Dawson, Yukon Ter., Canada: Drink with a Human Toe in It

The bar at the Downtown Hotel has a supply of mummified toes to spice up its special cocktail. In 2013, one patron imbibing the popular concoction deliberately swallowed the toe and paid a $500 fine.
Address:
1025 Second Ave., Dawson, YT, Canada
Directions:
Sourdough Saloon, Downtown Hotel, Dawson.
Phone:
867-993-5346
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Drink with a human toe in it

Dawson City in the Yukon was the ending point of many of the stampeders in the early 1900s, and an interesting town. It looks basically the way it did 100 years ago. However, the biggest attraction is a $5.00 drink served at the Downtown Hotel with a human toe in it, dating to the time of Prohibition, called the Sour Toe Cocktail. Two brothers were traveling back and forth from Dawson City to smuggle rum into Alaska. One night, their toes got frostbite and fell off.

In 1973 a man bought their cabin and found a toe in a masonry jar, which is now in this popular drink. There is apparently a heavy fine if you swallow the toe while drinking the cocktail. I did not drink this, nor did I see it -- I don't think my stomach could have taken it. This town is filled with all sorts of similar characters. There is a music festival around the end of July, definitely worth going to.

[Debbie, 02/10/2003]

The original toe is gone, but the bar maintains a stock of other mummified and preserved human toes. Successful toe drinkers -- the toe is dropped into a beverage of your choice (usually a beer) and it must touch your lips as you drink it -- are awarded certificates and their names are added to the official log book. A small tombstone commemorates three of the toes -- one "lost," and two "swallowed" -- although up to 15 may have vanished over the years. On August 24, 2013, an American tourist deliberately swallowed a toe and immediately paid the $500 fine. He said it was worth it.

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October 20, 2014

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