Harvey Wallbanger

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 20, 2023

The Harvey Wallbanger is one of the easier-to-make three-ingredient cocktails. The drink usually comes on the rocks in a tall Highball glass.
Harvey Wallbanger cocktail

The Harvey Wallbanger is a modern classic cocktail and a riff on the Screwdriver, which in turn is a classic Highball cocktail made of Vodka and orange juice. 

Adding just that one ingredient does elevate the quality of the original drink. So, with half an ounce of Galliano liqueur, the Harvey Wallbanger cocktail achieves a symphony of herbal notes with a slight taste of vanilla.

Ingredients of the Harvey Wallbanger

To make a perfect Harvey Wallbanger cocktail, you need freshly squeezed orange juice, Vodka, and Galliano.

The orange juice should be freshly squeezed. Also, even though orange juice has an intense taste and can often mask a harsh alcoholic bite, the Vodka should be of good quality. That will help to avoid a headache the next day, and you can use it for other great Vodka cocktails, too.

Harvey Wallbanger Cocktail

The extra element -Galliano- is a traditional Italian liqueur with an intense and distinct flavor, containing around 43% ABV. Its unique taste is also a key component of other classic drinks like the Yellow Bird and the Barracuda cocktail.

In the 1970s, the Harvey Wallbanger was a popular drink in discos. However, it was invented quite some time before that. So let's have a closer look at Harvey Wallbanger's history.

History of the Harvey Wallbanger

As the legend goes, Donato "Duke" Antone developed the drink in 1952. Antone had been a prominent mixologist who was a three-time world champion. 

The story is that his Harvey Wallbanger creation got its name from a surfer who was a regular guest at Antones "Blackwatch Bar" in Los Angeles.

Recent research

However, spirits writer Robert Simonson made some research on this topic and couldn't find any evidence backing the claim above. 

In fact, he could not even find any historical record mentioning the "Blackwatch Bar" in Los Angeles. 

In addition, Simonson found out that Donato Antone had been living in Hartford, Connecticut, during the time in question -quite the distance from LA. So, the roots of the drink remain uncertain.

Galliano's involvement

But what we do know for sure is that George Bednar played a crucial role in making the drink popular. 

During the 70s, Bednar was marketing and sales director at McKesson Imports company. And this company also imported Galliano, one key component of the drink. 

Harvey Wallbanger Cocktail

Bednar's efforts were crucial in promoting the cocktail and Galliano liqueur, making it one of the most famous drinks of that time.

Overall the campaign was a tremendous success. Due to the clever marketing activities by Bednar and McKesson Imports, the drinks flew off the shelves. 

Bednar even created one of the drink's famous taglines. It goes: "Harvey Wallbanger is the name. And I can be made!".

Harvey Wallbanger twist

The Harvey Wallbanger is an easy-to-make drink. Unfortunately, this often leads to a lack of effort when making it. 

That also is true for other cocktails; for instance, the Screwdriver suffers from the same fate. I'm talking packed orange juice made from concentrate and odd ratios. 

So, as ever so often with cocktails, freshly squeezed juice is an absolute must. -With juice from concentrate not even the best Harvey Wallbanger recipe will deliver the desired result.

Yet, even with fresh juice, the original recipe still lacks body and balance. To improve that, add rich simple syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water) and some cocktail bitters to the drink. 

To be precise, 0.2 oz of rich syrup and two dashes of orange bitters are enough to bring some life to the dusty Harvey Wallbanger recipe.

Harvey Wallbanger cocktail

Classic Harvey Wallbanger

A twist on the classic Screwdriver that incorporates Galliano liqueur.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: galliano, vodka
Servings: 1
Calories: 176kcal
Cost: $2.30



  • 1.5 oz Vodka
  • 3 oz Freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 0.5 oz Galliano liqueur
  • 1 Orange slice (for garnish)
  • 1 Maraschino cherry


  • Fill a Highball glass with ice, then add Vodka and orange juice.
    1.5 oz Vodka, 3 oz Freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Stir until the ingredients are well-mixed.
  • Float Galliano on top and garnish with a slice of orange and a Maraschino cherry.
    0.5 oz Galliano liqueur, 1 Orange slice, 1 Maraschino cherry


Serving: 5.25oz | Calories: 176kcal | Carbohydrates: 11.6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 7.5mg | Potassium: 165.5mg | Sugar: 10.7g | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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