The Cocktail That Uses A Dehydrated Human Toe As An Ingredient

The human toe is an oftentimes overlooked part of the human anatomy. Sure, we have a children's rhyme that compares these appendages to little piggies and new moms marvel at their baby's ten perfect toes. And while folks line up for pedicures when sandal season arrives, for the most part, these humble digits find themselves ignored. It's a shame too, as your toes are really quite fascinating. Medical science enables surgeons to replace lost thumbs with big toes (via The Atlantic); some use these digits in toe-wrestling, an actual sport with a World Championship and all (per CBC); and artists who are born without arms can paint masterpieces using their toes (via Smithsonian Magazine). Also, dismembered toes make a noteworthy addition to an ordinary cocktail. Insert jaw-drop. 

Did someone just say "dismembered toe" and "cocktail" in the same sentence? Yes, they did. It turns out that festooning one's alcoholic beverages with citrus fruits, maraschino cherries, and tiny umbrellas is no longer enough to satisfy some adventurous drinkers. No, for these folk, nothing beats peering into the bottom of their tumblers and finding a stray human body part. They even pay good money for the honor. 

If you are one of these non-traditional imbibers or you'd simply like to see someone else brush a dead toe against their lips, you can actually make it happen. And when you're done, you can indulge us with the real reason people eat disgusting things.

You must let the mummified toe touch your lips

Way up north in Canada's Yukon territory sits Dawson City's Downtown Hotel. It's home to the Sourdough Saloon, the spot that has been doling out dead toes in a glass since 1973 (via Dawson City). The city's website notes that in order to become an official member of the SourToe Cocktail Club, you must buy the shot, take the SourToe Oath, watch as a dismembered toe is plopped into it, and chug-a-lug. The toe must touch your lips to count. 

When The Planet D visited the premises, they discovered that the window for having a SourToe Cocktail is quite small as the "Toe Captain" only serves it from 9 pm to 11 pm. This has done nothing to hamper participation though. As of September of 2021, over 96,000 brave souls have joined the SourToe Cocktail Club (per Twitter). Yes, just like all the scary foods people actually want to eat, it turns out they also want to kiss a discolored toe. But how did this bizarre tradition begin? 

The story goes that a pair of brothers got caught in a snowstorm, which led to one of them getting a frostbitten toe. The other brother decided to chop it off to prevent gangrene and they placed the severed digit in a jar of alcohol to preserve it. Fifty years later, Captain Dick Stevenson found the toe while cleaning out a cabin (via CBC). And the idea for this ghastly garnish was born.

The drink's founder willed his toes to the cause

Since then, they have switched out the toes several times, but before a toe can be used it goes through a rigorous process. The Travel explains that it's dehydrated in rock salt, which results in a blackened mummified toe. This, of course, is so much more appetizing (insert eye roll). The Travel goes on to state that more recent toe donations have come from someone with a corn that couldn't be removed and another that lost one of his piggies in a lawnmower mishap. Upon his death in 2019, the drink's founder, Captain Dick Stevenson, "willed his own toes" to the cause (via CTV News).  

And, by the sounds of it, they are always open for more donations. One toe was lost when New Orleans writer, Joshua Clark, did more than just let the toe touch his lips. He swallowed it whole — on purpose (per CBC). As a result, the fine for stealing (or swallowing) a toe was raised from $500 to $2,500 (via The Travel). Who can blame them? Human toes are a valuable commodity. 

Now that you know how to join this exclusive and more than just a little strange club, remember, while at the Sourdough Saloon, you can't send back your drink if you find a toe in it.