It doesn’t get more ’70s than a Harvey Wallbanger cocktail. I certainly was not drinking this iconic cocktails as a baby during the 1970s, but I can appreciate a drink whose heyday occurred during the decade of my birth. I’ve been familiar with the Harvey Wallbanger for a while, I may have seen it on a couple of cocktail menus , but I never gave it any thought until my friend Shannon told me the history with her grandma’s love for the drink.
I finally tried a Harvey Wallbanger for myself, and it didn’t taste like what I thought a drink of the ’70s embodied. When I think of cocktails of that decade, things like the cloyingly sweet Fuzzy Navel or Tequila Sunrise come to mind. Not to mention the overly creamy White Russian or Brandy Alexander.
The Harvey Wallbanger is a nice balance between orange juice, vodka and Galliano’s vanilla-anise woodsy herbal notes. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the Harvey Wallbanger. I’m happy that, whether bartenders are trying to be ironic or kitschy, downmarket drinks like the Harvey Wallbanger are getting revived at many upmarket bars.
My favorite restaurant in San Francisco, NOPA serves the Harvey Wallbanger. Pépé le Moko, Portland’s cozy subterranean bar, is all about reinventing drinks of the ’70s. Although the Harvey Wallbanger isn’t on the menu, they will make you one if you ask.
The tall-necked bottle of Galliano is impossible to miss on a bar shelf. In fact, I was at a bar not long ago, and upon spotting the bottle of Galliano sticking up above the rest, I asked the bartender how often she uses it in drinks. She told me she had never used Galliano in the two years she had been working at the bar. Another reason to bring back the Galliano. All of those beautiful bottles of Galliano are gathering dust on bar shelves throughout the United States.
My kitchen notes
I’m not a skilled bartender, so I tend to skip trying to float the Galliano and instead stir in with the vodka.
Harvey Wallbanger Cocktail
1 1/2 ounces vodka
4 ounces orange juice
1/2 ounce Galliano
Orange slice for garnish
Maraschino cherry for garnish
- In a highball glass filled with ice cubes, combine the vodka and orange juice. Stir well. Float the Galliano on top and garnish with orange slice and maraschino cherry.