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What the Heck Is Galliano, and How Do You Use It?

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Galliano, that tall, triangular bottle of golden spirit, certainly stands out on the backbar. While Galliano was invented way back in 1896, the liqueur’s popularity peaked in the 1970s—but it has since lost some of its notability. Alluring as it may look with its uniquely shaped bottle and exotic Italian name, Galliano L’Autentico, it may not be entirely clear to every drinker what the drink is beyond “authentic.” So here, we lay out everything you wanted to know about Galliano.

What ingredients go into Galliano?

The Italian liqueur tastes of Mediterranean herbs like anise, juniper, musk yarrow, peppermint, vanilla and cinnamon. But there are actually 30 herbs that go into the formula, along with sugar for a light honeyed sweetness.

Why is Galliano yellow?

While Galliano’s flavor comes from all natural herbs and spices that are infused into the liquid, the color is synthetic, derived from yellow dye Tartrazine, aka Yellow Dye No. 5.

What is the alcohol content in Galliano?

Even with its touch of sweetness, the liqueur remains fairly dry and packs enough heat to stand as the base of a cocktail. Galliano is bottled at 42.3 percent ABV, as the label proudly proclaims, separating it from other low-ABV sweet liqueurs.

How much does Galliano cost?

The average cost of a 750-milliliter bottle is $36.

How long does Galliano last?

While the proof on Galliano will help it last a little longer than some other low-ABV liqueurs, the flavor will significantly fade over time. Sealed Galliano will last for the foreseeable future, while an open bottle will easily last a year, which is plenty of time to mix up some herbal cocktails. But that bottle you found hiding in your parents’ liquor cabinet from decades ago needs to go in the trash.

What is a Galliano substitute?

Another anise-flavored liqueur may be your best bet for replicating the flavor of Galliano in a cocktail. Try sambuca, perhaps with a bit of vanilla syrup if you’ve got it.

What are some Galliano drinks?

The Harvey Wallbanger, a spin on a Screwdriver, may not be the classiest cocktail ever, but it is possibly the most popular use of Galliano behind the bar. The herbal liqueur adds a sweet tinge to the tall glass of boozy OJ, injecting a little intrigue into the ho-hum brunch drink. You can also use Galliano to jazz up a Whiskey Sour (using a split base of Galliano and bourbon), or bring back a forgotten classic dessert cocktail, the Golden Cadillac. Similar to a Grasshopper in format, the Golden Cadillac is a simple mixture of equal parts Galliano, crème de cacao (or white crème de cacao) and cream, which are shaken together and strained over ice.

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