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Orphan Bottles Part III: Galliano

It's happened to all of us at one time or another. I'll find a recipe I love, usually in preparation for a holiday or an occasion, buy the requisite bottles, and batch the drink. Weeks go by and the base spirit gets sipped on and the fresh ingredients go into my ever-questionable culinary experiments, but the modifiers remain. Those orphaned bottles, that are so good in specific cocktails, end up dusty and forgotten on my back bar.

Luckily for you (and me), I'm going to attempt to create a compendium of lesser known cocktails that use up some of these ingredients. Usually these liqueurs are relegated to their seasonality, but I'll try to shake that up a bit too.

It's likely that you don't even have a bottle of Galliano at your house. Your grandmother might have one in the back of her kitchen cupboard. It's the type of bottle she pulls out once a year (usually around the holiday season) and pours herself a splash over ice. Then back to the cupboard it goes for another twelve lonely months. Maybe your grandmother bought you a bottle of Galliano at some point as a housewarming gift. Maybe you bought it yourself to make Harvey Wallbangers for your last disco brunch with your friends. Maybe the bottle just appeared one day on its own without any doing on your part (the Gallianos of the world have a way just showing up like that).

Whatever the case, you have it, and I have several answers to the latent "what do I do with this overlarge bottle of sweet stuff" question.

A little background: Galliano is an Italian liqueur with a gentle herbal flavor (primarily anise and vanilla). Unlike most anise flavored spirits, it is relatively delicate, which is actually a good thing. Most anisettes overpower any drink they're put into. Like most of the liqueurs covered in this series, it showed up on the market in the 1800's and stayed in relative popularity until about the 1980's (its peak hitting during the mid 1970's heyday of the Harvey Wallbanger). Unlike most of the liqueurs I've touched on, Galliano doesn't have a cult following. If anything, it's a bit of a pariah in the bartending world - it was too popular during an era when consistency and quality played second fiddle to showmanship.


The Important Stuff

  1. Dilution. Always shake (or stir) your cocktails! Dilution is essential. Imagine the difference between lemon juice and lemonade. Sugar is only half the battle when it comes to a well balanced cocktail. The batched drink recipes call for the inclusion of water as a base ingredient to keep you from having to shake 60 plus ounces of liquor.

  2. Measurements. Ounces are the go-to measures for American bartenders. When it comes to making single cocktails, do yourself a favor and invest the $15 or so that it takes to get a multimeasured jigger. It will save you time and once you get handy with it, it looks pretty cool to play with. I recommend this, this or this one. When it comes to batched drinks, aim for your nearest liquid measuring cup. OXO has a great one, but they all serve the same function as the one your mother gave you when you moved into your first apartment.

  3. Ingredients. It's well worth your time to juice fresh. Once you get handy with a juicer, it'll take about 10 minutes of added effort to make your batch, but it'll make all the difference in terms of quality. Just get yourself this hand juicer at any grocery store and have at it.

  4. Garnishing. Get down with the garnish. The purpose of a well executed garnish is twofold. One, it makes the drink look fantastic, adding another sensory layer to the cocktail experience (along with taste, smell and texture), and two, it serves as a glass by glass identifier. Each garnish will have minute idiosyncrasies that the cocktail drinker will become familiar with over the life of the cocktail. That way, when you have twenty people milling around a party, each one will know which drink belongs to them.


The Harvey Wallbanger

It's only appropriate to start this conversation on Galliano with the drink that made it a household name. The origins of this drink are murky at best, but the marketing for it played on Californian surf culture (which was a bit of a thing in the 1970's). Really, the creator of this recipe was a gentleman living in our own Hartford CT, Donato "Duke" Antone (who incidentally, is also credited with the creation of the Rusty Nail). There's a good bit of marketing that went into making this drink as successful as it was (think in terms of the 2013 Fireball craze), and it honestly isn't one of my favorites, but it's worth mentioning and certainly worth trying. Per a very good friend's suggestion, I beefed the original recipe up with just a little lemon juice.

.25oz Lemon Juice

.5oz Galliano

1.5oz Vodka

4oz Fresh Orange Juice

Build ingredients over ice in a glass. Give it a quick stir and serve

Batch it!

Makes 1/2 Gallon

2.25oz Lemon Juice

5.25oz Galliano

15.5oz Vodka

41oz Orange Juice

Build all ingredients in a pitcher, stir, and chill in the fridge. With the orange juice acting as the diluter, there's no need to add water dilution to this built cocktail like you would with a stirred or shaken one.

Garnish Notes: I spent more time playing with this garnish than I did workshopping the drink. I cut an orange wheel, and then sliced a radial line (from edge to direct center) and then fooled around with spiraling it in on itself for most of the evening. I had a lot of fun, I also doubt I could replicate it without some futzing if I had to. Best of luck!


Jump Up and Kiss Me

The Jump Up and Kiss Me is a little retro cocktail from the 1960's. It originated in St Croix and is named after a local flower, or so I've been told. The original cocktail calls for apricot brandy, but to be completely honest, I dislike apricot brandy and apricot liqueurs with an undying passion. In its place, I subbed St George's lovely pear brandy, which is much drier and balanced the sweetness of the Galliano and juices in glass.

.25oz Lemon Juice

.25oz St George Pear Brandy

1oz Aged Rum (I used Probitas to give it a little - but not too much - funk)

1oz Galliano

1oz Pineapple Juice

Shake, strain over ice, garnish with an (ideally edible) flower.

Batch it!

Makes 1/2 Gallon

3.75 Lemon Juice

3.75oz St George Brandy

14.5oz Pineapple Juice

14.5oz Galliano

14.5oz Rum

12.75oz Water

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher, stir, and chill for a few hours. Serve over ice.

Garnish Note: I used Purple Dendrobium Orchids as a garnish for this particular cocktail. You can buy them almost anywhere and they make for a beautiful (and easy) garnish for any fruity cocktail. Store them dry in the fridge and they'll last longer than you'd expect (somewhere between 1-3 weeks depending on an endless number of factors).



This is another beautiful little tiki cocktail. Honestly now that I've played with Galliano as much as I have, I see why it ended up in a few lasting tiki drinks. The vanilla pairs wonderfully with the vibrant flavors associated with tiki style and the herbaceousness of the liqueur creates some great underlying bottom notes. I adapted this recipe with the help of a baby bartender I'm currently training, and was impressed with her suggestion to add fresh mint. She called it beginner's luck, but I think she has a natural intuition for flavor pairing. We also added a touch of simple syrup to balance the use of Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, which isn't as sickly sweet as the triple secs in use when the original cocktail recipe was produced.

.25 Simple Syrup

.5oz Lime Juice

.5oz Triple Sec (Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao)

.5oz Galliano

1oz White Rum (Plantation 3 Star)

5-6 Leaves Fresh Mint

Shake all ingredients, then double strain into a coupe. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Batch it!

Makes 1/2 Gallon

4.75oz Simple Syrup

9.25oz Lime Juice

9.25oz Triple Sec

9.25oz Galliano

18.5oz Rum

12.75oz Water

10 Sprigs of mint

One day before serving, pull the mint leaves from their stems and soak in the simple syrup

overnight. Several hours before serving, combine all of the ingredients, including the mint, into a pitcher with a slotted pourer (to hold back the mind during service), and chill. Serve cold in coups.


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