If you follow this blog you certainly know I’m a big fan of analogies and thought experiments. I’d like you to engage in another one with me now. Think back on a truly uninteresting cocktail you’ve had in your life (or meal if you prefer). Do you have a clear memory of it? I don’t. In fact, it’s truly hard for me to remember uninteresting moments in my life. Which actually makes perfect sense. Interesting points are ones that we recall regularly and, quite likely, tell others. Both of these actions cause that memory to get further ingrained in your brain. The boring stuff just slips away.
The Harvey Wallbanger is one of those uninteresting memories that I’ll probably quickly lose to the sands of time. Sure, it’s not a bad cocktail at all. In fact it’s quite tasty. But, is it great? No. Let’s face the facts, this cocktail is a Screwdriver with a twist (pun fully intended). That twist, the Galliano, really isn’t that much, either. Galliano, if you’re unfamiliar, has a light vanilla and anise flavor; emphasis on the light. It’s very nicely balanced, but doesn’t pack a huge punch.
Now, it’s interesting. As I mentioned in the intro, my bottle of Galliano is, or should I say was, old. At least 8 years to be exact. Generally not a huge problem…might have lost a bit of punch..maybe not getting the real cocktail experience…crap, new bottle time. My old bottle was of a 60 proof (30% ABV) variety that is now being phased out for the original, an 84 proof (42.3% ABV) version. Is there a difference, yes, definitely. The classic version (84 proof) packs more punch and has a stronger flavor. Does it elevate this cocktail to greatness? Well, no, not so much. Still good though! So, what’s the take away? If you have a seriously old bottle of Galliano on your shelf consider getting rid of it. Drinking, dumping, or tossing out the window is totally up to you.
Last note before I truly do move on. The orange juice I used for this cocktail (Odwalla if you’re interested) was a little under-sour for my taste, at least for cocktail use. So, I added a half ounce of lemon juice to the mix and found it much better.
Harvey Wallbanger (Cocktail Hacker)
2 oz Vodka
3 oz Orange Juice
1/2 oz Lemon Juice [Optional]
1/2 oz Galliano [84 Proof]
1) Combine vodka and orange juice over ice
2) Float the Galliano
So, there you have it. The Harvey Wallbanger. Good, sure, but not amazing. If you’re planning to mix up some Screwdrivers in the future it’s worth trying this twist, but don’t go too far out of your way.