National Harvey Wallbanger Day, celebrated annually on November 8, pays homage to the man… the myth… the cocktail… Harvey Wallbanger.
A Harvey Wallbanger is a fruity and boozy cocktail made from three parts vodka, six parts orange juice, and one part Galliano—an herbal liqueur with flavors of vanilla and anise. In essence, it’s a Screwdriver with a Galliano twist.
There are several versions of who Harvey Wallbanger is… and how the drink named for him became one of the most popular drinks of the 1960s.
In one version of the tale, Harvey was the last partygoer remaining at a Laguna Beach bash. The only thing left after a long night of partying was… you guessed it… vodka, orange juice and Galliano. After banging his head against the wall, he combined them, and the Harvey Wallbanger was born.
Another variation on the popular legend centers around Donato ‘Duke’ Antone—a three-time-world-champion bartender credited with inventing the Rusty Nail and White Russian. Some drink historians claim that Antone invented the Harvey Wallbanger in 1952 at his Blackwatch Bar after being inspired by a surfer named Tony Wallbanger.
It has even been said that an importer with too much Galliano on his hands didn’t know what to do with it—so he started hiding it in screwdrivers to unload the unpopular vanilla-flavored liqueur.
Yet others believe that Harvey Wallbanger was the invention of Galliano, who hired a graphic artist to develop a marketing campaign in the late 1960s. Bill Young, the artist, created a “surfer dude” mascot, who Galliano paired with the slogan “Harvey Wallbanger is the name. And I can be made!” So perhaps… like Betty Crocker… Harvey is merely a figment of the imagination of a corporate marketing department. We may never know.
Here’s what we do know: the drink became a sensation, and the name “Harvey Wallbanger” entered the popular lexicon to describe a “goof-off” or bonehead. In fact, during 1972’s presidential election between Nixon and McGovern, Harvey Wallbanger was the most popular write-in candidate for president. Galliano tried to revive Harvey’s mock political aspirations in 2016’s Trump vs. Clinton election by promoting their own “Vote 4 Wallbanger” campaign. It may not be a coincidence that National Harvey Wallbanger Day and Election Day occasionally coincide.
Harvey Wallbanger may never be president—but you can still celebrate his life and legacy on National Harvey Wallbanger Day!
National Harvey Wallbanger Day is typically celebrated