This Sh*t's Delicious

Exploring the world through cocktails, shit hole restaurants, and UrbanAg

A Cocktail-a-Day #5: Harvey Wallbanger

IMG_0092Ah, the weekend is here. Saturday mornings are the best. Friday nights are usually when I get the best sleep as my mind is not as subconsciously pre-occupied with waking up the next day. What an awesome feeling.

Another awesome thing about weekends is the early alcohol before 10 am. It’s funny how any other day of the week, it’s taboo, but on the weekends, alcohol with breakfast is perfectly fine.

I didn’t have any champagne at home to make a mimosa, but I did have Galliano and orange juice, so opted to make the classic Harvey Wallbanger instead.


– 1 oz. Galliano (1/2 oz. if you don’t like it too sweet)

– 1 oz. vodka

– 4 oz. OJ


Pour the OJ and vodka over ice in a highball glass and give it a quick stir. Layer the Galliano on top. Done.

Badaboom, badabing.


Harvey Wallbanger was created in 1952 by three-time world champion mixologist Donato ‘Duke’ Antone (Paolantonio). There’s multiple recipes and variations on the ratios, but the most classic seems to be layering the Galliano on top. I would stir a couple of times after layering the liqueur to mix it up otherwise you would get a strong burst of flavour followed by a tepid OJ/vodka combo. In essence, Harvey Wallbanger is a screwdriver with a twist.

When OJ and Galliano combine, there’s this explosion of vanilla flavour that is just delicious. There’s also subtle star anise underlying the vanilla top note. To be honest, I never researched Galliano much until today. It is a sweet herbal liqueur that was first created in 1896 by Italian distiller and brandy producer Arturo Vaccari of Livorno, Tuscany. It was named after Giuseppe Galliano, who is apparently a “hero of the first Italo-Ethiopian war” (why were the Italians fighting the Ethiopians. Wtf?).

I was pleased to discover that yes, the liqueur does contain vanilla (although I would have never picked up on the subtle star anise note if I hadn’t read about it).  Natural ingredients like anise, ginger, juniper, musk yarrow, and lavender are infused in the neutral alcohol and then distilled. The distillate is then infused with pressed vanilla before finally being blended with additional neutral alcohol and water.

Harvey Wallbanger is a great alternative to a regular old mimosa or screwdriver for brunch. It just packs in so much flavour that I would be hard-pressed to go back to a “regular” brunch-centric cocktails like mimosas.


Photography was a pain. I was trying to use the natural sunlight in my west-facing room but it was not bright enough to make the drink translucent enough. In hindsight, OJ is probably too opaque to get that “translucent” look in non-fruit juice based alcohols.

I tried brightening up the foreground with my tungsten lights but I hate doing that cause then you have to deal with mixed lighting, which is harder to expose and white balance for. I kept blowing out the highlights as the background was much brighter. Shining the lights from the front created ugly reflections, so I had to shift them to the side, which worked, but still didn’t provide sufficient foreground lighting.




The final picture looks ok, but I feel like something is missing. I had to switch one light to the back and one to side as per my usual setup. Ironically, it was easier to obtain a picture of my final setup than of the cocktail! I am going to have to drop by The Camera Store or Vistek to further develop my studio photography skills.

Bottom line is, I need more lights.

4 responses to “A Cocktail-a-Day #5: Harvey Wallbanger

  1. cocktails&costumes June 8, 2013 at 20:15

    We were talking about this cocktail just today – thanks for the comprehensive history and detail on this.
    To my untrained eye your photos are looking pretty good for the record

    • Kiran Somanchi June 9, 2013 at 11:30

      Thanks! Yeah the lable on the bottle simply said alcohol and flavoring for ingredients which was unsatisfactory. I am glad I went online to check out the actual ingredients.

      The photos are ok. Not that my eye is trained, but I just seem to be a perfectionist. But thanks for the compliment!

      Btw, I bought some salted caramel ice cream. Looking forward to trying out your salted caramel “spider”

      • cocktails&costumes June 9, 2013 at 20:02

        Excellent! I hope you enjoy the Spider (and the ice-cream itself)

        It’s interesting because the anise flavour has been a little over-powering to my palate – one of our travelling party tried the Harvey at a lunch and none of us were 100% on the ingredients for a Harvey – I had thought there might be some absinthe swirled in the glass to start but it was just the Galliano. It was a main note of the Chanel No 5 cocktail I tried in our hotel bar last night too, but the anise was very much a second fiddle in this. All signs of a wonderfully complex liqueur!

      • Kiran Somanchi June 10, 2013 at 08:59

        Yeah, I don’t like the flavour of anise overpowering the drink, so I definitely prefer it being an undertone that adds complexity to the drink!

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