The Sourtoe Cocktail

Yep, it's exactly what it sounds like. A dodgy, mangled toe in an alcoholic drink. When we visited Dawson City last year, we were told that we HAD to join the Sourtoe Cocktail Club. And so we did...

sourtoe cocktail

Origins Of The Sourtoe Cocktail

Story has it, that in the 1920's a rum-runner called Louie Linken ran into a blizzard during one of his cross-border deliveries with his brother Otto. After slipping off his sled, Louie's big toe was frozen solid. To prevent gangrene, Otto amputated Louie's toe with a woodcutting axe with plenty of rum for anaesthetic. They then decided to preserve the toe in a jar of alcohol. 

Many years later, Captain Dick Stevenson found the toe in what was now an abandoned cabin. He established the Sourtoe Cocktail Club in 1973 and it is now a time-honoured tradition in Dawson City. The club has over 100,000 members from all over the world, including us!

If all of that hasn't gotten you wondering, 'what the ....!', then maybe this might. They are onto their 10th toe - at last count. Why? Because people have swallowed them! Gross right? The original toe lasted 7 years. Apparently, a miner was trying for the Sourtoe record and after his 13th drink, he fell off his chair and accidentally swallowed the toe. Since then, several toes have been donated following more accidental swallows and theft (??). There used to be a fine of $500 for swallowing the toe but in 2013, a man deliberately swallowed the toe and since then the fine has increased to $2,500. There are some crazy folk out there!

How To Become A Member

Here's what you have to do to join The Sourtoe Cocktail Club:

  • Go to The Downtown Hotel
  • Head to the bar and ask for the Captain River Rat
  • Purchase a shot for $5 (they'll give you Yukon Jack)
  • Line up - you'll know where. You can't miss it!
  • Pledge the 'Sourtoe Oath'
  • Try not to pass out as an actual toe is dropped into your drink
  • Drink your Sourtoe Cocktail (the toe must touch your lips) and wait for the cheers from spectators!

“You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips have gotta touch the toe”

Here's a video of us joining the club. The expression on the lady's face behind us is just priceless!

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Would you? Have you? Let me know in the comments below!

Jen

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