The Prarie Oyster, but not as you know it

You can always count on Tony Conigliaro and the gang at The Drinks Factory to go that extra mile on the drinks front.  No shortcuts for them; quite the opposite. In fact it’s not unheard of for one of their cocktails to take several months before each component is deemed worthy enough to make it out of the lab and on to the menu at 69 Colebrooke Row…

Take the Prairie Oyster for instance. Tony C first had the idea of transforming the rather scary Prarie Oyster (raw egg, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt and pepper drunk as a bad boy hair of the dog) into something sophisticated and sexy a few years ago. But it wasn’t until January 2012 that perfecting the technique went to the top of The Drinks Factory’s to-do list. Cue painstaking research including a trip to El Bulli in Barcelona for the team to nail the spherification technique and endless experiments getting the ratios just so.

The result is nothing short of liquid genius. But developments like this don’t come by without hard work. The Prarie Oyster, 69 Colebrooke Row style takes in three concepts: the sensation of swallowing the egg yolk along with the tomato juice and spices; the ritual of eating a classic oyster, and lastly, combining the ingredients associated with a Bloody Mary. And it all comes together seamlessly.

The new drink which went on the menu this week ticks every box in our minds. Visually, not only does it look extremely lush (verging on sexual if we’re honest); this revolutionary creation tastes and smells divine. We have to mention the oyster shell dishes here. If you’ve always wanted to experience the protocol of downing an oyster but have been scared of the raw gloopiness, get your laughing gear around this. Designed to be experienced in one hit, you tip the ceramic shell to your lips and drink the contents shot-style. It’s wonderfully clever – treating you to an aperitif, canape and cocktail with the flick of your wrist.

You get the texture of the egg yolk without any egginess, and the replication of tasting an oyster without the raw thing that some people find offputting. Thats thanks to a tomato ‘yolk’ painstakingly created  with a spherified clarified tomato juice. It bursts on the tongue, leaving a delicious taste explosion in your mouth, making way for the Bloody Mary concoction. Finally, there’s the intense hit of oyster leaf, leaving a distinct, very agreeable impression on the palate.

A few words from The Drinks Factory on the creation of the Prarie Oyster for anyone thinking of making this at home (don’t, it’s far too complicated):
To make the tomato yolk we clarify tomato juice using a centrifuge and then re-add dye to make it look like yolk. Using a specific spherification process we create an outer casing that holds the tomato yolk, we also add miso consomme to increase the umami.”
We use a mix of horseradish vodka, Oloroso Sherry, clarified celery juice, Worcestershire sauce, homemade pepper sauce and red wine vinegar for the liquid mix.”
It is garnished with with micro herbs and shallots, this gives it texture (and also links back to the oyster component).
All this for a credit crunch-busting £5.50 – we urge you to try it.
69 Colebrooke Row, N1 8AA. T: 07540 528593. 69colebrookerow.com.
Available from 5pm-7pm Tuesday-Friday.

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