Tag Archive: Triple Sec

Absolute Martini


It’s an old drink, but a good drink. Before I started DaveDrinks, I had a couple of false starts trying to make a cocktail book. When searching through some old times I found a word document entitled “Cocktail Book” and it was dated March 16, 2008. That predates my first post here by over 3.5 years! Looking through the book I found a lot of the same drinks that have been included here, but more drinks that I have yet to add to the blog. So the next series of drinks are going to be remakes from that old cocktail book of mine. But don’t worry, I’ll make them all again and see if my ratings still hold up!  First stop is the letter A and the Absolute Martini.

  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 0.5 ounce triple sec
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • 2-3 dashes of orange bitters

Simple martini – shaker over ice and serve in a chilled glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • My original thought was “very drinkable, lemon flavor”, and I think that holds true today.
  • For such a strong drink, you don’t notice the double shot of vodka.
  • On a second taste, this is very lemony, the lemon juice really cuts through everything else.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10 (previously was a 9!)
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 5/10
  • Not a bad drink, but I am surprised that lemon isn’t in the name!

Southern Martini


Sometimes you need a classic martini to set the evening off right.  No fruity pretense, and none of that dry vermouth to scare us away.  Allow me to present the Southern Martini.  A classic gin martini that features a hint of orange to add to the flavor.  A freshly poured martini has that naturally cloudy texture, that gradually fades to a crisp clear liquid.  No one will mistake you for an armature.

  • 3 ounces gin (Bombay Sapphire)
  • 0.5 ounces triple sec
  • 3 dashes of orange bitters

Combine ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker, stir well and strain into a chilled martini glass.  Garnish with a lemon twist.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Don’t let the triple sec or the orange bitters fool you, this is a dry martini.
  • There is an oh so subtle hint of orange deep down inside, but you will need to let the drink sit on your tongue to notice.
  • If served to an unsuspecting friend, they would swear there was a full measure of dry vermouth included.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 6/10 (a little too dry for my taste)
  • Strength: 9/10
  • Sweetness: 2/10
  • A great alternative to a classic martini.

Daydream Martini

Flipping through the drink books this evening I came across a drink that had been crudely starred four times in pen.  Something tells me that I may have made this one before and been impressed.  Catching up on Mad Men this evening, so it is a no brainer to make a martini – but I am guessing this isn’t one that Don would enjoy.  Perhaps a straight up vodka martini would have been more appropriate?  Ah well, what’cha gonna do?

  • 3 ounces citrus vodka
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 0.5 ounce triple sec
  • 0.25 teaspoon sugar

Shake over ice. strain and serve into a chilled martini glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • A semi-sweet orange martini would be the best description.
  • Tastes like a flat Orangina without the bits… and with vodka.
  • I think this is best described as a classic orange martini.

Tastings Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 7/10
  • Strength: 8/10
  • Sweetness: 4/10
  • Roger quote of the evening: “How Jewish are they?  Fiddler on the Roof – audience or cast?”

Churchill Downs

Help!  I’m so far behind.  After 4 full months of making drinks I have to say that it is a challenge to keep up.  One drink a day sounds so easy until you try it.  This drink is from April 26.  It fell to the cutting room floor as a result of me not having anything creative to say that day.  It’s really a shame, because this is a great drink, I guess its just not inspirational!  Enjoy the Churchill Downs – maybe your horse will come in!

  • 1.5 ounces bourbon
  • 1 ounces brandy
  • 0.5 triple sec
  • 4 chilled ginger ale

Combine in a tall collins glass over ice, stir gently and serve.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • This is a boozy drink, but not a strong one.  The bourbon and the brandy make this a classic cocktail.
  • A nice sweetness up front, but the flavor of the brandy is clear in the aftertaste.
  • The triple sec adds an interesting flavor to the liquor, softens and sweetens.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10
  • Strength: 6/10
  • Sweetness: 6/10
  • A pleasant cooler to enjoy with a good movie.

Jaime’s Martini

Peyton Manning is a Bronco.  So of all the teams in the NFL that he could have picked, I now have to watch him twice a year, being constantly irritated by his line of scrimmage antics.  I know, I should be in awe of his amazing understanding of the game and his ability to pick apart defences and adjust the play, but all it does for me is slow down the game.  So what does this mean for me as a Chargers fan?  The pundits claim that the AFC West is no longer up for grabs and the new and improved Broncos with Peyton in tow will win easily against the competition.  All I can say is that I hope that the Chargers continue to have his number and put him in his place twice a year.  Go Chargers!

That’s not what you came here for – on to the drink.  Also, what the hell is that thing in the picture next to the glass?

  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 0.5 ounce triple sec
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 0.25 teaspoon sugar

Place everything in a shaker over ice, stir vigorously, strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Triple sec, orange juice and sugar – this once should be sweet, but it isn’t.
  • The flavor of orange is surprisingly subtle, it’s there but it does not dominate the drink.
  • If nothing else, it’s a cool yellow color!

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 6/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 5/10
  • Not what I would expect, but that doesn’t make it all bad.

Margarita el Generico

Once in a while we have to add one of the classic cocktails in here for completeness.  We’ve already made one type of Margarita, but let’s make the most generic kind.  This is the one that your friend who doesn’t know anything about bartending will make you.  It’s the one on the sweet and sour bottle.

  • 3 ounces of tequila (Jose Cuervo)
  • 1.5 ounces of triple sec
  • 2 splashes of sweet and sour (homemade)

Shake everything over ice, serve how you like – rocks, up, with salt, without.  Throw a lime wedge in there too!

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • It’s like the margarita you order at the local dive bar.  It will suffice.  Enough of them will get you drunk, but your not going to remember drinking it in the morning.
  • I cannot say how many better margaritas there are in the world, let’s go with a lot.
  • You can taste the tequila.  You can taste the sweet and sour.  There’s triple sec in here?

