Human toe wanted for macabre cocktail

10th September, 2013 by Amy Hopkins

A Canadian hotel bar is asking its patrons to consider donating a toe to serve in its staple Sourtoe Cocktail after one of its ghoulish garnishes was swallowed last month.

Sourtoe Cocktail

The Downtown Hotel in Dawson, Canada, is asking for toe donations after a garnish was recently swallowed

The Downtown Hotel in Dawson City has been made famous by its signature serve – a shot of whisky containing a pickled human toe – which drinkers travel from far and wide to sample.

The tradition is not for patrons to consume the toe, but to let it touch their lips as they drink – swallowing the toe incurs a US$500 fine.

After indulging in the Sourtoe Cocktail, patrons join the Sourtoe Cocktail Club – which currently has 500,000 members.

However, after one visitor swallowed the toe with a shot of whisky, happily paying the fine afterwards, the bar has had to rely on a donated backup toe to share across the orders of Sourtoe Cocktails.

Since the loss, the hotel has been running an advertisement on its website for new toes. It reads: “Got frostbite? The Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Yukon, is currently seeking toes for its World Famous Sourtoe Cocktail. Donor will be forever immortalised in the Sourtoe Hall of Fame.”

Legend has it that the first toe used in the Sourtoe Cocktail came from rum-smuggler Louie Liken who suffered frost bite while travelling through the Arctic with his brother, Otto. They then travelled to Dawson City where the toe was quickly put to good use.

A dedicated website – – charts the story of every toe since donated to the hotel.

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