforts.

within a bar you can only make something that resembles "creole shrubb" which is just a product of infusion. triple-sec implies clarity, which can add an element of expectation and anticipation when used in the right way. but luckily orange peel are very volatile so very little is left behind after distillation making creole shrubb a great product for bars to make.

one of the most significant aspects of triple-sec is your emotional reaction to its structure. 80 proof with 250 grams of sugar per liter. this means you start with a 92 proof base spirit.

to extract the aroma you don't need a high proof solvent. 80 to 92 proof will work fine. the louching probably came from over extraction or maybe terpenes from oxidation. many orange extracts are "terpeneless". if you chill the infusion they come out of solution and you can usually skim them off the top.

i make all the my orange peel infusions into a concentrate so i don't tie up a lot of product. with a concentrate you need to assemble a tasting panel to determine how much volume needs to go into the final blend to match the aroma of commercial version without any sophisticated analytical tools.

i used to make countless liters using seville peels that i got in the winter and preserved in the concentrates. the orange expression from wonderful.

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So Bitter Orange season is coming up and I'm going to make more of Boston Apothecary's orange liqueur.

I've reread the thread and I'll comment generally.

I had no problem with louching.

This stuff is better than second rate triple sec in my opinion. In fact it's pretty damn good and the price is right. I've made cocktails with it and Cointreau and most of the time the difference in overall quality is insignificant (in my opinion).

I've had great success using this product in Sidecars, Mai Tais (I make my own orgeat too) and Margaritas.

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I recently saw infused alcohols using sous vide is possible.  I needed some triple sec.  I love a classic margarita.  Fresh lime/citrus juice, touch of orange liqueur, and I prefer a mid-range blanco tequila.  I do not like a sweet marg, prefer them tart.  I also like a true citrus flavor, not a mix (koolaid-ish) flavor.  

 

I googled here and there and came up with half vodka/half brandy infused with dried orange peels and a tiny bit of clove.   I had about a 3 cups of dried clementine peel and dried sour orange peel (this one is very fragrant).    I also had 1 whole  fresh clementine I cut into slices.  I used 4 pint jars and parceled everything equally (I put 1-2 whole cloves per jar).   I also threw a couple pieces of candied lemon peel for some sweetness in the jar.  Put them in 140F water for 1.5 hours ish.   

 

Wow, nice result.  Very deep orange flavor, I think the clove gave it a slightly woody undertone.   Since it's not cocktail hour yet, I haven't done a Margarita yet, but I am expecting good results.  

 

I used cheap Kirkland American vodka and Christian Brothers cheap brandy.   I don't think I'm going to strain it, just keep it in the jars with the fruit peels and pieces, it looks kind of pretty that way.

IMG_6802.jpg


Edited by lemniscate threw the through away (log)
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