Galliano Balsamico Liqueur

R.I.P. - No longer made
Difford's Guide
Discerning Drinkers (1 rating)

alc./vol: 37.6%

Proof: 75.2°

Vintage: Non-vintage

Aged: No age statement

No longer produced, Galliano Balsamico was formulated for cocktail use and did not contain any balsamic vinegar, but was cleverly flavoured to give add the flavour of balsamic vinegar to cocktails.

This liqueur was developed thanks to Agostino Perrone, a world-renowned bartender who has worked with Galliano, and came about due to balsamic vinegar becoming a popular ingredient with bartenders, particularly in strawberry-flavoured cocktails. However, it was noticed that the characterful smell emitted when alcohol is added to balsamic vinegar quickly dissipates in cocktails. (A natural chemical reaction forming ethyl acetate.) Hence, Galliano Balsamico was especially formulated for cocktail use.

Traditional Italian balsamic vinegar (Aceto Balsamico) is made from the juice of white grapes (typically Trebbiano) reduced by boiling to 50% of its original volume. This concentrated must is then fermented and aged in wooden casks. The finest balsamic vinegars are aged for decades, over which time, evaporation concentrates the flavours and natural sugars. During this ageing period the vinegar is transferred to progressively smaller casks made of different woods, each imparting slightly different flavours. More basic, cheaper balsamic vinegars are produced without the benefit of oak ageing, but these are not allowed to be termed 'traditional'.

In contrast, Galliano Balsamico was produced by a completely different production process with the only key commonality being a base of concentrated Trebbiano white grape must from Tuscany. However, this was not fermented, nor aged. The distinctive flavour comes from an infusion of raspberries and raisins, acetic acid and caramel (cooked cane sugar). Lastly, alcohol, sugar (350 grams sugar per litre) and water were added to the blend of natural flavours. Thus Galliano Balsamico mimiced the flavour of balsamic vinegar and was more suited to cocktail use.

As with other Galliano liqueurs, the complex processes involved in recreating the flavour of balsamic vinegar took place at Maraschi & Quirici in Chieri, Italy with hydration and sweetening ahead of bottling at Bols facility in Zoetermeer in the Netherlands.

Review and Tasting

Sampled before 1st May 2011


Treacle brown in colour.


Pungent glue-like nose (UHU) has notes reminiscent of creosote, stewed fruit and cough mixture (Covonia).


Intense palate features shrivelled prune, Victoria plum, strong liquorice, clove and vinegar notes.


Hints of red fruit emerge before glue-like notes return on the acidic finish.


Before experimenting with this liqueur, try diluting two parts water to one part liqueur and sampling at room temperature. When this dilute (as it might be with a small measure in a cocktail) the glue notes subside and strawberry and liquorice emerge.

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