Say hello to one of the ’70s’ most iconic cocktails – the original Harvey Wallbanger recipe. This one is for vodka and orange lovers (yeah, we see you) and is served with a fabulous Italian twist that might just float your boat.
Hit the Sweet Spot with a Harvey Wallbanger Recipe
PREP TIME 5 min
Use freshly squeezed orange juice. Bottled juice has added sugar which will make your cocktail overly sweet.
If you’re not a fan of Galliano, leave it out of your recipe and make a Screwdriver cocktail instead.
Stir, don’t shake! A classic Harvey Wallbanger is best when stirred together to let all the flavors shine.
Add vodka and orange juice to a tall ice-filled glass
Pour Galliano over a spoon to float it on top of the drink
Garnish with fresh orange slices and a cherry
Harvey Wallbanger cocktail ingredients
This iconic disco-era drink is similar to a Screwdriver, except the original Harvey Wallbanger recipe gets a liqueur float on top of the vodka and orange. Galliano is a sweet Italian liqueur that’s got some exciting flavors. It’s made with alcohol steeped with vanilla, lavender, juniper, anise, and cinnamon. The other ingredients for a Harvey Wallbanger are vodka and freshly squeezed orange juice. As it has such a strong flavor, you only need to add a small amount of Galliano to your Harvey Wallbanger cocktail recipe to transform your drink into a whole different experience.
The Harvey Wallbanger (steps to make it)
Even though the Harvey Wallbanger drink recipe is very straightforward, it does leave room for a few common mistakes. So here are a few golden rules to remember when making your first Wallbanger:
Always use fresh orange juice. You might be tempted to reach for the bottled stuff, but more often than not, they’re filled with sugar and are too sweet. Because the recipe uses a sweet liqueur, you don’t want to add extra sweetness. Freshly squeezed orange juice has the right balance of sweet, tangy, and tart and perfectly matches the Galliano.
Before making the Galliano float, mix together the vodka, ice, and orange juice. Take a bar spoon and hold it over the drink, balancing the tip on the edge of the glass. Slowly pour the liquid over the back of the spoon to float it on top of the drink. The addition of the vanilla-forward liqueur is essential in the Harvey Wallbanger recipe because that’s what makes it taste similar to an orange creamsicle.
Don’t shake Harvey around. This cocktail is best served as a stirred drink that allows all the flavors to shine on their own.
Why do they call the drink the Harvey Wallbanger?
Strange name, right? So, what makes Harvey a Wallbanger? We’ve got two origin stories; you can choose the one you prefer to believe.
- Duke’s Blackwatch Bar story: The first tale is that the original Harvey Wallbanger recipe was created in 1952 by legendary bartender Donato “Duke” Antone. He invented the drink and named it after a surfer (Tom Harvey), a regular at his bar. Apparently, after a few too many, Harvey kept banging into some walls, and the name was born. This is our favorite version of the truth, but unfortunately, there’s not a lot of evidence to back this claim.
- The surfer story: Another claim is that back in the 70s, the marketing team at McKesson Imports Company was behind the fame of the Harvey Wallbanger. With the help of a graphic artist, they developed a cartoon figure which was used on posters and in advertising. Legend has it that they used this to sell Galliano. The then-famous tagline for the drink was “Harvey Wallbanger is the name. And I can be made!” Just like that, this simple cocktail became iconic, and Galliano became America’s number one imported liqueur.
And there you have it.
If you love the Harvey Wallbanger recipe as much as we do, serve it as the signature drink of your 70s theme party. And if you’re a die-hard fan, you can celebrate National Harvey Wallbanger Day on the 8th of November every year. Just make sure you dust off that forgotten bottle of Galliano before using it!
The unique flavor of Galliano
This old-school Italian liqueur is bright yellow in color and was invented in Tuscany in 1896. Sweet, complex, and vanilla-forward you’ll taste notes of anise, lavender, juniper, anise and cinnamon. A little bit goes a long way and will transform your drink into a completely different taste sensation. You can also enjoy Galliano neat after a meal or mix it into other cocktails like the Golden Dream.