September 10: Mike The Headless Chicken

MikeTheHeadlessChickenOn the evening of September 10, 1945, farmer Lloyd Olsen of Fruita, Colorado went outside to kill a chicken for dinner. Olsen selected a five-and-a-half-month-old cockerel named Mike, swung his axe and cut off the chicken’s head. Although he had beheaded the chicken, Olsen’s swing not only missed Mike’s jugular vein, but also most of the bird’s brain stem. Somehow, the bird was still alive, walking and attempting, unsuccessfully, to crow.

Olsen nursed the chicken to relative health, feeding Mike a mix of water and milk from an eyedropper and small grains of corn. He soon decided to take the bird on tour as part of a carnival sideshow. People all over the country lined up to pay 25 cents to see Mike the Headless Chicken strut around, attempt to peck at corn and do other typical chicken things, except, you know, without a head. Mike was photographed in both Time and Life and earned Olsen about $4,500 a month (over $53,000 a month in contemporary money) at the height of his popularity.  Sadly, Mike’s severed trachea could not properly take in air, and one night in March of 1947, Mike choked to death in his sleep.

It’s said that various imposter chickens posing as Mike The Headless Chicken appeared in sideshows in the years after Mike died. Since 1999, Mike’s hometown of Fruita, Colorado has held an annual “Mike The Headless Chicken Festival” during the third weekend of May. which features events like the “5K Run Like a Headless Chicken Race.”

So, let’s move from a headless chicken to a Chocolate Chicken. This oddly named drink, which contains neither chocolate nor chicken, is a highly potent mix of liquors and cream. It’s got a slightly chocolatey taste that might just leave you running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Chocolate Chicken

  • 1/2 ounce Canadian Whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce Bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce 151 proof Rum
  • 1/2 ounce Amaretto
  • 1/2 ounce Dark Creme de Cacao
  • 1/2 ounce Kahlua
  • 1/2 ounce Bailey’s Irish cream
  • cream

Pour all ingredients into a highball glass filled with ice, and fill with cream.

Tomorrow: A hit song from Stephen Foster.


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