How to Make a Golden Cadillac, the Old-School Drink That’s Making a Comeback

The Golden Cadillac is an after-dinner drink made from equal parts Galliano (an Italian liqueur), white creme de cacao and heavy cream.

The idea for the Golden Cadillac came from Poor Red’s BBQ, a bar in the Sierra Nevada foothills town of El Dorado, California. Legend has it that a newly-engaged couple requested a celebratory cocktail that matched the color of their gold Cadillac. Bartender Frank Klein invented the golden-hued cocktail by combining Galliano with creme de cacao and heavy cream.

In homage to its celebratory origins, a Golden Cadillac is commonly served in a champagne coupe. Though great on its own as an after-dinner drink, this creamy sip also pairs well with chocolate desserts such as a rich slice of cake.

What Is Galliano?

Galliano is an Italian herbal liqueur that is golden in color. It is made from a secret recipe of 30 herbs, spices and plant extracts. A few herbs and spices used to make Galliano include star anise, peppermint and cinnamon. It has a complex flavor profile that includes vanilla and anise along with subtle hints of citrus and herbal notes. You can check your neighborhood liquor store for Galliano, or make a trip to a larger store, like Total Wine.

How to Make a Golden Cadillac

The recipe below makes one drink.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce Galliano L’autentico Italian liqueur
  • 1 ounce white creme de cacao liqueur
  • 1 ounce heavy cream (for a lighter cocktail, substitute half-and-half)
  • Ice
  • Freshly shaved chocolate for garnish (optional)

Editor’s Tip: Make sure to use white creme de cacao, which is a clear liqueur, and not the dark version. Though similar in flavor (and ideally suited for chocolate martinis), dark creme de cacao has a higher alcohol content and heavier body than white creme de cacao. In addition, its darker color will obscure the golden hue of this drink.

Instructions

Step 1: Shake, shake, shake!

Add the Galliano, creme de cacao and heavy cream to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously to combine.

Step 2: Serve

Strain the cocktail into a well-chilled champagne coupe. Garnish with freshly shaved chocolate, if desired.

Editor’s Tip: When serving chilled cocktails up (that is, without ice), place your serving glass in the freezer for 15 minutes before you’re ready to pour your cocktail.

Thirsty for more? Try making other classic cocktails, too.

Variations on the Classic Recipe

Instead of shaking the ingredients over ice, you can also turn this drink into a frappe by blending together the liqueurs with heavy cream and ice for a slightly thicker drink. And, if you’re feeling particularly indulgent, a Golden Cadillac also makes a delicious ice cream drink. Simply substitute one to two scoops of vanilla ice cream for the heavy cream and then whir all of the ingredients together in a blender. Serve in a martini glass with a dollop of whipped cream.

For a tropical twist, substitute coconut cream for the heavy cream. This version was popular at 1970s cocktail parties when the Golden Cadillac had its first comeback!

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Susan Bronson
Susan Bronson is a writer and editor based in Northern Wisconsin.