The Real Harvey Wallbanger Cocktail Recipe

Harvey Wallbanger Recipe

The Spruce 

Ratings (49)
  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 cocktail (1 serving)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
201 Calories
0g Fat
20g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 cocktail (1 serving)
Amount per serving
Calories 201
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 3mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 20g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Protein 1g
Calcium 21mg 2%
*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. It became a smash hit in the 70s and has seen a recent revival. The roller coaster that has been the Harvey Wallbanger's existence is interesting, and the story is as fascinating as the drink is simple.

First, let's talk about the drink itself. The recipe is very simple: mix a Screwdriver and top it with a Galliano float. It's that easy, and you'll love the transformation.

Ingredients

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Harvey Wallbanger Cocktail Recipe
     The Spruce
  2. Pour the vodka and orange juice into a collins glass with ice cubes.

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

    Harvey Wallbanger Cocktail Recipe
     The Spruce
  4. Garnish with an orange slice and maraschino cherry.

    Harvey Wallbanger Cocktail Recipe
     The Spruce

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. It is not as complicated as all that. To set the record straight, Galliano L'Autentico is the liqueur that makes the proper Harvey Wallbanger.

In 2010, Lucas Bols returned Galliano to its original recipe. This helped catapult the Harvey Wallbanger back onto the cocktail scene. If you'd like to celebrate it for no real reason other than to have a great drink, then choose November 18 as it is National Harvey Wallbanger Day.

The Story of the 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 one of those "all I got left in the bar" drinks. 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 Backwatch Bar in Hollywood. It was at this joint on Sunset Boulevard 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.

In truth, it's one of the best drinks to come out of the era. Though it was likely created before disco, other drinks of the time did not give the decade a good reputation. Some in the bartending community even call the 70s the "Death Valley of Cocktails."

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 around 12% ABV (24 proof), which makes it about the same strength as a robust wine.