No matter how many you have, you’ll never forget your first Harvey Wallbanger.
With one of the most memorable names, this drink has made quite the splash in cocktail history.
According to mixology mythology, this classic was named after a surfer in the 1950s. After losing out on a surfing competition in California, the saddened surfer, Tom Harvey, swung by a bar he often frequented and ordered his favorite mixed drink: Orange juice and vodka laced with Galliano. As he downed glasses upon glasses of his favorite concoction, he banged his head against the wall out of frustration from the loss. From that day on, his beloved drink became known as the Harvey Wallbanger.
Longstanding legend has it that the bartender who first mixed the soothing cocktail was Donato “Duke” Antone, who ran Duke’s Blackwatch Bar on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood in 1952. Antone was known to be a top-notch bartender, but the Wallbanger didn’t become popular until the early 1970s when George Bednar, the marketing director of McKesson Imports Co., an importing company that handled Galliano, found out about the cocktail. Bednar told everyone who’d listen about the Harvey Wallbanger story and advertised it as a replacement for the Bloody Mary during brunch. Late in 1969, the sandal-wearing, stressed-looking cartoon Harvey Wallbanger was born, and his famous line was, “Harvey Wallbanger is the name, and I can be made!”
And so the world got busy making Harvey Wallbangers. The favored cocktail was consumed everywhere from parties to train cars; it was sold in bottles, people named their pets after the drink, and soon enough, even Harvey Wallbanger cakes were sold. The craze went on for years, but as with most fads, it eventually fizzled out.
“Today Harvey is making a comeback, we are seeing Harveys on menus in its original form, but also in various twists.”
– Jaron Berkhemer, Marketing Director USA at Lucas Bols
After decades of a long sabbatical, the Wallbanger, which tastes like a screwdriver with a hint of vanilla along with its smooth, refreshing texture is rumored to be hanging around the bars again. Numerous variations have been found, such as the Whiskey Wallbanger, the Whipped Banger, and the De-Constructed Harvey.
According to Berkhemer, Lucas Bols encourages people to report Harvey Wallbanger sightings anytime the cocktail is seen by tweeting #FindHarvey, whether it’s on a menu, on TV, or advertised online or in the paper. For a hot trail as to where this classic has been found, follow the search at find-harvey.com.
Have you seen Harvey? #FindHarvey
- 1 1/2 oz. Vodka
- 1/2 oz. Galliano L’Autentico
- 4 oz. Fresh squeezed Orange Juice
Preparation: Mix vodka and orange juice in a highball glass filled with ice cubes. Pour on a float of Galliano L’Autentico and garnish with an orange wedge.