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 3/10
  • Strength: 7/10
  • Sweetness: 6/10
  • What did you expect from a generic drink?

Honeydew Martini

Time for another martini tonight.  perusing the my martini recipe book and I found something fun – the Honeydew Martini – lots of vodka and a bit of flavor to enjoy.

  • 4.5 ounces of vodka (Ketel One)
  • 0.75 ounce of melon liqueur (Midori)
  • 0.75 ounce of triple sec
  • lemon twist

Get your shaker, fill with ice, add the liquor and shake it up.  Serve it up into a martini glass, garnish with the lemon.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Not a fun fruity cocktail, this is a strong martini with a hint of sweetness.
  • The first taste is the Midori, but the finish is all vodka.
  • Next time you have a party and someone orders something fun – here you go – looks good and will help get the party going!

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 6/10
  • Strength: 9/10
  • Sweetness: 4/10
  • This is an interesting one, not sweet enough to be friendly, too fruity to be serious.

What is Orange Liqueur?

Time to learn something.

I am not sure how exactly I came to this conclusion, but I was always under the impression that orange liqueur was orange liqueur, and for fun there were various grades/types that you could select.  There was the poor mans version – triple sec in all its generic forms.  If you were in the mood for crazy colors you could opt for blue curacao.  Then once you graduated college and could afford a little better you could upgrade to Cointreau.  If you were crazy you then go all the way for the Grand Marnier – for the baller in you.

Funny thing is, I was wrong.  While they are all technically orange liqueurs, they are each made in a very distinct way with different ingredients.  They can all be drunk as an aperitif, often over ice or used as the ingredient of a fun libation.  Here is the summary:

  1. Triple Sec.  The generic standby.  This is actually a type of curacao, but not as sweet as the other varieties.
  2. Curacao (including the fantastically blue version I sampled here).  This is a specific type of liqueur made in the Dutch West Indies using dried sour orange peels.  Surprisingly, it was originally made with fruit from the island of Curacao.
  3. Cointreau.  This is technically another curacao, but it has no relation to its Caribbean cousin.  This is made from a complex recipe, but the primary difference is that it made from a base of grape brandy – who knew?  There is also a secret mix of plant ingredients included to enhance the flavor.
  4. Grand Marnier.  This once should be different – it is the only one that has a brown coloring.  This is a further refinement of a curacao, this time using cognac as a base.  To mellow the taste it is also cask aged.  This is fine enough to enjoy neat if you are no inclined.

Now I know how they are different – how do they taste different?  To be honest I had never tried any of these outside of a cocktail recipe, so no time like the present for a taste test.

Tasting Notes:

  • Triple Sec – smooth and sweet.  When sampled alone almost has the taste of an orange tic-tac.  While it is certainly sweet, it is not as sweet as I was expecting.
  • Curacao – sweeter, harsher, and in this case blue!  While I have to say it is only subtly different from the Triple Sec, it tastes like a less refined version.
  • Cointreau – one word – sweet!  This is a whole different level of orange liqueur.  The smell lures you in with the pleasant hint of orange peels, but the taste is powerful, almost spicy.
  • Grand Marnier – totally different again, very much the taste of cognac, and the orange flavor is almost secondary.  Not as sweet and definitely more robust a flavor.

Now you know – there is a difference, so my years of reckless substitution are over!

Dave’s Centenario

The parents came to visit today, and since we always end up having to make them a cup of coffee, I thought it best to try a drink with some coffee liqueur in their honor – Tia Maria.  Of course, when making the drink I misread the recipe, so my version has 3x as much Tia Maria and 3x as much triple sec.  Interestingly enough, what came out was quite pleasant.  So enjoy my screw-up.  I will update this with the correct recipe one of these days, but until then I am christening this “Dave’s Centenario”.  This drink is also in the tradition of a rum punch, with a lot of liquor mixing together with fruit flavors to mask its strength.  I like it.

  • 1.5 ounces gold rum (10 Cane)
  • 0.75 ounce of white rum (Bacardi)
  • 0.75 ounce Tia Maria (oops)
  • 0.75 ounce triple sec (oops again)
  • 1.5 ounces of fresh lime juice
  • Dash of grenadine
  • Garnish with a fresh mint sprig

Lots of ingredients here, throw them in a shaker, shake them up, serve in a collins glass filled with ice.

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Drink has a sweet start, a tart middle and a finish of coffee.
  • Overall the drink is well-balanced, I think it would be a great summer drink.
  • Be careful, there’s 2.5 shots of liquor in here.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 7/10 (1 off for having coffee flavor!)
  • Strength: 8/10
  • Sweetness: 7/10
  • Some screw ups do work out for the best.

Rum Swizzle

We have tried to Rum Cooler, so why not the Rum Swizzle!  I guess the best way to describe this would be to call it the “Advanced Rum Cooler”, and I have to say after tasting this, it is definitely the better alternative, fixing any of my critiques.  Best of all, this doesn’t need a lot of unique ingredients to upgrade your cooler…

  • 2 ounces dark rum (Myers)
  • 0.5 ounce lemon juice
  • 0.5 ounce triple sec
  • 5-6 ounces of ginger ale
  • lemon wheel

Dave’s Thoughts:

  • Take one part Rum Cooler, add a couple of parts lemon juice and triple sec, and you have the new and improved Rum Swizzle!
  • Drink retains the flavor of the rum, but really softens the flavor, making a much more drinkable beverage, loosing all the harshness.

Tasting Notes:

  • Dave’s Rating: 8/10
  • Strength: 4/10
  • Sweetness: 5/10
  • Skip the Rum Cooler, this is better.