The Real Harvey Wallbanger Cocktail

Harvey Wallbanger cocktail with orange slice and maraschino cherry in a collins glass

The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
233 Calories
0g Fat
27g Carbs
1g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 233
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 3mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 22g
Protein 1g
Vitamin C 73mg 363%
Calcium 25mg 2%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 301mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The Harvey Wallbanger is a fun and simple vodka cocktail that was created in the 1950s but really gained popularity during the disco era of the '70s. The recipe is very simple: mix a screwdriver and top it with a Galliano float. Galliano L'Autentico is a golden-colored sweet liqueur made with a blend of herbs, spices, and vanilla.

A Harvey Wallbanger is a fruity, sweet, and herbal mixture that's totally refreshing. It's also easy to mix up and a great way to practice a basic bartending skill.


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"The Harvey Wallbanger is a nice, simple way to dress up the screwdriver, a classic entry-level cocktail. You do need to spring for a bottle of Galliano, but once it's in the liquor cabinet, you'll have enough for 50 or so Harvey Wallbangers, so you'll be good to go." —Tom Macy

The Real Harvey Wallbanger Cocktail Tester Image
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Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Harvey Wallbanger cocktail recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  2. Pour the vodka and orange juice into a collins glass with ice cubes.

    Vodka and orange juice added to a collins glass with ice cubes

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  3. Layer the Galliano on top by pouring it slowly over the back of a bar spoon.

    Galliano liqueur being poured over the back of a spoon on top of cocktail

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

  4. Garnish with an orange slice and maraschino cherry. Serve and enjoy.

    Harvey Wallbanger cocktail garnished with orange slice and maraschino cherry

    The Spruce Eats / Julia Hartbeck

Recipe Variations

  • If you switch from vodka to tequila, you'll have a Freddie Fuddpucker.
  • However easy the recipe is, there are some variations out there. You will come across many recipes that do not distinguish the liqueur, recommend a different liqueur, or have various ratios. To set the record straight, Galliano L'Autentico is the liqueur that makes the proper Harvey Wallbanger. No other liqueurs can be successfully substituted in this cocktail.

Why Is it Called a Harvey Wallbanger?

As with many cocktails, there are a couple of claims to the creation of the Harvey Wallbanger. One is that it may have been created as an "all I got left in the bar" drink. Supposedly, the host of a party in the mid-60s had only vodka, orange juice, and Galliano available. After a couple of these drinks, a guest named Harvey was found to be banging his head against the wall and cursing the drink that caused him his misery. 

That's a fun story, but it's not very believable. The accepted truth attributes the Harvey Wallbanger's creation to Donato "Duke" Antone who owned Duke's Blackwatch Bar in Hollywood. It was at this Sunset Boulevard joint in 1952 that Antone created the cocktail. He named it after a local surfer and bar regular named Tom Harvey.

It was not until the late 1960s that a marketing director for the company importing Galliano "discovered" the drink. George Bednar created a surfer-themed ad campaign with the tagline "Harvey Wallbanger is the name, and I can be made!" By the time the disco era began, the drink was on everyone's lips. The 70s may have been the cocktail's glory days, but little gems like the Harvey Wallbanger are unforgettable.

How Strong Is the Harvey Wallbanger?

You can make a few adjustments to the recipe and pour more vodka or less orange juice if you like, though there's a balance to the recipe as written. If you pour according to the recipe, the Harvey Wallbanger has an alcohol content of around 12 percent ABV (24 proof), which makes it about the same strength as a robust wine.