If you are anything like us and love to sip into cocktails like Golden Cadillac or Harvey Wallbanger, or Yellow Bird, Galliano is not a stranger to you. It is one of the most flavorful golden-yellow-colored liqueurs with vanilla-anise, citrus, and woodsy herbal hints.
The alcohol content varies between the original blend and the one with vanilla, with 42.3% and 30%, respectively. Its flavor is derived from star anise, Galliano’s hallmark vanilla flavor, vanillin, caramel, and several other components.
You might think that finding a substitute for such an intricate liqueur might be impossible. Well, it is not impossible, but quite challenging. Some of the best substitutes include Sambuca, Anisette, Herbsaint, Pernod, etc. We have explained several other substitutes in the following article.
What Is Galliano?
Galliano, or Liquore Galliano L’Autentico, is a sweet liqueur made in 1896 by Italian distiller Artuor Vacarri. He names the herbal liqueur after Giuseppe Galliano.
Basically, it is a sweet liqueur with hints of vanilla-anise, citrus, and woodsy herbal flavor. It can be used as a digestif and as an ingredient for cocktails like Golden Cadillac, Harvey Wallbanger, Yellow Bird, etc.
Why Do We Want Substitutes For Galliano?
Even though the taste of Galliano is liked by all, people might not want something extremely sweet. Or, you might run out of Galliano at the last moment.
Rather than panicking at the very last moment, it is best to keep some alternatives handy to substitute Galliano in cocktails.
12 Best Substitutes for Galliano
Be it for a cocktail or a dessert, the following Galliano substitutes will not disappoint.
If you need something that tastes almost exactly like Galliano, we recommend Sambuca. Not just the taste, but both the liqueur share the same origin place- Italy.
Generally, Sambuca is a colorless liquor. But you can also find black sambuca, which is deep blue in color, or red sambuca, which has a striking bright red shade.
Similar to Galliano, Sambuca is also a digestif. Apart from being a traditional Italian drink, it can be used to prepare mouth-watering desserts like cookies, apple cake, mousse, Italian creme puffs, parfaits, Easter calzones, etc.
In case you do not want to add it to your desserts, you can also serve it neat with coffee beans on the side.
In terms of taste, it will give you hints of star anise that gives the liqueur a distinct licorice flavor. The sweetness is derived from added sugar or additional flavorings like elderberry.
It has a minimum ABV of 38%; some brands might increase it to 42%.
If you cannot get enough of the anise-flavored liqueur, we suggest trying Anisette. This colorless liqueur is largely consumed in Mediterranean countries, but you can find it around the globe.
It is prepared by distilling aniseed. Since it contains a strong flavor, people prefer it with water or ice cubes. They are also included in preparing several famous cocktails like the Russian roulette and the Dubonnet royal.
As far as the flavor is concerned, you get a sweet and black licorice-like taste with a sweet fragrant aroma.
Apart from cocktails, you can use this liqueur to prepare desserts like icebox cookies or biscotti. While the Italians prefer the latter to be served after dinner, you can make use of it any time of the day!
It is considered to be mild, with an approximate 25% ABV.
Herbsaint is an anise-flavored liqueur that originated in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1934.
Not only is Herbsaint a substitute for Galliano, but people also use it in place of absinthe.
The latest version of Herbsaint has a sharp and crisp flavor with heavy notes of star anise, similar to black licorice. You can use it to prepare cocktails, with the most famous one being the Herbsaint Frappé, not to mention Sazerac, which is loved due to its zesty flavor.
You can also mix it with ice and serve it chilled.
It is best to keep Herbsaint away from desserts.
It has a 50% ABV, edging it towards a stronger liqueur side.
Raki is a party favorite since it has a rich history dating back to the Turkish celebrations. It is a clear brandy made with distilled grapes. The flavor is derived from anise, thereby giving it a licorice-like taste.
You might also find people referring to it as “lion’s milk” since Raki turns cloudy on mixing it with water.
In its origin country, Raki is rarely added to cocktails. But you can prepare Batimi or mix it with mineral water to get a candy licorice flavor that will tickle your tongue.
We advise you to avoid chugging Raki or drinking it neat since it is a strong liqueur with around 90% of alcohol content.
If you are looking for an anise-flavored liqueur that can be added to sauces or casseroles, we highly suggest Ouzo.
This aperitif is highly common in Greece. It is served with salad, calamari, octopus, or fried zucchini in Greece cafes.
It is prepared through the process of distillation and is considered to be a strong drink, mainly due to its sugar content. If you generally prefer an entire glass, we suggest reducing the quantity by half while consuming Ouzo.
While it is not a mainstream cocktail drink, Ouzini is quite famous in Cyprus.
Similar to Raki, Ouzu turns milky-white when mixed with ice or water.
The ABV ranges from 37.5% to 50%.
If you are in love with the flavor of black licorice, chances are you will make Pastis your favorite liqueur.
It is an anise-flavored apéritif and spirit that marks its origin in France. It emerged as a star in France during the absinthe debacle. However, it has been a part of the traditional Mediterranean anise liqueur.
It is slightly sweet due to its sugar content. Generally, it is kept at less than 100 gms/liter. It can be consumed pure or after being diluted with water.
You can also prepare boozy desserts like macarons, panna cotta, or even a chocolate fennel cake.
