The History of the Harvey Wallbanger

An article I wrote for Chilled Magazine.

No matter how many you have, you’ll never forget the Harvey Wallbanger. With one of the most memorable names, this drink has made quite the splash in cocktail history.

According to mixology mythology, this classic was named after a surfer in the 1950s. After losing out on a surfing competition in California, the saddened surfer, Tom Harvey, swung by a bar he often frequented and ordered his favorite mixed drink: orange juice and vodka laced with Galliano. As he downed glasses upon glasses of his favorite concoction, he banged his head against the wall out of frustration from the loss. From that day on, his beloved drink became known as the Harvey Wallbanger.

The Harvey Wallbanger cocktail. Image via

The Harvey Wallbanger cocktail. Image via

Longstanding legend has it that the bartender who first mixed the soothing cocktail was Donato “Duke” Antone, who ran Duke’s Blackwatch Bar on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood in 1952. Antone was known to be a topnotch bartender, but the Wallbanger didn’t become popular until the early 1970s. This was because of George Bednar, the marketing director of McKesson Imports Co., an importing company that handled Galliano, who found out about the cocktail and its story and advertised it as a replacement for the Bloody Mary during brunch. Late in 1969, the sandal-wearing, stressed-looking cartoon Harvey Wallbanger mascot was born, and his famous line was, “Harvey Wallbanger is the name and I can be made!” Read More