Prairie oyster

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A simple prairie oyster in a glass.

A prairie oyster (sometimes also prairie cocktail) is a traditional beverage consisting of a raw egg (often yolk alone), Worcestershire sauce, vinegar and/or hot sauce, table salt and ground black pepper. Tomato juice is sometimes added, reminiscent of a Bloody Mary. The egg is broken into a glass so as not to break the yolk. The mixture is quickly swallowed. The unbroken yoke causes the drink to bear a texture similar to that of an oyster. The concoction has been referred to as a traditional cure for hangovers, and has appeared in media for decades.

Popular culture[edit]

The prairie oyster has appeared in popular media since the early 20th century. Notable appearances include:

  • In the 1931 film The Last Flight, three of the main characters order a prairie oyster after a night of heavy drinking.
  • In the 1936 film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Longfellow Deeds (Gary Cooper) is served a prairie oyster by his servant Walter (played by Raymond Walburn) to "make his head feel smaller" when he is suffering from a hangover.
  • In the 1937 film A Star is Born, Norman Maine (Fredric March) has a prairie oyster at the bar to cure his hangover when he spies Vicky Lester (Janet Gaynor) and begins a conversation.
  • In the 1959 film The Nun's Story, Gaby (Audrey Hepburn) is given the drink to aid her in recovery from suspected tuberculosis.
  • The drink features early on in the 1972 film adaptation of Cabaret, being drunk by Sally Bowles (Liza Minnelli) as a hangover cure offered to her love interest Brian Roberts (Michael York).
  • In the 1990 film Back to the Future Part III, Marty pours the (egg-free) "wake-up juice" into Doc's stomach to wake him up after he instantly passes out from a shot of whiskey in the Old West.
  • In the Japanese anime Cowboy Bebop, the main character Spike Spiegel is seen making a prairie oyster to help with a hangover in the episode Heavy Metal Queen. The bartender, however, adds one or two shots of what appears to be gin; the bottle reads 'BOOFEATER', most likely referencing Beefeater Gin.
  • In the video game Catherine, the drink is referenced in one of the many cocktail trivia segments that can occur in the bar.
  • In the American TV show Shameless, the character Mickey is seen preparing one in "The Alibi". (Season 4, Episode 1)
  • In Thunderball, the 1961 novel by Ian Fleming, prior to spending a fortnight at Shrublands ("Gateway to Health"), James Bond (Sean Connery) states that "there wasn't a week went by but that on at least one day I couldn't eat anything for breakfast but a couple of aspirins and a prairie oyster".
  • In the Netflix series Russian Doll, the main character Nadia is seen making a prairie oyster to help with a hangover in the episode "The Great Escape" (Season 1, Episode 2).

See also[edit]