This Canadian Watering Hole Serves Its Whiskey With A Mummified Toe


YIKES. At the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Canada, the signature drink is a shot of whiskey with a mummified toe, nail-and-all. The Sourtoe Cocktail has been going strong for more than 40 years. Anyone who dares to touch his or her lips to the blackened toe gets a certificate. THEY BETTER. On top of the certificate, anyone who’s up for the challenge gets to be a part of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club for life. This $5 drink has become a time-honored tradition in Dawson City.

The story of the toe goes back to the 1920s when a rum-runner preserved his frostbitten, amputated big toe in a jar of alcohol in his cabin. It’s been said that fifty years later the “pickled’ toe was found by a Yukon native who carried it down to the hotel where it became the legendary cocktail ingredient. Thankfully, the Sourtoe Cocktail is claimed to be the world’s only drink with a human toe as its main ingredient.

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If you’re freaking out right now, bartender and “toe captain” Terry Lee has some slightly comforting information. He says, “Don’t worry, the toe is completely necrotic — that means it’s mummified.” The toe is kept in coarse salt so there’s no taste or odor. If you can get past the appearance, you’re golden.

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If that’s not enough to make you question your values, The Guardian reports that a patron at the Downtown Hotel actually stole the famous toe after knocking back his drink. The toe thief convinced a staff member to let him try the drink outside of the bar’s two-hour window known as “toe time.” Luckily, the toe thief let his guilty conscience get the best of him and he mailed the toe back along with an apology note.

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The fine for swallowing the toe has been raised to $2,500. Back in 2013, a patron swallowed the toe and then put $500 down on the table. The tradition continued since the bar had a backup toe, but Terry Lee hopes another human toe will be donated soon since several have been damaged, stolen, swallowed or lost over the decades.

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It sounds like toes are a big deal in Dawson City. If we’re ever in Yukon, Canada, we’re not, not saying we wouldn’t be tempted to stop by and pay the toe captain a visit. Gross, but kind of cool in a non-foot fetish-y way.