France is the queen of orange liqueurs made from the zest of bigaradier (Seville) oranges, although it was the Dutch on Curaçao who first distilled orange peels when they invented spicy Curaçao liqueur.
A French couple, Jean-Baptiste and Josephine Combier, who ran a confectionerie in Saumur, often filled their chocolates with liqueurs, but weren’t satisfied with Curaçao—so they invented the purer, orangier liqueur in 1834, using sun-dried peels from the West Indies. They called it Combier Liqueur d’Orange and built a distillery in 1848.
How it became known as Triple-sec is uncertain: some say the name comes from the three different types of orange peel. Today the distillery built by Gustav Eiffel is still in Saumur, and uses the same copper stills. In 2016 Combier was recognized as an Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant.
Today many other firms also make Triple-Sec, perhaps most famously Cointreau.
Image by Chris Kirkman from Chapel Hill, North Carolina