There are three types of mixed drinks that I can identify.
- There is the type of drink that is drunk to get drunk. These drinks are of the sort rum and coke, or seven and seven or a screwdriver. There are not made for the flavor so much as a way to water down the alcohol and take some of the harsh nature out of it.
- Related to the drink to get drunk, there is the drink to get drunk that is a combination of several liquors that have the purpose of muddling the taste buds and confusing the palate to avoid the flavor of the alcohol. The classic example here is the Long Island Iced Tea.
- Lastly, there is the drink that happens to be made with alcohol and has the added bonus of a buzz but the flavor is the important part - trying to mimic some other flavor or create a new one that is pleasant to drink.
There are possibly others, or other groupings - it matters not. The key point here is that this drink is one designed for its flavor - not an attempt to get drunk. The drink itself is rather light in alcohol content when compared to other mixed drinks.
Every drink has its place in the meal. Some are meant to be drunk along with the food - others as more of an appetizer for other drinks. This drink is one that winds down the night as kind of a desert. It is similar to the grasshopper in that it is a sweet drink that reminds the palate of desserts and candy.
So - the drink...
Preferably served over crushed ice in a red wine glass. The glass choice is just one that holds it about right - cocktail glasses don't have the right shape to hold ice (crushed or otherwise). I have had this in a tulip glass (otherwise know as a hurricane glass) - once again a taller more ornate glass that is meant for drinks with ice.
The flavor of this drink is that of the chocolate orange - either one of the chocolate orange squares that I've had from Ghirardelli or that big whack-a-orange made out of chocolate often found during the winter holiday season. The orange juice and Creme de Cacao are responsible for this main flavor.
The Galliano is more well known for its role in the Harvey Wallbanger where it shows that it is a good match with orange juice providing a slight black licorice flavor and some herbal notes (If I ever find a chocolate vodka I will give the chocolate Harvey Wallbanger a try). Do not attempt to substitute anything for the Galliano - it is a sweet herbal liquor with herbal flavors. I know of no other primarily herbal liquor that is sweet and could fit this role properly (there is just a hint of vanilla in it also). Do not think about Jagermeister or Chartreuse - that is just wrong. Anisette may fill the bill - though I have not tried it yet.
White Creme de Cacao is likely the best choice for appearance reasons. Dark Creme de Cacao and many other chocolate liqueurs are dark in color and make the final drink muddy in color. Frangelico would make another alternative for a chocolate substitution - however the hazlenut flavor it provides is strong and overpowers the orange juice - use less of it.
A stronger drink could be made by switching the orange juice with an orange liquor - Grand Marnier or Cointreau being the first choices for this substitution. However, this stronger drink would take away part of its light appeal of the after dinner drink.