My brother and sister-in-law live in Houston, Texas. Needless to say, I checked in with them a number of times last week while Hurricane Harvey was dumping a record amount of rainfall on their city. I’m happy to report that they were fortunate enough not to sustain any damage, but that’s certainly not the case for so many other people who live in the area. At one point my sister-in-law told me that I should make a drink that was a rendition of the Harvey Wallbanger for my next Monday Classics post. I thought it was an excellent idea.
The Harvey Wallbanger is a drink that was created in the post-Prohibition era when many classic cocktails disappeared from drink menus everywhere. They were replaced by drinks that were easy to throw together and were high in sugar, making them time and money savers, and they were often backed by clever marketing campaigns for one of their spirits. The Harvey Wallbanger was no exception. The original recipe called for vodka and orange juice topped with Galliano, an Italian liqueur that was just trying to break into the American market. The creator of Galliano’s ad campaign concocted a story that involved a surfer named Harvey who walked into a bar after losing a competition and began banging his head against the wall. The bartender promptly made him a drink and named it after him. This same surfer turned up a little later as a cartoon figure featured in the ad campaign for the Harvey Wallbanger whose trademark phrase was “My name is Harvey, and I can be made.”
My thoughts for creating a modern day rendition of this drink revolved around the idea of using a blood orange and saffron shrub from Element [Shrub] that U knew would elevate the citrus component of the cocktail to a much more interesting level. I kept vodka as the base spirit, but swapped out the Galliano for yellow chartreuse, which gets its color from saffron and definitely has a hint of it in its flavor profile. When using shrubs in cocktails, I like to put them in the center of the equation and build around them. Since they are both sweet and sour, I can put a sweet ingredient on one side and a sour ingredient on the other, and I end up creating a more complex drink that still remains balanced. I used saffron in my simple syrup today too, with the thought in mind that it’s a powerful ingredient that can pack quite a punch, in much the same way as a certain hurricane named Harvey.
The Harvey Coastbanger
Add all ingredients to a shaker tin with ice and shake vigorously until very cold. Strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top with Element Shrub & Club in the same blood orange saffron flavor. Garnish with an orange slice and a cherry in honor of the original drink. Cheers!