Dawson, Yukon Ter., Canada: Drink With A Human Toe In It

Since 1973 the bar at the Downtown Hotel has had a supply of mummified toes to spice up its "Sourtoe Cocktail." In 2013 one patron deliberately swallowed the toe and paid a $500 fine. The fine has since increased.

1025 Second Ave., Dawson, YT, Canada
Sourdough Saloon, Downtown Hotel, Dawson.
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Captain Dick Stevenson.

Drink with a Human Toe in It

Captain Dick Stevenson, who invented the "Sourtoe Cocktail" -- a drink with a human toe in it -- has died at age 89. He created the cocktail in 1973 when he discovered a human toe in an abandoned cabin, mummified by Yukon weather, and talked the bartender in Dawson City's Downtown Hotel to drop it into a specialty drink. Since then nearly 100,000 people have knocked back the cocktail, and the bar now maintains a collection of around 10 donated toes to reduce wear and tear.

That number will soon increase, as Captain Dick's daughter Dixie told the CBC that he wanted his toes to be cut off, preserved, and used to make more Sourtoe Cocktails.

[RoadsideAmerica.com Team, 11/18/2019]

Sourtoe shrine.

Drink With A Human Toe In It

I was on the fence about experiencing the Sour Toe cocktail. But it is only served between 9 to 11 PM, and I was there too early....

[NomadikCulture, 06/29/2019]

In Memory of the Sourtoes.

Drink with a Human Toe in It

The BBC reports that Nick Griffiths, a former British Royal Marine, has mailed to the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City his amputated left big toe. It will eventually be served to customers in the hotel bar's infamous "Sourtoe Cocktail" -- a glass of whiskey with a mummified human toe in it. Griffiths lost his toe to frostbite in the Yukon in 2018, and said he planned to travel to Dawson later this year to quench his thirst and reunite with his body part.

The hotel said it would need several weeks to mummify the toe before it would be added to the current roster of toes -- four or five -- that are dropped into the cocktail. Those who drink the "Sourtoe" must touch the toe to their lips. The hotel was excited because its toe supply is down -- depleted by customers who accidentally swallow them -- and Griffiths had donated a big toe, which are especially hard to find.

[RoadsideAmerica.com Team, 06/15/2019]

June 2019: Photo added of memorial outside the bar: "In Memory of the Sourtoes."

Human toe.

Drink with a Human Toe in It

The fine is now $2,500 for swallowing the toe! The captain will read you a proclamation and give you a certificate.

[Tim Martini/Exploring The Obscure, 08/15/2015]
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.

Nearby Offbeat Places

MammothMammoth, Dawson City, YT, Canada - < 1 mi.
Shipwrecks on the Yukon RiverShipwrecks on the Yukon River, West Dawson, YT, Canada - 2 mi.

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