Food and Drink

Prairie Hen and Oyster

The odd thing about this “cocktail” is that it is basically a seasoned raw egg, or egg yolk, served in a glass. This isn’t about spirits. I can see where the name Prairie Oyster came from, in that you have a small, round, raw item that is accompanied by toppings you might easily find with oysters from the sea (and these have no relation to the *other* prairie oysters I’m familiar with). The Hen name makes sense as well since you are using an egg here. Naming aside, this seems like a weird recipe to find in a cocktail book, but it shows up in all three of my 1930s books, so this must have been a thing to get at a bar back then.

These are actually two different recipes, though obviously variations. Lommebogen has this listed under one recipe entry though, and doesn’t distinguish the ingredients for the two names, so it looks like a monster combination of the two. Lommebogen is also the only one that has actual spirit in the drink (cognac and rum), though just a dash. This looks more like a hangover concoction to me than something that should be in the cocktail section. Luckily raw egg doesn’t gross me out, so I’m still going to give this one a go.

Prairie Hen & Oyster (Lommebogen)

The Recipes


  • 2 tsp English sauce (HP or Worcester)
  • 1 tsp tomato sauce
  • 2 dashes Tabasco
  • 2 dashes oil
  • 2 dashes vinegar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 dash cognac
  • 1 dash Bacardi
  • salt and pepper

Prairie Hen (Café Royal/Savoy)

  • 1 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 2 dashes Tabasco
  • 1 egg (don’t break the egg)
  • 2 dashes vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Prairie Oyster (Café Royal/Savoy)

  • 1 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 tsp Tomato Catsup
  • egg yolk (unbroken)
  • 2 dashes vinegar
  • dash of pepper

Normally with dashes, we’re working with things like bitters that come in containers intended to be dashed. Not so much with these ingredients though. So how much is a dash? The world wide web tells me that a dash comes out to 1/6 of a teaspoon. That means 2 dashes is 1/3 teaspoon. I used my 1/2 teaspoon measure and eye-balled it shy to approximate. At the end of the day we’re really talking about adding a little bit for seasoning, so this isn’t an exact science.

The Tasting

These were actually quite tasty. I’m a fan of all the ingredients, and like so many cocktails, this one is about balance. The egg is a nice rich, creamy foil to the sharp flavors of the other ingredients. It works really well. Needless to say, you need to just drink this down in one gulp as sipping doesn’t really work here. I was a bit worried with the whole egg that it’d be a bit much to gulp, but it was just fine.

I actually preferred the Lommebogen recipe. I think it had more things going on to balance out the vinegar flavors. The Prairie Hen recipe was a bit muted with the whole egg. I feel like it would have been better with more flavors to balance the egg white. The Prairie Oyster seasonings felt too strong for the yolk, being focused mostly on the ketchup flavor.

This would be a fun one to play with to get the flavors that I like all together. I was thinking something like just the egg yolk, used with the Worcester sauce, Tabasco, vinegar, and a bit of cognac, with salt and pepper. What’s a hangover drink without a little hair of the dog? Since I was feeling a little heavy-headed from our 4th of July celebrations last night, I decided to give that a whirl this morning and that turned out quite nicely. Not sure it’ll help my hangover, but it’s tasty nonetheless.

This post is part of a series working through some of the cocktails in a Danish bartender’s notebook from the 1930s, Lommebogen.