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What’s the best triple sec for margaritas? Here’s a quick guide to understanding orange liqueurs and how to choose the best bottle.

Best Triple Sec for Margaritas
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Looking for a great triple sec to mix into cocktails? Orange liqueurs can be overwhelming: type “buy triple sec” as an internet search and there are infinite options. To make matters worse, the terminology is confusing: for example, Cointreau is a also a Triple Sec! What’s the best triple sec for margaritas? We’ve got you covered. Here’s a quick guide to understanding the right orange liqueur for this classic cocktail.

Triple Sec is both a liquor and a category

Let’s clear this up first. Triple Sec is a word used to describe a specific liquor and a family of orange liqueurs. Confusing, right? Here’s what to know:

  • Triple Sec is the name for a category of dry orange liqueurs: it translates to “triple dry” in French. The other family of orange liqueurs is Curacao, which are sweeter (and sometimes blue, in the case of the Blue Margarita!).
  • Triple Sec is also the name for a product. In most liquor stores, bottles labeled Triple Sec are lower in quality and more affordable than something like Cointreau, which is a higher end Triple Sec.

That said, this list of best Triple Secs will more broadly be a list of dry orange liqueurs that work well in a margarita!

Types of Triple Sec

Since Triple Sec is a category, you’ll see there are various types of Triple Sec you can use in your margarita. Here are the top choices and their flavor differences:

  • Triple Sec has a straightforward flavor: it’s very citrusy, almost like an orange-infused vodka
  • Cointreau tastes balanced between bitter and sweet, with warm spices that add complexity and nuance. It has a fragrant aroma and a smooth, clean finish.
  • Grand Marnier is a Curacao/Triple Sec hybrid. It’s the most expensive and full of rich, developed flavor and intrigue from Cognac.
Types of triple sec

Best Triple Sec for margaritas: a quick guide!

Now that we’ve cleared that up: let’s get to the Triple Sec! Here are a few pointers around what to buy:

  1. Top choice: Cointreau. Cointreau is great for margaritas because it’s very smooth: it brings in notes of warm spices and a citrus perfume. If your budget allows: opt for Cointreau!
  2. Second choice: any mid-priced Triple Sec, like Drillaud. Price does indicate quality. Look for 750 ml bottles that are in the $12 to $15 range. Avoid the brand DeKuyper. We like the brand Drillaud Triple Sec.
  3. Splurge choice: Grand Marnier. Grand Marnier is a top-shelf orange liqueur that makes a sophisticated margarita. Make it with Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge.

Classic margarita recipe

Of course, we couldn’t leave you without a recipe! Scroll down for our classic margarita recipe using Drillaud Triple Sec. Or, opt for our Cointreau Margarita or Grand Marnier Margarita.

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Best Triple Sec for Margaritas

Triple Sec Margarita

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


Here’s the classic Triple Sec Margarita recipe! Pair it with lime and tequila for the best three ingredient cocktail there is.


  • 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) tequila blanco or reposado
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) triple sec (or Cointreau)
  • ¾ ounce (1 ½ tablespoons) fresh lime juice
  • Kosher salt or flaky sea salt, for the rim
  • For the garnish: Lime wedge


  1. Cut a notch in a lime wedge, then run the lime around the rim of a glass. Dip the edge of the rim into a plate of salt (or for a festive look, use our Margarita Salt).
  2. Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with 4 ice cubes and shake until cold.
  3. Strain the margarita into the glass with the salted rim. Fill the glass with ice and serve.
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktials
  • Diet: Vegan

More Triple Sec cocktails

There are so many great Triple Sec cocktails! Try these greats:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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