The Screwdriver Riff That Took 20 Years To Gain Popularity

The Harvey Wallbanger may have had its heyday during the era of disco music, shag carpeting, and "Charlie's Angels," but it was mixed for the first time at least two decades earlier in the 1950s. Coming in at 42.3% alcohol-by-volume, the Harvey Wallbanger packs a punch just like the very similar Screwdriver. Both are made with orange juice and vodka, but the Harvey Wallbanger also includes Galliano, an Italian liqueur that tastes of vanilla, herbs, and spices.

While that may sound like a delicious taste combination, it wasn't an immediate success. A bartender in California, Donato "Duke" Antone, is credited with making the first Harvey Wallbanger but it wasn't until another man, George Bednar, created a marketing campaign for an import company that really got people wanting to drink the cocktail.

It's said that Antone named the drink in 1952 after a regular at his Hollywood bar named Tom Harvey who was also a surfer. Bednar used that surfer imagery to market the drink with the tagline, "Harvey Wallbanger is the name, and I can be made!" From that point on, the Harvey Wallbanger became all the rage.

How to make a Harvey Wallbanger

A Harvey Wallbanger is a relatively simple cocktail but takes some skill to pull off. To make a Harvey Wallbanger, mix together 1 ½ ounces of vodka and 4 ounces of orange juice in a glass with ice. Then, pour ½ ounce of Galliano on top, which is best done by slowly streaming it over the back of a bar spoon. By pouring the liqueur over the back of the spoon, it is more likely to float on top of the other liquid because of its even distribution. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and an orange slice.

While there are variations on the Harvey Wallbanger, it isn't a true Harvey Wallbanger without the Galliano. Were you to swap the vodka for tequila, the drink would then be known as a Freddie Fuddpucker. However, it's acceptable to make a drink lower in alcohol by making the ratio of orange juice to vodka more in favor of the juice. You can also experiment with orange soda and orange-flavored vodka to keep the citrus flavor but add some fizziness. Or you can make it with freshly squeezed orange juice for a flavor upgrade.