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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 yolk 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.
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 1950 Patricia Highsmith novel Strangers on a Train, Charles Anthony Bruno has a prairie oyster to cure his hangover and ready himself to murder Miriam, the wife of a man he met on the train.
- 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 1975 television series The Jeffersons, The Break-Up, Part 2, Tom Willis's (Franklin Cover) daughter Jenny (Berlinda Tolbert) makes a prairie oyster to help her dad with his hangover.
- In the 1988 film Heathers, Veronica Sawyer makes Heather Chandler a prairie oyster in an attempt to apologize for an incident at a party the previous night, but it is soon replaced with a glass of liquid drain cleaner.
- In the 1990 film Back to the Future Part III, Marty gives (egg-free) "wake-up juice" into Doc 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).
- In the Netflix series The Good Cop, Belinda Mannix makes one for Tony Caruso Sr to help with his hangover in the episode "What is the Supermodel's Secret?" (Season 1, Episode 2).
- Amber Moon, a similar drink containing alcohol