How did the drunk realize he had a problem? He was out of COINTREAU!
Bad joke, we know!
But do you know what the bigger problem is than running out of Cointreau? Find a bottle of your favorite brand of Triple Sec in your cellar that has been there for years!
The worst part is you don’t know if it’s still safe to consume it, so you sit there and wonder: Does Triple Sec expire and go bad?
Since it’s a high-proof alcoholic beverage, Triple Sec won’t go bad for quite a long time. Unless it’s improperly stored, which may lead to contamination or evaporation.
With that said, how do you store it properly? And how long does it last? Well, you need to read this article to find out!
When you do, you’ll also discover the answers to:
So if you’re ready, let’s get this show on the road!
What’s in a Triple Sec?
Triple Sec is a clear and dry liqueur with an orange flavor. Originated from France, it’s made from oranges grown and harvested from Caribbean islands in Curacao, local spices from the Southern part of France, alcohol from the Northwest part of France, and a few secret ingredients from the Loire Valley. (*)
Fun Fact: The original Triple Sec recipe’s specific ingredients remained a secret until now.
But if there’s one thing we’re certain about how it’s made, it’s this: Triple Sec is distilled three times. This fact is revealed through its name. Triple Sec is a French term that translates to triple dry or distilled.
Another thing that we’re sure of is the alcohol content of Triple Sec is high—around 35% to 40% ABV. Because of its high ABV and dry orange taste has become the go-to alcoholic mix in various cocktail recipes.
Does Triple Sec Go Bad?
As mentioned, triple Sec has an almost indefinite shelf life since it has high alcohol content.
You see, alcohol is a natural preservative that can prevent the growth of bacteria and molds, which are common causes of spoilage.
However, the alcohol content is also why it’s not a good idea to store a bottle of Triple Sec for a long time.
Eventually, the alcohol in Triple Sec will evaporate, which reduces its ability to resist bacterial growth.
Along with that, the taste and quality of Triple Sec will deteriorate over time, and it will start to taste flat or lose its delicious citrus flavor.
How Long Does Triple Sec Last?
As mentioned, the shelf life of Triple Sec is indefinite because of its high ABV. However, spoilage is not our only concern since we need to consider the flavor and quality changes that the Triple Sec liqueur can undergo over time.
Some bottles come with a printed date. Please take note that it’s not an expiration date but a best before date as it states until you can enjoy the liqueur at its peak quality.
With that settled, here is the expected shelf life of Triple Sec:
1. Unopened Triple Sec: 10 years
Even in an unopened bottle of Triple Sec, the flavor can slowly change over time. So while it won’t spoil for decades, the flavor of Triple sec lasts for up to 10 years only.
2. Opened Triple Sec: 3 years
Once the bottle has been opened, the speed of deterioration increases. That’s why you should finish off an opened bottle of Triple Sec within 3 years after opening.
How to Tell if Triple Sec Has Gone Bad?
But if it isn’t stored properly, there’s still a chance that Triple Sec can get spoiled. So if you’re bottle has been stored for an extended period, it’s recommended that you inspect it first before using it in your cocktails.
With that said, here are some of the signs of bad Triple Sec:
1. Changes in appearance
Even though it’s an orange-flavored liqueur, Triple Sec is colorless. So if you notice any discoloration, it means that your liqueur has started to spoil.
2. Off Smell
Triple Sec gives off a light and sweet scent. Unfortunately, once Triple Sec develops a funky and foul smell, it means it has already spoiled and must be discarded right away.
3. Weird Taste
This liqueur has a sweet and citrusy flavor. If it already tastes sour or flat, you should dispose of it immediately.
How to Store Triple Sec
To prevent Triple Sec from going bad, proper food storage is necessary. Here are some storage tips to help preserve the quality and safety of your Triple Sec syrup.
1. Keep it away from light and heat.
Triple Sec must be stored in the same way you store hard liquors—in a dark, cool and dry area. That’s why it’s best kept in a wine cellar or a liquor cabinet or pantry that’s located far from your oven and stove.
- Pro Tip: There’s no need to refrigerate Triple Sec as it’s perfectly fine at room temperature. But if you want to serve it chilled, we recommend storing it in the pantry then refrigerating it a few hours before serving.
2. Seal the bottle tightly when not in use.
Once you open the bottle of Triple Sec, oxidation will occur and start to gradually change your Triple Sec’s flavor. To avoid this, you need to protect your orange-flavored liqueur from air exposure.
You can do this by keeping the bottle’s lid sealed as tightly as possible.
3. Transfer leftovers to a smaller bottle.
The bigger the space in the bottle, the more air can enter inside and interact with your Triple Sec liqueur. When you transfer leftover Triple sec syrup from the original bottle to a smaller bottle, the space is reduced, and so are the chances of oxidation.
If stored properly, you can enjoy its quality taste for up to 10 years (unopened) and 3 years (opened).
But if when stored improperly, it’s at risk of getting spoiled, so make sure to always inspect your liqueur for any unwanted taste, off-flavor, and discoloration before using them.
Most of all, you must ensure that your bottle of Triple Sec is tightly sealed and stored in a cool, dark, and dry place.
We’ve already provided you with everything you need to make Triple Sec last longer. Now, it’s totally up to you to preserve the best quality of your Triple Sec!