Looking for the perfect sugar free substitute for triple sec, curacao, Grand Marnier or Cointreau? Try this easy to make recipe for orange liqueur mixer to use in all your favorite low carb keto cocktails!
I have been making crafted sugar free and keto friendly cocktails for well over three years now (check out my cocktails tab for all the yummy drinks). While most alcohol and spirits are zero carbs, many crucial cocktail mixers (like orange flavored liqueur) are packed with a lot of sugars and thus higher carbs.
Want to learn more about alcohol on a keto diet? Check out this whole guide on how to drink responsibly for a low carb lifestyle!
While I already have mastered recipes on my site like this widely popular keto simple syrup, and have made other liqueurs like my homemade keto Kahlua, it was time to create a sugar free version of a classic triple sec, Cointreau, and other various orange liqueurs used in countless cocktail recipes.
With only a handful of ingredients, a little time and patience, and using the right low carb sweetener, you can easily whip up a batch of this crucial cocktail mixer and use in drinks like a keto margarita, make a keto friendly cosmopolitan and many more!
Get all the details below as I answer common questions, give you all the techniques and storage tips so you’re never without this perfect sugar free substitute. Let’s dive in!
- Small Saucepan or Pot
- Knife and Cutting Board
- Glass Jar (for storage)
Let’s chat all things orange liqueur and answer any common questions you may have! You can also jump to the recipe below too.
What is triple sec?
Triple sec is a clear, orange flavored liqueur that is bright, citrusy, and similar to an orange flavored vodka. There are various brands available and range in quality.
It’s a great way to add an orange, citrus flavor that’s a little more well rounded than added lemon or lime juice to a drink. Liqueurs are also a way in which cocktails get some of their sweetness as well.
What is the difference between triple sec and Cointreau?
Triple sec is actually slightly different from other orange liqueurs like Cointreau and Curacao , but this sugar free substitute is a good way to still get a similar flavor profile without the carbs.
While triple sec is a very bright, orange flavor (think similar to orange juice infused with vodka); Cointreau on the other hand is made with a combination of sweet and bitter orange peels that’s infused.
Orange peels are a key component to both liqueurs however because the natural orange oils or orange extract is what helps make a much more intense flavor
How many calories are in triple sec?
Traditional triple sec is roughly 11 carbs of sugar and about 250 calories (this may vary depending on the brand). That’s a lot of carbs for one cocktail if you’re trying to stay in a state of ketosis!
This is why using a low carb sweetener like allulose (which is zero carbs) works best for creating this sugar free version. You get the same texture and similar sweetness to a normal triple sec but it’s zero carbs instead.
What is triple sec used in?
Most commonly, you will find this in many margarita recipes. I like to use it in these cocktail recipes:
- Hatch Chili Margarita
- Red White and Blue Margarita (dye the triple sec blue to get the effect)!
- Mezcal Mule
- Cosmopolitan (made two ways)
- Jalapeno and Blackberry Margarita
Here is what I use/ recommend:
- Allulose Sweetener– I talk often about the prosperities of allulose and how it makes the perfect traditional sugar free simple syrup. It doesn’t re-crystalize when it cools or have an odd after taste. I do find it to be less sweet compared to other low carb sweeteners (but I personally prefer this anyways). Substitutes for this brand are Boca sweet or xylitol (but this is deadly to pets so be careful if you use it.
- Orange Peels- The orange peels contain the most flavor because of the natural oils. I infuse this into the allulose syrup I make to really extract the citrus flavor. Avoid adding too much of the pith (or the white part of the orange peel) because it will make it bitter.
- Vodka- This is a liqueur, so it needs liquor! Pour this into the orange syrup mixture and let it all fuse together. Any brand of vodka is fine, I use one I like to drink!
- Water- This is needed to make the syrup base before you add the vodka.
Follow the steps to making my easy keto simple syrup. Remove the syrup from the heat and allow the orange peels to infuse and extract their flavor in the warm syrup off the heat.
Once it cools to room temperature, transfer the whole mixture into a cocktail shaker or glass jar. Add in your vodka and shake it all together so the syrup mixes in. Seal it into a container and store it in the fridge or on your bar.
How To Make Sugar Free Triple Sec (Orange Liqueur)
- 1 Batch Keto Simple Syrup
- 1 large Orange peeled (use the peel not the orange)
- 2 cups Vodka
- Start by making a batch of Keto Simple Syrup (you need to use allulose for this recipe to come out the correct texture – see more information linked).
- Once you remove the keto simple syrup from the heat, add the peel of an entire orange to the hot syrup and let it steep like this until the mixture cools to room temperature.
- Once the syrup is cooled, pour it into a jar or container and add the vodka. Shake it so it mixes and let it rest at least 24 hours before removing the orange peels.
- Store in the fridge or on your bar (it is shelf stable) and use it in place of triple sec or other orange liqueurs.