It’s too soon to name a drink after Harvey, but old standbys will do
What do hurricanes, tropical storms, cyclones and cocktails all have in common? Most come with a splash and often result in major headaches.
Storm preparation in Southeast Texas inevitably fills up liquor stores as fast as it does grocery and hardware stores, providing solid proof that a bit of imbibing is a part of the endurance. And well it should be.
It can be recorded that one Houstonian facing an early evening power outage during Harvey’s onslaught listened to his wife fret about the food in the refrigerator. “Forget the food!” he shouted. “Save the ice!”
It was, after all, nearly 5.
Along the coast, residents have long coped with Mother Nature’s wind and water monsters of destruction. That the coping went hand in hand with cocktails is evident in what some of those very cocktails are named.
Most famous, of course, is the Hurricane.
While the drink is indicative of its name, a conglomeration of things all swirled and shaken together, its history comes from neighboring New Orleans, a city quite familiar with these Gulf monsters.
The creative credits go to famed tavern owner Pat O’Brien, who seemed to have a high regard for storms. During Prohibition, the password to get into his illegal — yes, even in New Orleans — speakeasy was, “storm’s brewin’”.
With rum plentiful but not popular, distributors had forced O’Brien to buy quantities of it to get the popular liquors he wanted. Finally, he decided to create some kind of drink to get rid of it. The story goes he made a fruit concoction he poured into hurricane lamp-shaped glasses and pretty much gave the stuff away. “Storm’s brewin’” got you in and the Hurricanes blew you away. He had no idea at the time his Hurricane would eventually become his most popular signature drink.
While O’Brien’s drink was named after storms in general, the devastation of Hurricane Ike in 2008 prompted Nick’s Kitchen & Beach Bar at 38th and Seawall Boulevard in Galveston to come up with its own drink called just that.
Hurricane Ike is a potent, Category 4 cocktail made with Bacardi Light Rum, Myers’s Dark Rum, orange and pineapple juice, a splash of house-made piña colada mix, grenadine and a bit of grapefruit juice.
People are still picking up the pieces after Harvey, so honoring it with a cocktail is far too soon. Instead, a recommended substitute might be called A Short Trip to Hell. Just as Harvey mixed a little of everything for the utmost damage, this drink takes peach, strawberry and wild berry schnapps and combines them with a can of Red Bull. A full shot of Jägermeister is added for the tidal surge. If you can’t take cover, take aspirin.
Want to feel like you’re standing up to the storm? Just stand at the bar and shout Damn-The-Weather. It comes with attitude, namely sweet vermouth, gin, orange juice and triple sec, for what can be more of a finger toward Harvey than a toast.
Of course, there’s absolutely no cocktail that Harvey has brought to mind more than one of the few memorable drinks to find its way out of the chaos of the 1970s. That, of course, is the Harvey Wallbanger.
Just how this drink came about is anyone’s guess from the myriad stories surrounding its origin. First of all, many contend it had actually been around for a long time, but was called the Italian Screwdriver, and for some reason, it became the Harvey Wallbanger.
Among those stories is the drink came about in the 1960s when the host of an overly-long party tried to fix a drink from the only stuff he had left at the bar. He handed his guest a mixture of vodka, orange juice and Galliano. Several drinks later, the guest, supposedly named Harvey, was discovered banging his head against the wall, damning the drink that had brought him to this.
It’s probably not true.
Nor is the story that Donato “Duke” Antone created it in 1952 for a surfer frequenting his Blackwatch Bar in Los Angeles. That there is no record of there being a bar in Los Angeles by that name and that Antone was living in Connecticut at that time has a lot to do with the doubts behind the story.
What is probably true but much less glamorous is that it was created for and promoted by the company importing Galliano, the essential ingredient for an authentic Harvey Wallbanger. The company created a surfer-themed advertising campaign and helped promote it with the saying that made the drink famous: “Harvey Wallbanger is the name and I can be made!”
Of course, the August 2017 storm might change the first image that comes to mind when the name Harvey Wallbanger is mentioned.
From Williams-Sonoma’s “The Bar Guide”
2 ounces vodka
6 ounces orange juice
1 tablespoon Galliano
Pour the vodka and the orange juice into an ice-filled highball glass. Stir briefly. Carefully pour the Galliano over the back of a spoon so that it floats on top of the drink and the ice.