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Harvey Wallbanger

Bell-bottoms, big collars, and disco weren’t the only things that dominated the bar scene the 1970s. There was a certain cocktail that everyone was crushing, with a name that rolled off the tongue so easily that it was just as much fun to order one as to drink it. The Harvey Wallbanger was indeed in a league of its own, and for a decade it got the party started and kept it going all night.


Harvey Wallbanger

With a Name Like That

Legend has it that this drink was created in the 1950s by the world-renowned mixologist Donato “Duke” Antone in his L.A. bar Blackwatch. Duke made it especially for one of his regulars, a surfer named Tom Harvey who may have been nursing a hangover from the previous night’s fun. The concoction was so tasty, that Harvey continued to order them until he was literally running into walls, hence the unforgettable name.


Born from a Riff

The Wallbanger is one of many cocktails which got its start by using the base ingredients of an already famous quaff, in this case, the Screwdriver. By adding Galliano to vodka and orange juice, Duke turned a fairly ordinary drink into something that his bar guest could not seem to get enough of.


Recipe – Making One at Home

This is an easy cocktail to make, in fact, you can build it in the glass that you are going to drink out of. You will want to avoid shaking this one, as it will water it down and make it seem “thin”. Gather the following ingredients, and remember, fresh juice always knocks a cocktail out of the park:


  • 1 ¼ ounces of your favorite vodka
  • ½ ounce Galliano
  • 3 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Maraschino cherry
  • Orange slice


Once you are ready to start, make sure your favorite 70s tunes are playing in the background, grab a tall glass, and start mixing:

  1. Fill your glass with ice and add the vodka and orange juice
  2. Using a long spoon, stir the ingredients together until well mixed
  3. Float the Galliano on top
  4. Skewer the orange and the cherry to a cocktail pick, and rest garnish on top


What is Galiano Anyway?

Galiano is one of those bottles that will get your attention behind the bar because of its unusual shape and height compared to the others, yet it is the most seldom used. It is typically found at the end of the rail, tucked into a corner, possibly even covered in dust. Yet for many years, the Wallbanger made this spirit the life of the party.


Galliano is a sweet Italian liqueur that was first produced in the late 1800s. Known for its unique, secret combination of 30 skillfully blended herbs and spices, it has a flavor profile that ranges from vanilla-anise to herbaceous with a bit of citrus on the finish. The strong presence of vanilla is what separates it from other anise liqueurs such as Sambuca, Pernod, and anisette.


Putting Galliano on the Map

Duke’s cocktail wasn’t the only thing that was giving Galliano some long-overdue attention. Thanks to a carefully planned marketing strategy in the late 1960s involving a cartoon of a chilled-out surfer in flip flops, sales of this virtually unknown spirit in the U.S. quadrupled in the 1970s. The character that graphic designer Bill Young came up with ended up launching both the drink and the liqueur into a popularity that could not have been anticipated.

If you ever need an excuse to flashback to the 1970s, this cocktail is sure to take you there.

Written by My Bartender

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