Hurricane Harvey inspires Harvey Wallbanger appreciation

UPDATE: All of Bobby Heugel’s bars, including Better Luck Tomorrow have decided to close Friday in anticipation of Hurricane Harvey.

Harvey is big news this week, but not all of it is about dangerous weather.

The Harvey Wallbanger cocktail is enjoying a local revival thanks to Hurricane Harvey barreling into Texas. Houston bartenders will no doubt be breaking out their Galliano, a key ingredient in the Harvey Wallbanger, just in case there are customers who want a cocktail that shares a name with the headline-grabbing hurricane.

At Ouisie’s Table in River Oaks (3939 San Felipe), the Harvey Wallbanger will be feature in what promises to be a very wet weekend. On Friday and Saturday the restaurant will serve up a Harvey Wallbanger and plate of fried Gulf oysters for $10. If flooding closes the restaurant, it will offer rain checks for the cocktail/oyster combo.

At The Hay Merchant (1100 Westheimer) the Harvey Wallbanger will be the featured cocktail today, Friday, for $8 from 3 to 11 p.m. (the restaurant is unsure if it will be open Saturday, but if it is, the Wallbanger will be served).

The Harvey connection prompted Houston’s craft cocktail guru, bartender Bobby Heugel, to riff on social media about the simple cocktail that was “in every bar’s training manual years ago” and that he served to older regulars at one of his first bartending jobs. The Harvey Wallbanger (a simple merger of vodka, orange juice and Galliano) might be decidedly old school, but it can make for a satisfying cocktail if done right, Heugel suggests.

The big mistake is thinking you can make a simple Screwdriver then float some Galliano on top.

No, Heugel said, you have to show a little more finesse.

“The real trick, as with most orange drinks, is to add a touch of lemon. It’s brightens the orange juice. And I prefer to shake the vodka, orange juice and lemon together and strain before floating with Galliano on top,” Heugel wrote on Facebook and Instagram. “Whatever you do though, don’t ever serve this drink with a straw. Those old regulars insisted this of me, and they’re right. Here’s my preferred HW recipe. It’s a tasty, casual, fun drink anybody can make.”

If you’ve never had a Harvey Wallbanger, this Harvey-whipped weekend is the perfect opportunity. One of Heugel’s bars – Better Luck Tomorrow, 544 Yale– will be serving $6 Wallbangers if the bar is open today and tomorrow, weather permitting.

Harvey Wallbanger
Courtesy Bobby Heugel
1 ½ ounces vodka
1 ½ ounces orange juice
¼ ounce lemon juice
¼ ounce simple syrup
Float ½ ounce Galliano

Shake the vodka, orange juice, lemon, and simple syrup with ice. Pour into a glass and float Galliano on top. Garnish with an orange slice. No straw.

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