The Golden Cadillac drink is a dream! One sip of its rich, creamy, and nuanced flavor and you’ll be a believer.

Golden Cadillac

Some drinks are a cut above the rest: and this one is worth a taste. Ever tried a Golden Cadillac? This pale yellow after dinner drink blew us away with its creamy, complex flavor! The name sounds a bit 1950’s (and it is), but we think this retro cocktail deserves a place among the greats. One sip and it’s herbal, creamy, and lightly chocolate, with hints of anise and nutmeg. It’s a little like a Brandy Alexander…but even better. It’s a unique and festive drink to whip out for parties or entertaining.

What’s a Golden Cadillac?

The Golden Cadillac is a after dinner drink made of Galliano (a sweet herbal Italian liqueur), creme de cacao, and cream. What’s behind the name? The story goes that the Golden Cadillac drink was invented in El Dorado, California in 1952 at a restaurant called Poor Red’s. The bartender (Frank Cline) created the drink for a couple who just got engaged and let them name the drink. They named it after their new Golden Cadillac that was parked outside.

Most cocktail origin stories have a bit of legend to them, and sometimes when they’re told so neatly we’re not sure whether they quite measure up. But this is the most common telling of the tale! Either way, Frank Cline hit the jackpot when he designed this one. It’s similar to a Brandy Alexander, using Galliano instead of brandy. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Galliano
  • Creme de cacao
  • Heavy cream

Let’s chat through the more unique ingredients, shall we?

Galliano

More about Galliano

Galliano is probably best known for its inclusion in the 1970’s hit drink, the Harvey Wallbanger. (We’ll admit, we didn’t live in that decade. But we’ve studied the history books!) What is it, and is it worth adding to your collection for the Golden Cadillac? Spoiler alert: we think so. Here’s what to know:

  • Galliano L’Autentico is a bright yellow, sweet herbal Italian liqueur. It’s made with a blend of 30 herbs, and it’s been produced in Tuscany, Italy since 1896.
  • What does Galliano taste like? It’s sweet and complex, with a strong vanilla flavor and notes of anise, juniper, peppermint, cinnamon, and citrus.
  • How much does Galliano cost? It’s mid-priced. Galliano 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.
  • Is it worth buying? Absolutely, we think so! You can drink it as a digestif (a shot after a meal), or mix it into Galliano cocktails. Try the Harvey Wallbanger, Golden Dream, and Yellow Bird.
Golden Cadillac drink

All about creme de cacao

Creme de cacao is the other heavy hitter in the Golden Cadillac drink. You might not have it in your liquor collection unless you love dessert drinks. What is it?

  • Crème de cacao is a chocolate-flavored liqueur. It’s possibly one of the first alcoholic beverages, made in the 1600’s by monks after cocoa beans were brought back to Europe from America (source). It’s available in two varieties: white (or blanc), which is clear, and dark, which is a rich brown color. Each has a distinct flavor.
  • What does creme de cacao taste like? White creme de cacao is sweet, with a strong milk chocolate flavor and vanilla notes. The dark variety is sweet with a richer, dark chocolate flavor.
  • How much does creme de cacao cost? It’s mid-priced. One 750 ml bottle costs around $15 to 20. We like the brand Drillaud as a good mid-range option.
  • Is it worth buying? Yes! There are lots of chocolate-flavored creme de cacao cocktails like the Grasshopper, Chocolate Martini and Bushwacker.

How to make a Golden Cadillac…a few tips

Once you’ve got the special ingredients, the Golden Cadillac is a breeze to make! You’ll simply shake up the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Here are a few tips:

  • Check the freshness of the dairy first. Make sure you’re using fresh cream before you start mixing the drink.
  • Shake in a cocktail shaker (or covered glass jar) until cold. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, use a glass jar and strainer.
  • Nutmeg garnish is required! Here the nutmeg plays a crucial role in the final flavoring. Do not omit it! Either fresh nutmeg or ground nutmeg work.
Golden Cadillac

More after dinner drinks

Looking for more after dinner drinks or dessert drinks to end a meal? Here are a few more tasty sweet ways to end a meal:

When to serve the Golden Cadillac drink

The Golden Cadillac is a dessert cocktail that’s perfect when you need a sweet treat, but it also works for happy hour or a signature cocktail. Try it for a:

  • Dessert cocktail or sweet cocktail
  • Happy hour drink
  • Girls or guys night drink
  • Cocktail hour drink
  • Signature drink
Print
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Golden Cadillac

Classic Golden Cadillac


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x

Description

The Golden Cadillac drink is a dream! One sip of its rich, creamy, and nuanced flavor and you’ll be a believer. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 ½ ounces* Galliano liqueur (Galliano L’Autentico)
  • 1 ½ ounces creme de cacao
  • 1 ½ ounces cream
  • For the garnish: fresh grated or ground nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Place the Galliano, creme de cacao, and cream in a cocktail shaker. Add 2 handfuls ice and shake until cold.
  2. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with fresh grated or ground nutmeg and serve. 
  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Golden Cadillac

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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6 Comments

  1. I’ve loved Golden Cadillacs for years, but I’ve always made mine with ice cream. Not ice milk. It matters !! It’s always been ice cream and a splash of half and half if too thick. No spices on top. Same with my grasshoppers. Ice cream. It’s a favorite at my house. Try it with ice cream some time ! 😋😉

    1. I found a scrap of paper with the hand written recipe for
      ” After Dinner drink Marge’s favorite
      Golden Cadillac” in my Aunt’s recipes. She lived in southern and central California in the 50’s-70’s.
      She always drove a Cadillac, wore pointy high heels and fur stoles. If it wasn’t created for her, it could have been.!
      The proportions are a bit different in her recipe:
      1 Oz Galliano
      2 Oz White Cream de Cocoa
      2 Oz Cream or Half&half
      ( I’ll try it both ways!;)
      Thank you for the informative article/ recipe! I plan to buy ingredients and serve at Christmas in honor of Aunt Marge 🧡

      1. How fun is this! I love hearing about Aunt Marge and she sounds like the embodiment of a Cadillac itself. Her recipe sounds delicious as well! We’d love to see a photo if you make it (you can share it with us on Instagram at @acouplecooks or via email info@acouplecooks.com !) Hope you enjoy!

  2. The ingredients you got listed is correct ,however you are missing one important ingredient & that is the creme is tobe mixed together with an egg white. Which makes the drink fluffy and so much better! Try it !