Sycamore Den's Harvey Wallbanger

Sycamore Den

3391 Adams Avenue, Normal Heights

If you didn’t have the good fortune of having a dad who grew up in the 1970s, then you probably know little about the glories of wood paneling, Gordon Lightfoot, and plaid-on-plaid polyester suits.

But, don’t worry — it’s all coming back to Normal Heights with the grand opening of the Sycamore Den, where bar consultant Eric Johnson of Noble Experiment fame has made sure that you have the appropriate cocktail in hand as you take in the establishment’s grooviness.

Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson

According to Johnson, as the perfect entrée to the Sycamore Den, there’s no better drink to serve than that dad of all dad drinks, the Harvey Wallbanger.

“The Harvey Wallbanger is definitely one of those cocktails that stand out during that era,” he says. “People know the name but don’t really know what’s in it.... I am switching up the recipe a bit,” he admits.

“I’m sticking with the main ingredients, but adding a little vanilla extract. The original Harvey Wallbanger was a little vodka, a lot of OJ, and just a touch of Galliano, so I’m trying to shine the Galliano and bring that liqueur out.”

Besides ringing your bellbottoms, the finished product, Johnson says, has a creamy taste but all the right stuff to taste like nostalgia to those who remember (and a history lesson to those who don’t).

“The lemon was not originally in the Harvey Wallbanger, but it adds a bit more acidity to the cocktail to brighten it up a bit,” says Johnson. “The soda on top adds some more life. But you’re getting your original flavors of the Galliano, the vodka, and the OJ.”


In a Collins glass filled with ice, pour:

  • 1½ oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. Galliano
  • ½ oz. lemon juice
  • 1 oz. orange juice
  • Two drops vanilla extract

Top with soda, garnish with orange slice and maraschino cherry, stir, and pull back on your avocado-colored naugahyde La-Z-Boy as you push in that Styx eight-track.

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