Sourtoe Cocktail Club seeks donation of toes

SourtoeMay 13 (TravelAndy): The Downtown Hotel at Dawson City in west Canada’s Yukon territory is looking for human toes to put in a cocktail. Yes, you read that right.

The Sourtoe Cocktail Club has put up a post on its Facebook page seeking toes saying, “Wanted: Toes for the Sourtoe Cocktail”.

“Got frostbite? The Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Yukon, is currently seeking toes for its World Famous Sourtoe Cocktail. Donor will be forever immortalised in the Sourtoe Hall of Fame,” it adds.

Downing a Sourtoe Cocktail, which is essentially a pickled human toe plonked in a peg of hard liquor, is one of the things tourists have on their checklist when they are visiting Dawson City, the place where the Klondike Gold Rush of the end-nineteenth century took place and on which Charlie Chaplin based his movie The Gold Rush.

The deal is: “Your can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips must touch the toe.” Swallowing the toe is not involved. The quirky cocktail was started by an eccentric riverboat captain called Dick Stevenson in 1973, after he came across a severed toe pickled in alcohol, while cleaning an old cabin he had recently bought.

Everyone who downs the cocktail is made a member of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club and given a certificate. (Incidentally, Andy is also a member!)

The club has more than 100,000 members and has been featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not.

Since its starting, the club has received as donation more than 10 toes.

The last news of the club losing a toe came in August, 2013, when an American swallowed the toe while downing the drink, handed over the CAD500 fine for it, and left before the stunned people around could react. Since then the fine, which is meant as a deterrent, had been increased to 2,500 Canadian dollars.

Dieter Reinmuth, who is the author of The Saga of the Sourtoe and runs the Dawson City River Hostel, said that according to the bar manager, two young women were there at the bar when this guy announced that he was going to swallow the toe. The “toe keeper” apparently did not believe him and the man was told that such an action would invite a CAD500 fine. But in front of the surprised eyes of everyone there, he did just that. He then handed over CAD500 and walked out.

The news of the Downtown Hotel searching for toes immediately after the incident did not surface. However, the hotel continues to receive toes every now and then. “This guy called me from Alabama saying his father-in-law’s leg was being amputated and they wanted to donate the toe,” a hotel official had told TravelAndy.

“There was a time when the bar offered a Foot Cocktail — five toes in a large glass filled with alcohol of your choice. So I am not sure what to believe concerning the bar having run out of toes,” Reinmuth said.


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