Harvey Wallbanger

Let’s hear it for Harvey!

This is a drink I’ve been curious about all my life. If my parents weren’t drinking it in the seventies, they were certainly referencing it in conversation as a popular beverage among the kings and queens of the shag carpet set. It was brought up on Match Game routinely. And remember that character actor on Bewitched? The one who played the drunk who was always settled at the bar where Darrin, Larry and their important client would go to lunch as Samantha popped in surreptitiously to investigate and then pop out just as quickly – leaving him to double-take, eye the bottom of his glass questionably and then sputter, “Hey Floyd… another Harvey Wallbanger!”

This drink is fabled in my consciousness. A litany of childhood pop culture references, a sunshiney-day disposition, and one of the best hedonistic names of all time!

The legend of the naming of the Harvey Wallbanger is questionable. The story that, if not true, is certainly the most circulated centers on a Manhattan Beach surfer named Harvey who loved to add Galliano to his screwdriver (which, sadly, is all a Harvey Wallbanger is – oj, vodka and a little Galliano). Poor old Harvey had one too many one night and went slamming into a couple walls on his way out of the bar. True or not, the story’s quirky and disreputable tone is a perfect match for the drink name.

Galliano is a sweet, vanilla-ish liquer named after Giuseppe Galliano, an officer in the Italian Army during the first Italo-Ethiopian War (1895-1896). I possess no Collins glass, which is the glass you’re supposed to serve this in, but I’m sure the Bewitched town drunk wouldn’t have turned down a Wallbanger in a Pilsner beer glass, so why should anyone else mind?

  • one ounce vodka
  • four ounces orange juice
  • 1/2 ounce of Galliano

Pour vodka and orange juice into a Collins glass filled with ice.  Stir, and then float the Galiano over the top.  “Floating” is also known as “layering” and works like this: pour Galliano into the drink over the back of a bar spoon so as to keep it at the top on its own separate layer (so obviously don’t stir the drink once the Galliano is present). It will remain separate from the rest of the drink because of the difference in density and sugar content.

Arguments about whether or not to garnish the drink abound, but I went ahead and did it. A great sweet, tangy morning or mid-day beverage, this little Wallbanger is.

And for the Bewtiched purists out there… that “town drunk” who also turned up at local parks, local jails and random bus stops on the show was played by Dick Wilson, better known to America as “Please don’t squeeze the Charmin” pitch man, Mister Whipple.

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One thought on “Harvey Wallbanger

  • December 22, 2010 at 3:33 am

    Oooh, you’re such an inspiration. I love this blog!

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