What Galliano Substitute Do You Need? All You Need to Know!


Galliano is such a flavorful Italian liqueur known for its sweet vanilla and herbaceous flavor, made with various herbs and spices for its complex, enjoyable taste.

This is a digestif meant to take after meals, but you can also find it in cocktails like the Golden Dream, Yellow Bird, Harvey Wallbanger, and more.

Understandably, not everyone knows what Galliano is, or those who know it may not have easy access to it. Regardless of why you can’t find or use this liqueur, you can always use a handy-dandy Galliano substitute to achieve a similar, or even better, experience in your drinks.

Read on for our comprehensive list to discover the best Galliano substitute for you!

The Best Galliano Substitute

Galliano was once known as the Liquore Galliano L’Autentico, made in Italy back in 1896. This liqueur is sweet with an herbaceous flavor, with citrus and vanilla-like flavor undertones, waking up the tastebuds!

Fun fact: Arturo Vaccari created Galliano in his new distillery. The name Galliano honors Maggiore Giuseppe Galliano, an Italian war hero. While Vaccari created the liqueur’s recipe to be a flavor of its own, it’s said that he based it on homemade liqueur Galliano carried into battle.

Galliano is created with ingredients like cinnamon, peppermint, lavender, and other herbs and spices that add to its depth. Its sweetness comes from glucose syrup or sugar, while its yellow color comes from ingredients like caramel and tartrazine.

Overall, there are 30 ingredients included in Galliano, all packed in a tall and slender liqueur, ready to serve people its sweet and fruity flavor.

It also has a fairly high ABV of 42.5%, separating it from the other sweet liqueurs with lower ABV levels.

With such a unique combination, it might leave you wondering: Is it really possible to find a Galliano substitute to match?

It’s possible, but there may be differences in texture and flavor, so your recipe may taste the same or maybe even better!

Check out these alternatives:

1. Pernod

Pernod originates from France, an anise-flavored liqueur that’s traditionally used in seafood recipes.

It has a licorice flavor that works amazingly in dishes like mussels and bouillabaisse. This liqueur has the same strength as Galliano, allowing it to bring similar anise flavors to your recipe.

We recommend using this as a Galliano substitute in sweet or savory dishes, but do note that, other than anise, Pernod has a different flavor profile from Galliano.

Pernod is less sweet than Galliano, so we recommend adding a bit of your preferred sweetener to compensate.

Furthermore, Pernod doesn’t have Galliano’s vanilla flavor, so you may want to add a bit of vanilla extract if this is an important flavor. That’s usually the case in desserts like cakes.

Learn more: A List of Good Pernod Substitutes

2. Anisette

Also called anis, this is a colorless liqueur popularly found in Mediterranean countries. This liqueur has strong flavors of anise with a sweet, syrupy consistency, making it an excellent Galliano substitute in cakes and other desserts.

Anis has a 25% ABV, which is an advantage for those who don’t like the strong alcohol content of Galliano. However, Anis has a stronger anise flavor with fewer herbal undertones.

3. Sambuca

Like Galliano, Sambuca originates from Italy. It’s an anise-flavored liqueur with berry and herb undertones.

It also comes in three varieties, which are black, red, and clear.

Fun fact: Sambuca’s etymology is a debated topic, with people saying it comes from the Latin word elderberry. However, others say that it comes from the word Zammut, an Arabic anise-flavored drink imported from the Civitavecchia’s port, where Sambuca was born. Lastly, Luigi Manzoni, the first commercial producer of the liqueur, says it is named after Sambuchelli watermen.

Sambuca is almost as strong as Galliano, having a strong flavor and alcohol content. Since it’s sweet and has similar anise and herb flavor profile, Sambuca makes an exceptional Galliano substitute. That said, Sambuca’s berry flavors might not jive well with certain dishes, especially those with delicate flavors like light sauces and fish.

Pro-tip: If you want to use Sambuca for desserts, you can add some vanilla extract to mimic Galliano’s flavor.

4. Ouzo

Those who traveled to Cyprus or Greece are probably already familiar with Ouzo. This is a strong and dry liqueur we usually drink as an aperitif. (*)

Its most notable feature is its strong licorice flavor, which is unforgettable. While we love its strength, the flavor is too intense, so it’s best to use half the amount the recipe calls for before adding more for taste.

You can also add sweeteners and vanilla extract to mimic the authentic Galliano flavor.

5. Raki

Raki comes from Turkey, having a strong anise flavor like Galliano.

It’s a bit more comparable to Ouzo but has one of the strongest alcohol contents we’ve seen – a whopping 90%!

