Skip to main content

Harvey Wallbanger Is More Than a Funny Name

The middle of the 20th century was the golden age of funny-named and sugary cocktails. The Harvey Wallbanger is one of the icons of the era (just like these classic cocktails and their respective eras).

harvey wallbanger
Cyrus McCrimmon/Getty Images / Cyrus McCrimmon/Getty Images

The Harvey Wallbanger is essentially an upscale screwdriver, marrying the orange juice and vodka standard in the brunch mainstay with the Italian herbal liqueur Galliano, and garnished with a maraschino cherry and an orange slice for garnish. Made since the 1890s, Galliano is a liqueur highlighted by vanilla and anise, though is it made with up to 30 herbal ingredients.

First emerging as an official Galliano recipe in the early 1970s, it’s fairly accepted history is that it originated somewhere in California in the 1950s — there’s even a story about a surfer frequenting a bar helmed by bartender Donato Antone. More popular, however, is the belief Galliano and its American importer, McKesson Imports Company, nurtured the recipe and helped market it in America with a cartoon surfer named Harvey.

The surfer also had his tagline: “Harvey Wallbanger is the name. And I can be made!”

“Harvey Wallbanger is the name. And I can be made!”

Made he was during the middle of the last century, whether it be in single servings or by the bowlful.

A drink of its times — a time much of America still apparently longs for — the Harvey Wallbanger isn’t made all that much anymore, but it does still have its own month (November) and day (November 8). Then again, what drink doesn’t have its own day or month?

The Harvey Wallbanger is not likely a cocktail threatening a riveting comeback, but it’s worth a try if you’ve never hard one, as are many of the other drinks of the era, like Tequila Sunrise, Blue Hawaii, and Mudslides. (Then again, maybe those will be making a comeback soon at a bar near you?)

With the rise of liqueurs, it might be time to pick up a bottle of Galliano anyway. Since a Harvey Wallbanger is an easy drink to put together, give it a shot at one of the many holiday get-togethers in the coming weeks or throw one together for a houseguest on Christmas morning. (Christmas morning brunch cocktails, anyone? Santa may have gotten cookies and milk, but you’re getting booze and orange juice. We know who the winner is in that equation.)

But aside from the actual drink, perhaps the best part is the name. The name is so well known that it’s been taken for a variety of other uses. The 1982 Milwaukee Brewers, led by manager Harvey Kuenn, were dubbed Harvey’s Wallbangers, leading the league in home runs and total bases. On CB Radio, a Harvey Wallbanger is a driver who might be drunk and drifting lane to lane. So, if you’re a baseball player named Harvey, use the name as much as possible. A truck driver who loves a kicked-up Fuzzy Navel? Maybe not.

How to Make a Harvey Wallbanger

  • 3 parts vodka
  • 1 part Galliano
  • 6 parts orange juice
  • Cherry
  • Orange Slice

Method: Mix the vodka and orange juice together in a highball glass full of ice and top off with Galliano. Garnish with cherry and orange slice.

Pat Evans
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Pat Evans is a writer based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, focusing on food and beer, spirits, business, and sports. His full…
Yes, a lean steak can actually be juicy and delicious — try these
A guide to the leanest cuts of steak
Different raw steak cuts

There's just something about a big, perfectly marbled, wonderfully fatty steak. Meaty, juicy, seared to absolute golden perfection, and satisfying in a way no other dish will ever be, hearty steaks like ribeyes are mealtime magic. Unfortunately for us, though, big, fatty steaks aren't exactly the healthiest option for every meal of the day. As with most everything that tastes wonderful, these steaks are best enjoyed in moderation. So, what do we do in the meantime? How can we satisfy our cravings for a delicious steak and remain conscious of keeping our arteries clean and happy? The answer is simple - reach for a leaner, less fat-filled steak.

We know, we know, leaner steaks have a somewhat nasty reputation for being dry and flavorless. Unfortunately, that reputation is not without due cause. But, if you pick the right cuts and know how to best prepare them, lean cuts of steak can actually be spectacularly flavorful and surprisingly juicy. Not only that but lean steaks are packed with minerals like zinc and iron, which boost immunity and promote healthy cell growth. They're also a wonderful source of essential B vitamins, such as niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.
Sirloin tip-side steak

Read more
Shandies and Radlers are summer classics — these are our favorites
Shandies and Radlers are the perfect summer crushers

When it comes to refreshing alcoholic beverages, it’s difficult to beat the appeal of a shandy or Radler. We already love a crisp, refreshing beer on its own, a glass of tart lemonade, or a citrus-flavored soda. So, it only makes sense to combine the two to make an epic, thirst-quenching, boozy, sweet, tart beverage.

Shandies versus Radlers
The classic shandy is a lemon-flavored beer that is made by combining (usually) a 50/50 mix of lemonade (or a lemon-based drink) and a crisp, refreshing beer. Originally called “shandygaff”, the mixture has its origins in England in the late 1800s.

Read more
Prosecco granita is the base for your new favorite summer cocktail
Prosecco granita is the base for your new favorite summer cocktail recipes
prosecco granita cocktails aleisha kalina g2cxnrermkm unsplash 2d5786

When it comes to summer drinks, isn't there something awfully tempting about a gas station slushie? These drinks may not be subtle or sophisticated in terms of flavor, but there's something undeniably satisfying about the crunchy texture of ice crystals. And for my fellow cocktail enthusiasts, there's a lesson here about texture. You can create something similar in terms of barely-frozen ice that's perfect for summer sipping, and you can do it with far more interesting and complex boozy flavors. It's also shockingly easy to do at home.

What you're going to want to do is make a prosecco granita.
How to make prosecco granita
It really couldn't be simpler to make a granita. All you need to do is take a bottle of prosecco (or other fizzy wine of your choice -- even Champagne if you're feeling fancy) and add a few tablespoons of sugar and any other flavoring ingredients you want. Pour your mixture into a wide, shallow pan (ideally, the liquid should be no more than an inch deep for quick freezing) and then pop the tray into the freezer.

Read more