The Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Yukon is without the key ingredient—a preserved human toe—for their traditional Sourtoe Cocktail after a customer swiped it when the bartender had her back turned.
The Sourtoe Cocktail is basically just a shot of whiskey with a severed and preserved human toe floating in it. You can drink it slow or drink it fast, but the rule is the toe has to touch your lips.
The thief came into the hotel after “Toe Time" which is between 9 p.m and 11 p.m and convinced the bartender to serve him the cocktail after hours. “One of the new staff served it to him to be nice. And this is how he pays her back. What a low life,” said the hotel's “Toe Captain”, Terry Lee. The suspect is reportedly from Quebec and the police have his name since he left his Sourtoe Cocktail certificate behind. So, not the smartest thief in the world.
Luckily, the hotel has a couple back up toes, but they still want this one returned. According to Geri Colbourne, the manager of the hotel, the toe was donated by a man who had to have it surgically removed and then cured in salt for six months. “This was our new toe, and it was really a good one. We just started using it this weekend,” she said. “The toes, we can only use them for four or five years and then they disintegrate.”
The Sourtoe Cocktail is the most famous drink in Dawson City and has been around for more than 40 years. Thousands of Yukoners and tourists have ordered it and in 2013, one man deliberately swallowed the toe, inspiring a short CBC documentary.
Since the toe is something of a tourist attraction, Lee estimates it to be worth around $80,000 in revenue. “(The toe) is an institution in Dawson,” Lee said. “When someone frigs around with it, there goes our institution.”
Let’s all hope the old, shriveled up human toe is found safe and sound so the Sourtoe Cocktail tradition can live on.