Harvey Wallbanger

Thursday, October 14, 2010 (Day 257) — Harvey Wallbanger

Over the past two nights I’ve made some original drinks that featured inocente tequila. However, my creative side is a bit of a wash this evening (long day of graphic design/writing at work), I think it’s about time we went ahead and took on a perennial cocktail classic: the Harvey Wallbanger.

Now, the history of the Harvey Wallbanger — like many other ubiqitous classics — has been lost into the mists of time. Some claim it was invented during a party in the 1960s when it was all the host had in the bar. Supposedly after a couple of these drinks, a guest named Harvey was found repeatedly slamming his head up against the wall. Hense, Harvey Wallbanger.

Still others say it was created by mixologist Duke Antone back in the early 1950s, and was named after a surfer who frequented his bar on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.

From harveyz.coza:

Legend 1
According to legend, Harvey was a California surfer. After losing an important contest, he consoled himself in Duke’s Hollywood Blackwatch bar with one of his “special” Screwdrivers (a screwdriver with a dash of Galliano liqueur). After several drinks, he tried to leave the bar, but unfortunately kept bumping into the furniture and walls. Harvey “the Wallbanger” became his nickname and the famous drink was named.

Legend 2
Another popular belief about the origin of the drink’s name comes from one of its ingredients, Galliano. The bottle for Galliano is quite tall and slender, thus many barkeeps would store the Galliano against the wall on the shelf. When bartenders would return the bottle back to its spot, the bottle would wobble and bang against the wall, hence the name “wallbanger.”

Either way, I’m eager to try it out, especially because word on the street here in Dodge is that there’s a relatively large number of people who are interested in going back to the basics and rediscovering classic drinks. Specifically, as I picked up a bottle of Galliano to experiment with cocktails for my friend Ryan’s wedding, the subject of the Harvey Wallbanger was brought up.

Surprisingly, I haven’t really had much of a chance to even do some research on the Wallbanger up until now, so let’s go ahead and call it the drink for the day, shall we?

Harvey Wallbanger (as recognized by the IBA)

3 oz vodka

1 oz Gaillano

6 oz fresh orange juice

Stir the vodka and orange juice with ice in a highball glass, then float the Galliano on top.

Damn tasty, really. It’s very similar to a Screwdriver (obviously), but you have that unique spice of anise at the end from the Gaillano. Now, as you sip, you’re going to be mixing it into the drink, which makes sure it’s across the entire drink, from start to finish. Now, you have to understand that Gaillano is a very syrupy anise flavor, so it’s going to be a bit more sweet than, say, your absinthes. Still damn tasty though, and understandable why it became a cocktail staple. Balance is key and this is balanced.


— Mark

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