Toe-tally Crazy Cocktails

8th January 2024

Some weird and wonderful cocktails have been mentioned on this blog, but this is by far the most unbelievable concoction. It is definitely not for those with a weak stomach.
The Sourtoe Cocktail is exactly what the name suggests: a drink garnished with a preserved, amputated toe. Traditionally, (yes this has been going on for some time!) it was served with a beer glass full of champagne. Nowadays, the alcohol of choice is usually Yukon Jack Whiskey, although the courageous consumer can choose any drink.

If you are interested in trying the macabre drink, it is served at the Downtown Hotel, Yukon, Canada. Unbelievably, there are now 100,000 members of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club, and 65,000 of these have taken the challenge, paying $5 for the privilege. The club has one rule: “Drink it fast, or drink it slow. But the lips have gotta touch the toe.”

Those who finish their drink are asked to sign a logbook and then receive a certificate to prove their bravery (or stupidity, you decide).

It gets worse. The club is now on its tenth toe, thanks to donations from various sources. The nine previous toes have either been lost, stolen, or swallowed. The very first toe was accidentally consumed by a fearless visitor, who was aiming to get the record for drinking the most Sourtoe cocktails. On his thirteenth drink, he fell off his chair and swallowed it.

Most recently, the toe was deliberately swallowed by a man known as Josh from New Orleans. In 2013, he ordered the drink, necked it, toe and all, and paid his $500 fine, before walking out. Thankfully, the hotel had a spare, and the fine for swallowing the appendage was raised to $2,500. The limb had been donated in 2002 by Steve White, who had it amputated after developing hammertoe.

The craze started back in 1973. Captain Dick Stevenson found a severed toe in a jar and a drunken game ensued. It is believed to have belonged to a miner who had it amputated due to frostbite. It had been preserved in alcohol for more than 50 years before being discovered by Stevenson.

For those worried about the health implications behind the gruesome game, the toe is well looked after. It is first pickled in medical alcohol before being packed in dry salts.

A word of advice, if you are planning on visiting the small, gold mining town, wear thick socks and sturdy shoes. Frostbite seems to be a common problem in this area, and the hotel likes to have spare toes handy.

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Bartender's top tip

Always prioritize quality over quantity. Fresh ingredients and proper technique can transform a simple drink into an unforgettable experience for your customer.

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