Sunday, February 20, 2011

What We're Drinking: The Golden Cadillac

The Golden Cadillac (Photo by Stockfood)

I arrived at Zak Pelaccio's Carmine Street pop-up restaurant Fatty Johnson's last Thursday night and sidled up to the bar. Frank Cisneros, who incredibly balances the job of Dram Bar's head barkeeper, Bols Genever brand ambassador, and running his own new bar Drink in Brooklyn, was guest bartending so I was excited to see what was on tap.  It was nightcap time which typically means a flip during the winter months. So, I found the perfect alternative on Frank's one night only custom menu,  an old classic that is making a comeback - The Golden Cadillac!

The Golden Cadillac was created at Poor Red's BBQ in the old Gold Rush prospector town El Dorado near Sacramento, California. According to Poor Red's website, they are the largest consumer of Galliano in the world and crank out thousands of the cocktail each year.

Technically, the libation is part of the Alexander family using one part liqueur, one part crème de cacao,  and two parts heavy cream. The key ingredient of the Golden Cadillac is the Italian liqueur called Galliano L'Autentico. Weighing in at 42.4% Alc/Vl (84.8 proof), this elixir packs quite a punch. Here is a quick run down of Galliano facts:
- Developed in Livorno in 1896, during what I consider the golden age of Italian liqueur innovation
- 30 herbs and spice, including anise, juniper, vanilla, and lavender with an aroma of anise.
- The production process involves 7 infusions and 6 distillations
- It was recently re-engineered to capture the original 1896 formula
- Bright yellow color that catches the eye
- Iconic slender and tall glass bottle

I regard Galliano as the Italian cousin of the monastically produced  herbal liqueur Yellow Chartreuse. However, Galliano is less sweet and it's current formula emphasizes anise flavor over vanilla. This balances well with the chocolate flavored crème de cacao and the result is a cocktail that is rich, potent, but not overly sweet.

The Golden Cadillac
1 oz Galliano L'Autentico Liqueur
1 oz white crème de cacao
2 oz heavy cream
ground cinnamon 
orange zest (optional)

Tools: Mixing tins, Hawthorne strainer, fine strainer, jigger, French peeler

Combine Galliano, crème de cacao, and heavy cream over ice. Shake rigorously for 10-15 seconds and double strain into chilled cocktail glass. Dust with cinnamon and garnish with thin strip of orange zest.

Where to get it: Painkiller Tiki Bar in NYC features the Golden Cadillac on their spring cocktail menu, Dram Bar in Williamsburg, and Poor Red's BBQ in El Dorado, California of course.

The Golden Cadillac is a great night cap or dessert cocktail. Bartenders love to make it and the drink has a cult following which will only increase as Galliano's resurgence continues.

- Fredo

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