My Grand Marnier Wallbanger is a spin on the classic cocktail, The Harvey Wallbanger. The Wallbanger is one of those throwback cocktails from the disco era that has lost a little of its pizzazz. A simple vodka orange juice cocktail with a float of Galliano liqueur on top, it’s not complicated, and not at all bad. Very refreshing as a matter of fact.
Myself, not one to leave well enough alone, started playing with the ingredients of the Harvey Wallbanger a few weeks ago. I have since made a variety of Wallbangers, each with varying levels of success. Playing with the main ingredients, trying the drink with vodka, gin, tequila, etc. then varying the orange component, orange juice, Grand Marnier, Aperol, etc.
I found that the Gin, and Grand Marnier to be particularly delicious, and most importantly that they are light and rise to the surface of the drink. This is important because the Galliano float is heavier than all the other ingredients and sinks to the bottom of the glass. This results in a very interesting change in the flavor profile with every sip. The further into the drink you go the more it changes, by the time you are at the bottom of the glass, it is a completely different cocktail than what you started with. Something I found particularly excellent. I switched from vodka to gin because the Galliano is very herbaceous and works better with a herbaceous gin. I hope you try my Grand Marnier Wallbanger, it’s my current favorite.
Never Shake Gin Cocktails
Gin has an interesting similarity with red wine and aeration. I’ll use this as an example of why never to shake gin. We are all familiar with the practice of letting red wine ‘breathe’. Decanting red wine, swirling the wine in the glass, and exposing it to oxygen for a short time will soften the flavors. This allows some of the more volatile aromas to escape and release the more pleasant fruit and oak aromas in the wine. However, if allowed to breathe for too long the finer subtle qualities of the wine will not only disappear but eventually, the wine turns to vinegar.
Gin is very similar to red wine in this matter. Shaking gin accelerates the breathing process exponentially.
Gin has a complex mixture of aromas divided into three parts; top notes, middle notes, and base notes. With gin, the most desirable qualities are in the top note. All of the botanicals: juniper, pine, fruit, spice, and floral are top notes. Unfortunately, when gin has been agitated by shaking, the top notes are the first to go. Leaving only the less desirable middle and base notes. Bruising the gin won’t turn it to vinegar, but it will leave the gin dull and lifeless. All of the amazing botanicals that are so desirable lost to the inside of a cocktail shaker.
Here is my Grand Marnier Wallbanger Cocktail recipe:
Grand Marnier Wallbanger
- Cocktail Shaker
- 1 Ounce Gin
- 1 Ounce Grand Marnier
- 3/4 Ounce Galliano Liqueur
- 1/4 Orange Juice Only
- 1 Orange Slice
- Combine gin, Grand Marnier and fresh orange juice in a cocktail shaker over ice, stir until ice cold
- In and Old Fashioned Glass, place a single orange slice over the top of the ice, add the gin mixture
- Gently pour the Galliano over the top of the orange slice