A Triple Sec Recipe to Make Your Drink Recipes Taste Even Better

by Pamela

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You’ve no doubt seen countless recipes for making your own margarita or sweet and sour mix, but did you know that you can make your own triple sec (sort of…at least it’s an excellent facsimile)?  I’m going to show you how to make your own triple sec so that you can tell all your friends that you make a scratch margarita.  Just graciously (or snottily) accept their oohs and aahs and don’t let on how easy it is to make.  If you display it in a really cool bottle with a pretty label, everyone will think you bought some snooty expensive liqueur.

There is the generic term ‘triple sec,’ but other triple secs include Gran Marnier, Curacao and Cointreau.  So learning how to make triple sec can help you to make so many drink recipes taste better.

Triple sec is a strong, clear, sweet-ish, orange flavored liqueur.  While it can be consumed as a digestif, it is mostly used in the making of other drink recipes.  You probably are most familiar with triple sec if you drink margaritas or cosmopolitans.

This triple sec recipe is so easy to make and requires just a little time and and a few ingredients.  You’ll wonder why you didn’t make your own hooch sooner.  Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that you didn’t realize you could make your own.

This golden elixir of deliciousness really only takes about a day and half to make (if you don’t get distracted by a zillion other things like I did).  It doesn’t take months of patient waiting and vigorous shaking (although I have another triple sec recipe that does…and is currently sitting on my shelf awaiting its due date).

How to make triple sec

At this point you may be asking yourself if it’s really worth the time and effort to make your own triple sec, especially since it’s usually just blended into the drink recipes you make. Consider this…many of your cocktail recipes contain just a few ingredients, so it makes sense that the ingredients you use should taste as good as they possibly can.  If you’re still trying to wrap your head around the idea of crafting your own hooch, take a look at this (partial) list of drinks with triple sec.

  • Cosmopolitan
  • Margarita
  • Hurricane (Mardi Gras is coming up really soon)
  • Mai Tai

The traditional triple sec recipe is made with oranges, but Craig and I really enjoy the flavor of tangerines in our margaritas.  So this triple sec recipe gets its flavors from roasted tangerines and tangerine juice.  But you could just as easily use Cara Cara oranges or another variety of oranges (whichever type is your favorite).  This recipe makes almost 2 litres so you’ll have plenty to stock your bar for a party or to keep around for summertime cosmos or margaritas to enjoy that tangerine flavor when they are long past their season.  This is my take on the triple sec recipe that appeared in Imbibe Magazine.


Relationship Advice

I wonder why this never caught on?


Recipe: Homemade Triple Sec Recipe


  • 3 Tangerines (sliced 1/8″ thick)
  • 1/2 Cup Tangerine Juice (from approximately 5 tangerines)
  • 12 Ounces Everclear
  • 12 Ounces Vodka
  • 5 Cups Sugar
  • 3 Cups Water
  • Orange Blossom Water


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Farenheit.
  2. On parchment paper (or silicone baking matte) lined sheet pan, lay out tangerine slices in a single layer.
  3. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Tangerine slices should be somewhat shriveled, but still sticky (not dry).
  4. Remove from oven and let cool.
  5. Pour everclear into a sealable jar and add tangerine slices. Cover, shake jar and set in a cool place.
  6. The sliced tangerines should stay in the everclear for 8-12 hours (shake occasionally).
  7. In another sealable jar, pour vodka and tangerine juice. Cover, shake jar and set in cool place.
  8. The juice and vodka should sit for 24 hours (shake occasionally).
  9. Strain the everclear through a fine mesh strainer. Strain again through a coffee filter and set aside.
  10. Strain vodka and juice through a double layer of cheese cloth. Then strain through a coffee filter (you may need to do this straining in batches and use a new filter for each batch strained). Set aside.
  11. In a large saucepan add the sugar and water.
  12. Stir until sugar is dissolved and bring to a low boil for a minute. Take off heat and let cool to room temperature.
  13. Combine sugar syrup, everclear mixture and vodka mixture into a very large bowl.
  14. Add a drop or two of the orange flower water if you would like a little more orange aroma.  (Go easy with this stuff…it’s really potent and if you add too much you could end up with stuff that tastes like perfume.)
  15. Pour triple sec into sealable bottles.

Quick notes

Store in the refrigerator for a month.


Feel free to use other types of tangerines or oranges.

Preparation time: 24 hour(s)

Cooking time: 15 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 1

Culinary tradition: USA (General)


Welcome to My Man's Belly! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the site or if there's a recipe you'd like to see here. Have a great day.


Denise May 30, 2018 at 8:43 am

Hi Pamela this is a great tutorial thanks for sharing. I’m not familiar about some ingredients like the Everclear and the Blossom water do you have maybe a photo that I could see it I appreciate that. Hope you continue doing this for us.

Pamela June 2, 2018 at 2:03 pm

Hi Denise, the everclear is available at your local liquor store, just ask them for it. The blossom water can be purchased at most grocery stores.

Karen Grayczk May 25, 2015 at 5:19 pm

can you substitute the sugar for stevia?

Pamela May 26, 2015 at 7:24 am

Hi Karen, You could use stevia in place of the sugar. Since I have not used Stevia, I can not recommend a ratio of stevia to water. But doing a little searching I found this from Truvia (3 1/2 Tablespoons stevia to 1/2 cup warm water). With that recipe in mind, you’ll just need to bump that up to 21 Tablespoons of stevia and 3 cups of water. Enjoy the triple sec!

Luuk February 11, 2012 at 6:00 am

This is not Triple Sec, as that is a distilled product. This is a vodka infusion.

Pamela February 11, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Since most people don’t have a still in their homes, I pointed that out near the beginning of the post…that this is a reasonable facsimile.

Ken│hungry rabbit February 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm

You are definitely the mistress of all things cocktails. Roasted tangerines will certainly lend an unforgettable scent to this elixir.

Barbara | Creative Culinary February 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm

I’ve been making so many liqueurs and infused vodkas I literally am running out of storage. But I love the experience and the flavors and bet this tangerine ‘hooch’ is fabulous. A must try!

foodwanderings February 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Hey girlie you know few sips and I am happy happy. This looks good. Love your boozy tutorials. Have a great weekend Pammy!

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