Canada's Yukon Has a Dare: Drink Garnished With ... Toe

The 'Sourtoe Cocktail' has been served for nearly 40 years
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2012 11:38 AM CST
Canada's Yukon Has a Dare: Drink Garnished With ... Toe
Forget the olive...   (?)

Olives, limes, maraschino cherries, and pickled toes? That's right: In the Yukon Territory, one Dawson City saloon serves a drink garnished with a human toe. The tradition began in 1973, after a riverboat captain found a toe preserved in a pickle jar and decided it would be a good idea to drop the digit into a big glass of champagne then take a drink. Since then, more than 100,000 people are estimated to have taken part in the Sourtoe Cocktail ritual at the Downtown Hotel's Sourdough Saloon. The one rule: "The lips have gotta touch the toe."

Sometimes the lips touch the toe and vomiting or at least gagging ensues, the hotel manager tells the Wall Street Journal. Other times, drinkers get a little overly enthusiastic: After 725 go-rounds, the first toe was swallowed by a miner; replacement toes have also since been damaged or swallowed. But the replacements keep coming in: one from a trapper who lost a toe to frostbite, one that was the victim of a lawn mower incident, another that was amputated and saved for years in a freezer. But no matter where the current toe hails from, you needn't worry about hygiene: The toes are pickled in medical alcohol for months then placed in dry salts. "The risk of freezing on the way to the bar or being attacked by a pack of wolves would be higher," a Health and Social Services worker tells the Journal. (More timeless news stories.)

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