“You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow,
but the lips have gotta touch the toe.”
What I find more intriguing than urban legends is weird traditions around the world.
The Sourtoe Cocktail is champagne seasoned with a mummified toe that has become an important tradition in Dawson City (Canada).
Estabilished in 1973, according to the story, Yukon local Captain Dick Stevenson found the toe preserved in a jar of alcohol while cleaning a cabin in 1973. After discussing it with friends, Captain Dick preserved and started serving the toe in a “Sourtoe Cocktail” at the Eldorado hotel bar. This is how the “Sourtoe Club” was formed. The first toe is said to have belonged to a miner and rum runner who had his frostbitten toe amputated in the 1920s and preserved it in a jar of alcohol in his cabin, where Stevenson found it some 50 years later.
The first toe lasted only seven more years after its discovery. According to the Sourtoe Cocktail Club, “In July 1980, a miner named Garry Younger was trying for the Sourtoe record. On his thirteenth glass of Sourtoe champagne, his chair tipped over backwards, and he swallowed the toe.”
After that, seven more toes have been donated to the bar. Number two was given after an amputation due to an inoperable corn, number three was from a victim of frostbite (it was also swallowed accidentally), four was an anonymous toe, toes five and six were donated by a Yukon old-timer, toe seven was an amputation due to diabetes and toe eight arrived in a jar of alcohol with the message, “Don’t wear open-toe sandals while mowing the lawn.”
Today you can still drink the Sourtoe Cocktail (which is still garnished with a real toe) and join the club, complete with a proper certificate. Of course the rule is slightly changed, instead of champagne you can have your favourite cocktail but the most important rule remains the same: “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but the lips have gotta touch the toe.”
In August 2013 a customer came in, ordered the Sourtoe Cocktail, swallowed the toe (probably because of a bet) and slammed down $500, the fine for swallowing the toe. Luckily the bar had a backup toe in waiting. The fine has since been raised to $2500.
Fancy a Sourtoe Cocktail now?