January 28 – Harvey Wallbanger

The Un-Authorized Biography of Harvard Wallbanger


When I was doing some research on this drink (fully expecting a number of pornographic sites to come up), I took note that the story of how the drink was created was a little open-ended. Some say it was invented purely by accident, at a party where the cocktail’s ingredients were all that was available. Other’s attribute it to various bartenders throughout the United States. Well, I’ve stumbled upon the E! True Mixology Story (National Treasure investigative style) and today, I will share that tale with you (note: the following is 100% completely and utterly possibly true or false).

Harvey Wallbanger grew up in the Midwest United States during the 1930’s. He came from a family of modest means, suffering through the depression. Despite one unfortunate incident involving a wagon, a pig, and the neighbour’s daughter, Harvey had a happy childhood and had what many would describe as an upbeat, glass-half-full personality. And by glass-half-full, I don’t mean that he was a booze hound or anything, he was just a decent dude is all.

When our young hero left home at the age of 18, he had a hard time finding full-time employment. He worked one odd job after another, until work seemingly dried up. Down on his luck, Harvey was living in a homeless shelter. All he had to his name was a cheap bottle of vodka he stole from a fellow vagrant (oh I’m sorry, were you not picturing our young Harvey as a thief?  Because in truth he was a bit of a kleptomaniac) and a juice box of orange juice he was handed at his soup kitchen (yes, smart ass  there were juice boxes in the 1950’s… it’s a little known fact that all good soup kitchens had time machines back in those days, before Communist spies stole but inadvertently destroyed the technology, some time during the 60’s). Harvey went into a back alley behind the shelter and poured a Styrofoam cup half full of the vodka, topping the drink with the juice. This was, he decided, to be his last drink before he would end it all.

Then, almost as if from the heavens, fell a small bottle of Galliano (a sweet, vanilla-flavoured liqueur). Where it came from will forever be a mystery, but the yellow liquid inside seamed to shine for him in the darkness of the poorly lit backstreet. “Why not?” Harvey thought, as he added a splash of the Galliano to his mix. He took a sip and was astonished at how good the cocktail tasted. Harvey picked himself up, dusted himself off, gulped down the rest of his new creation and declared to himself that his life truly began that day.

Harvey went on to sell his new drink recipe to as many local establishments as he could. Once he had exhausted that market, he went national. This explains why all these different bartenders are credited with inventing the cocktail.

With his life now back in order, Harvey finally found love and went on to enjoy a prosperous and soul-destroying urban existence, filled with a beautiful wife, kids, and a white-picket fence (rather like that depressing movie, Revolutionary Road) .

And it is with great pleasure that I reveal that I am one of Harvard Wallbanger’s great-great grandchildren, twice removed. So whoever is responsible for the massive Wallbanger fortune, you know where to find me to send my share!

Drink #28: Harvey Wallbanger

Harvey Wallbanger Cocktail

  • 1.5 oz Vodka
  • Top with Orange Juice
  • Float 1 oz Galliano on top of the drink
  • Garnish with orange slice and Maraschino cherry

If you would like to send me money (someone has to, right?) for the rights to this inspiring tale or be my rich benefactor, helping me produce a blockbuster of epic proportions, just let me know. I can totally see it winning an Oscar one day for best adapted screenplay!

Sip Adviosr Bar Notes (3 Sips out of 5):
For a legendary drink, I was kind of disappointed. I’ve found myself not really enjoying Orange Juice-based cocktails recently. Each sip just feels a little heavier than I would like. Perhaps I should look into a different OJ for future blends. The floated Galliano was very nice, however.


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