You might have read about those weird drinks from the different sides of the world like China’s baby mice wine and Mexico’s tequila with mezcal worms. The thought of animals or insects floating on cocktails could already be disturbing for you, but Canada’s Dawson City could easily make you raise your hands up and say, “Nope, I’m outta here.” Why? They’ve got a cocktail with a human toe in it, that’s why.
Before you speculate and be creeped out wondering how this drink come into existence, here’s a bit of history: During an awful blizzard in the 1920s, Louie Liken, a local miner and rum runner, accidentally stepped off the sled during their cross-border deliveries. The long exposure to the cold made his bloody toe frozen and unfortunately ended up amputated. The cut-off toe then was preserved in a jar of alcohol in his cabin as a remembrance.
50 years later, a Yukon local Captain Dick Stevenson was cleaning Liken’s cabin and there he found the jar. Stevenson later started serving the toe in a “Sourtoe Cocktail” at the Eldorado hotel bar.
But then, the current toe in Eldorado hotel bar isn’t the original found in Liken’s cabin anymore, because someone accidentally swallowed it in 1980 (gulp). The bar is already serving the 10th donated real toe and no one knows when it’ll be purposely or accidentally swallowed by a daring drinker. That’s why the bar always makes sure that they have reserved toes in the freezer.
If the first toe was due to a frostbite injury, the rest also got their interesting stories. Some of the donated toes were from someone who had an inoperable corn, someone with diabetes, and someone who accidentally got his toe mowed. Ouch. It’s unbelievable but these “donations” keep on coming!
So how do you drink the “Sourtoe Cocktail”? The dehydrated toe is placed in a beer glass of champagne and the drinker of course drinks it, making sure the toe touches the drinker’s lips. For a job well done, the drinker gets the honor of being one out of 100,000 Sourtoers, all complete with a certificate.
And if you’re one brave (and rich) Sourtoer, well, you can still swallow the toe but be sure you can pay the current fine of $2500.
When On Earth Magazine is for people who love travel. We provide informative travel guides, tips, ideas and advice regarding places to see, things to do, what to taste, and much more for world travelers seeking their next dream vacation destination.