Happy International Harvey Wallbanger Day! Every year on November 8th, we celebrate the existence of this three ingredient cocktail that has toured bars worldwide since its invention in the 50s.

Everybody knows this drink, but do you know the story of how it got its name? Well, that’s when history of the famous Harvey Wallbanger gets a bit murky…

Surfing U.S.A

Legend has it that in the 50s there was a famous surfer in the States called Tom Harvey. One day after a huge wipe out at a surfing competition, Harvey wandered into a bar on Sunset Boulevard, California, and ordered a Screwdriver cocktail mixed with a measure of Galliano.

Harvey Wallbanger surfer

Tom got so drunk off of these neon coloured cocktails that he started banging his head off of the wall (possibly in frustration at his earlier performance on his board) and hence the name of this cocktail was invented, the Harvey Wallbanger.

God only knows

So what do you think of this tale, is it legit or just a rumour? Whatever the truth is, the drink stuck. During the 70s, the Harvey Wallbanger came into fashion as the drink to be seen with.

The mix of orange juice, vodka, and Galliano, gave it a vanilla taste that appealed to those with a sweet tooth and the simple recipe made it appealing to bartenders around the world.

Galliano recipe

It wasn’t just the cocktail that became more popular, the Italian spirit Galliano became the most popular spirit to be imported to the U.S.A during the seventies. Whether or not the story of the cocktail’s creation was true, Galliano embraced the tale and included Tom Harvey the surfer in their promotional adverts alongside the Tiki trend that came about in the 1970s.

The result? Tiki glasses in every beach bar on the West Coast filled with a Harvey Wallbanger.

Wouldn’t it be nice…

The truth is, the surfer Tom Harvey can’t be found in any records, he lives on as a legend. Whether he was a great PR stunt by Galliano, or an under-appreciated character from history, let’s celebrate the drink’s creation today by toasting it with our favourite yellow drink.

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Harvey Wallbanger recipe

Glass: Highball or Tiki

Ice: Cubed

Method: Build and Float

Ingredients:

  • Vodka 3cl
  • Galliano (float) 1cl
  • Orange Juice (fill to top)

Harvey Wallbanger