You just can’t make this stuff up. Dawson City, Yukon is home to the Sourdough Saloon where you can become a member of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club by drinking a shot of whisky with a fermented human toe in it. This week, the signature ingredient of the cocktail was stolen from right under a bartender’s nose. Yes, someone stole a Yukon bar’s dismembered drink-mixing toe. What?
According to ‘Toe Captain’ Terry Lee (the guy who drops the toe in your drink), three customers had just had a Sourtoe when one of them said, ‘I’m going to take the toe.’ And he did. That left the bar with only two other working toes–their biggest one was swallowed in 2013, the second-biggest fell apart last year and the rest are small enough to be choking hazards. Wouldn’t want to choke on the mummified toe in your drink, would you?
Today, in the most Canadian turn of events, the toe was returned in perfect (as perfect as a fermented toe can be) condition by the thief with a letter of apology. He also called the bar to tell them the toe was en route and give a verbal apology. Yeah, that’s right. The thief returned the toe and apologized, twice. Oh Canada!
So what’s the big deal about this toe anyway? We’re so glad you asked. The legend of the toe goes back to the 1920s when two rum-running brothers, Louie and Otto Linken, got caught in a blizzard. Louie’s big toe got wet and froze solid. To prevent gangrene, Otto chopped it clean off with a woodcutting axe. Then, instead of disposing of the toe like anyone else might, they preserved it in a jar of liquor.
Years later, that jar was found by Captain Dick Stevenson who created the Sourtoe Cocktail Club in 1973. Since that time, over ten toes have been donated to the bar. That’s right, actual people have donated their toes to a bar. Wild.
Now, if you want to be inducted into the club, what you have to do is order at least an ounce shot of liquor and state the ‘Sourtoe Oath.’ Then the toe will be ceremoniously dropped in your drink. Don’t forget the most important rule: ‘You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips have gotta touch the toe.’ We know we’ll definitely be hitting up the Sourdough Saloon if we ever find ourselves in Dawson City, Yukon. If only just to catch a glimpse of that infamous digit.