It contains 40-50% ABV.
While it might be difficult to find Roiano in the United States of America, it deserves to be tried at least once if and when you get to visit Italy.
This Italian liqueur is made with anise, vanilla, and several other herbs. Just like Galliano, it is golden-yellow in color.
Even though it has a sweet and herbal taste, it is best to drink it neat or with water rather than incorporating it in desserts or other dishes.
It contains 40% ABV.
Pernod Richard or Pernod is a French anise-flavored apéritif. Along with that, this French company produces several other kinds of pastis.
With its strong anise flavor, Pernod can be consumed with water. Its strong black anise flavor is complemented with subtle notes of coriander, mint, and fennel.
You can either use it to prepare Pastis or use it to prepare salmon, shrimp, or a seafood stew.
With its high alcohol content (40% ABV), you must keep a check on the quantity while drinking it.
9. Licor 43
Unlike the other substitutes mentioned above, Licor 43 does not have the same taste as Galliano. However, it does have a certain sweetness, owing to the 43 herbs and spices mixed in it. For example, it is infused with citrus, cinnamon, vanilla, orange peel, etc.
Since it predominantly contains fruits and aromatic spices and herbs, it is light and sweet, with vanilla as its strongest flavor. You shall also notice subtle notes of cinnamon and citrus.
You can either consume it neat or on the rocks. Moreover, it works well with several types of cocktails like Key Lime Martini, 43 Pina Colada, or Vanilla Margarita. You can also mix it with coffee or cola.
Apart from that, you can add the liqueur to prepare desserts, meat marinades, or jams.
It has 31% ABV.
Also known as the “witches liqueur,” Strega is an Italian herbal liqueur that shares the same yellow color as Galliano.
It is a digestif that contains around 70 herbs like saffron, juniper berries, mint, cinnamon, etc. Such a composition gives it a sweet taste with hints of anise.
With its coniferous and minty notes, you can use Strega to prepare an array of cocktails like Death Star, Witches’ Daiquiri, Unforgettable Moments, Lo Stregone, etc.
You can also use it to add a refined touch to desserts like fruit salads, cake mixes, pie fillings, etc.
If you do not have a sweet tooth, you can prepare several savory dishes with Strega like Pasta Shish kebab, Artichoke chicken, etc.
It contains 40% ABV.
11. Yellow Chartreuse
Yellow Chartreuse is a slightly sweet and herbaceous liqueur that has hints of honey, anise, saffron, and vegetal taste.
It is filled with dried Italian herbs, lemon rind, and menthol that gives a cooling effect. While it has an acquired taste. Yellow chartreuse is more approachable than its Green option.
The best cocktails prepared with Yellow Chartreuse are Naked & Famous and Alaska.
It contains 40% ABV.
12. Licorice Extract
Licorice extract is the portion of licorice root that is obtained by boiling water. The extract is purified through filtration. Generally, it is obtained in the form of liquid, paste, or powder.
The best recipes made through licorice extract are martini, buck, and Glukurrhiza coffee.
Homemade Galliano Recipe
In case the aforementioned substitutes do not work for you, you can try a homemade Galliano recipe. Do not worry; the recipe is pretty straightforward.
- Water (2/3 cups)
- Sugar (2 cups)
- Pune vanilla (3 teaspoons)
- Anise extract (1/2 teaspoons)
- Vodka (2 1/2 cups)
Boil some water in a pan and add sugar.
Stir well till the sugar gets dissolved completely.
Once it cools down, add vanilla lemon juice, vodka, and star anise.
Mix it well and bottle the mixture.
Seal it with a cork and let it age for 2 weeks for using it.
What is the difference between apéritif and digestif?
Apéritif and digestif signify that the drinks are meant to be consumed before and after meals, respectively.
An apéritif stimulates the appetite while the digestif helps with digestion. Ouzu and Pastis are famous apéritifs while Galliano and Strega are digestifs.
What herbs are in Galliano?
Galliano contains approximately 30 herbs, including star anise, lavender, juniper, yarrow musk, vanilla, etc. It has vanilla sweetness with hints of anise.
What is the substitute for Galliano in Harvey Wallbanger?
If you want to make Harvey Wallbanger but you’ve run out of Galliano, we suggest using Sambuca, Ouzo, or Anisette. These substitutes will help you create the exact same sweet taste of Galliano.
What mixes well with Galliano?
Galliano mixes well with root beer, cream soda, spiced rum, ginger ale, and orange juice. You can use any combination to make a perfect cocktail.
Is Licor 43 similar to Galliano?
As compared to Licor 43, Galliano has a flatter taste. The alcohol content also varies. While both of them have a lingering taste, it all comes down to a personal preference.
Does Galliano taste like licorice?
People might find similarities between Galliano and licorice as the former provides a licorice finish along with a sweet taste.
Either Galliano is not readily available near you, or you might not be a fan of its flavor; the aforementioned substitutes will help you replicate the taste.
If you want to prepare cocktails, we suggest Anisette, Herbsaint, and Strega. On the other hand, if desserts are your forte, Sambuca, Pastis, and Licor 43 are what you should go for!
Choose wisely, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Milburn Adler is a food enthusiast and connoisseur of wine. His area of expertise is food fusions and gourmet foods. He lives to experiment with new recipes every day and spends most of his day looking for fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables.