Galliano is a yellow herbal Italian liqueur with a nuanced vanilla flavor that makes cocktails go from good to great! Here’s how to use it.

Galliano

It’s bright yellow, it’s beautiful, and it tastes divine: it’s Galliano liqueur! This Italian liquor rose to popularity in the 1970’s with the Harvey Wallbanger. But there’s so much more to it than a mixer for vodka and OJ! The sweet, nuanced flavor of vanilla, anise, juniper, and cinnamon adds an herbal complexity to any cocktail. This liqueur spawned several classic cocktails and deserves a spot in your collection, we think. Here’s more about it, when to use it, and the most popular cocktails that star this tasty liquor.

What is Galliano?

Galliano L’Autentico is a bright yellow, sweet herbal Italian liqueur. It’s made with a blend of 30 herbs, spices and plant extracts, and was invented in Tuscany, Italy since 1896. Its inventor, Arturo Vaccari, named it after Giuseppe Galliano, an Italian officer of the Royal Italian Army. Vaccari decided to make the liqueur gold in color to honor Italians traveling to California for the gold rush in the 1890’s.

Galliano went on to become the highest selling liquor in America in the 1970’s, due to the popularity of the Harvey Wallbanger! Some say the popularity of Galliano in the 1970’s is like that of St Germain today (and we concur).

What does Galliano taste like?

Galliano liqueur is sweet with a very complex flavor. It has strong notes of vanilla and anise, and subtler tone of juniper, peppermint, lavender, and cinnamon.

Are there any substitutes? Galliano is a unique liqueur that’s worth seeking out. In a pinch, you can use Licor 43, a vanilla-flavored Spanish liqueur that’s popularly used in a carajillo.

Why we like it

Galliano adds a sweet intriguing vanilla and licorice finish to any drink it touches. We weren’t expecting to like it as much as we do! The Golden Cadillac, Golden Dream, and Yellow Bird are must-try cocktails in our opinion.

Confession: we weren’t alive in the 1970’s, so we don’t have any of the retro baggage related to this ultra-popular liqueur. While it has since faded in popularity, we think it deserves a revival.

How much does it cost?

Compared to other liquors, Galliano is mid-priced. It costs about $17 to $20 for a 375 ml bottle and about $30 to $35 for a 750 ml bottle. We recommend getting the small size, since you’ll only use a bit at a time.

Galliano is fantastic straight as a digestif after a meal. It also features in many several cocktails, most of them after dinner cocktails.

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Harvey Wallbanger

Harvey Wallbanger & More Galliano Cocktails


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

The most popular Galliano cocktail? Try the Harvey Wallbanger, a recipe that’s a sophisticated spin on the Screwdriver.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 ounces (¼ cup) vodka
  • 3 ounces (6 tablespoons) orange juice (fresh squeezed, if possible)
  • ¾ ounce (1 ½ tablespoons) Galliano liqueur (Galliano L’Autentico)
  • Ice, for serving (try clear ice)
  • For the garnish: Orange wedge, cocktail cherry (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add the vodka and orange juice to a glass with ice and stir a few times until cold. 
  2.  Pour the Galliano over the back of a spoon onto the drink. Garnish and  serve. 
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Galliano

More cocktail guides

Wondering what Campari is? Or St Germain or Chartreuse? Here are a few more guides to cocktail and mixology:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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