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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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