I have unpleasant memories of frat parties where the “drink du jour” was served out of a large plastic bucket filled with a seemingly endless supply of Harvey Wallbangers. An H.W. is made with only three ingedients; vodka, orange juice and a mysterious liqueur called Galliano. So, with a re-release of the original 1896 formula making it’s way to American shores (from Holland, no less), I thought it would make sense to put aside my reservations about the neon yellow liqueur that had been gathering dust in the far reaches of my home bar and give it a second chance.
The Galliano most of us grew up with came in at a fairly low 30% alc/vol. I pulled out my bottle and gave it a thorough once over. The nose is light anise with notes of vanilla and grassy herbs. Overall, a pleasantly sweet taste with a lingering but uncomplicated finish. GSN Rating: B
Galliano L’Autentico (42.3% alc/vol) – The nose is more subdued and fruitier. The taste is less sweet, more balanced in a drier and more elegant way. Notes of citrus peel, licorice, white pepper, nutmeg and sandalwood break through in waves. This version works great on the rocks or for a different flavor profile, give this a try instead of Benedictine in your next cocktail. GSN Rating: A-
Galliano Ristretto (30% alc/vol) – An initial strong coffee scent with sweet, honeyed notes. The mouth feel is thick and intense with bittersweet deep roasted espresso featuring prominently. I prefer this to Kahlua, since it is less cloying. This works well on the rocks or served neat as an after dinner shot. Try this in your next Black or White Russian for a drier and more intense cocktail. GSN Rating B+