Pro-tip: When using this as a substitute, be wary. Not only does it have a strong flavor, but it can pack a punch and leave you drunk if you aren’t careful enough. We recommend reducing the amount to half (or even more) for your cocktails.

6. White Wine

White wine is popular alcohol for cooking, as it has a delicate flavor that adds more depth and intensity to many dishes, particularly sauces and casseroles.

While white wine has a very different flavor compared to Galliano, it’s a decent Galliano substitute if you prefer subtle flavors and lower alcohol content. Of course, you can always add anise and vanilla flavorings to mimic Galliano’s flavor more.

7. Homemade Galliano Substitute

Yes, you can make your own Galliano at home! First, prepare these ingredients:

  • One tablespoon of lime juice
  • Two cups of sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of anise extract
  • Three teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups of vodka
  • 2/3 cups of water
  • Four drops of yellow food coloring

How to make:

  • Make a syrup from your water and sugar, bringing the mixture to a boil.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and mix everything until well incorporated.
  • And your Galliano substitute is now ready!
  • It’s got the alcohol, sweetness, as well as anise and vanilla flavor you need.

The Best Non-Alcoholic Galliano Substitute

Are you a non-drinker or want to serve mocktails for the younger ones? We’ve got you covered as we list down non-alcoholic Galliano substitutes below!

8. Orange Juice

The best non-alcoholic Galliano substitute is citrus juices like fresh orange juice.

Orange juice will bring out strong flavors and work well with sweet and savory dishes. Plus, oranges are sweeter than other citrus fruits like lime or lemon. (*)

Of course, orange juice only has the citrus flavors Galliano has, but not the anise and vanilla. There are ways to substitute them though, as you can add a bit of anise seed and vanilla extract! 

9. Star Anise, Anise Seed, or Fennel

Your spice drawer holds a ton of useful products meant for so many dishes and drinks!

Using star anise, anise seed, or fennel gives you the anise flavor Galliano has without the alcohol, and they are all easy to find in grocery stores.

Pro-tip: Ge the best flavor out of your spices by getting whole spices. You can toast and ground seeds to a powder before using, but with star anise, use them whole. Just take out the star anise before serving meals to avoid people eating the very strong spice.

While this Galliano substitute works well in savory dishes, it won’t work well for desserts or drinks.

10. Licorice with Vanilla Extract

Licorice and vanilla extract will give the similar flavors you want from Galliano!

There is a hint of alcohol in extracts but only in traces. Also, note that extracts are concentrated, so a few drops will go a long way for desserts, marinades, or baked goods.

You can also add it to cocktails or mocktails.

Frequently Asked Questions

For those left with questions about Galliano, we’ve got a frequently asked questions section just for you!

1. What does Galliano taste like?

In particular, Galliano L’Autentico has a very complex flavor because of all the herbs included during the process of making it. But the main flavor accents are anise and vanilla. You’ll also taste a hint of licorice!

2. How can you choose the best Galliano substitute?

For starters, look at the recipe you’re making and find out why you need Galliano for the recipe. It’s either because you need the sweet anise and vanilla flavor or the alcohol to bring out the other flavors of your dish.

If you need a Galliano substitute closer to flavor, we recommend using Pernod, Anise, or Sambuca. If you merely need alcohol and the flavor notes aren’t crucial, white wine is good. But for non-drinkers, you can always go for orange juice and anise-flavored spices or extracts.

3. How many types of Galliano are there?

Galliano is a brand that has many other flavored liqueurs, such as the Galliao L’Autentico liqueur.

You can also choose the Amaretto with an almond flavor, Vanilla for the vanilla flavor, Ristretto for a coffee flavor, L’Aperitivo for the citrus fruit flavor, and other liqueurs like the Balsamico, White Sambuca, and Black Sambuca.

4. How do you use Galliano?

As mentioned, you can use Galliano in many classic cocktails or mix it with your favorite soda, tonic water, or other spirits.

You can also use it in many Italian or Mediterranean recipes to make your dishes taste even richer!

Here are some of the classic recipes that use Galliano:

  • Tiramisu
  • Harvey Wallbanger cake
  • Espresso Fudge cake
  • Mascarpone
  • Chocolates
  • Chicken Galliano
Pro-tip: Avoid boiling Galliano for too long as this can reduce the aroma and flavor.

Wrapping It Up

Galliano is a popular Italian liqueur with such a vast history with a rich, beautiful flavor to match it! While you might have a slightly tricky time looking for a suitable Galliano substitute, that doesn’t make it impossible.

There are numerous alternatives, with or without alcohol, ranging from high-quality Pernod to simple and effective orange juice.

Did you find the best Galliano substitute through our list?

Awesome! Let us know what you thought of it in the comments section below and feel free to learn more about the world of food and cooking in our other blog posts.

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