No, your eyes haven’t deceived you. The ‘toe’ in the Sourtoe Cocktail refers to the human variety, served as a garnish in a drink of your choice. It’s all part of a drinking game of sorts, separating the true Yukoners from the rest.
According to The Week, the Sourdough Saloon in Dawson City, Canada, has been serving drinks with the Sourtoe upon request. The severed toes are “pickled for months in medical alcohol and then packed in dry salts,” before they are used as a drink accompaniment.
The tradition began not that long ago. In 1973, a riverboat captain by the name of Dick “River Rat” Stevenson discovered a severed big toe in a pickle jar and fashioned a drinking game around it on one drunken night. The rules are simple: “Take a beer glass full of champagne, drop in the toe, tip the glass back; and the toe must touch the lips.” Back then, only eight people took part in the strangeness.
The original toe has since been “accidentally” swallowed by a patron. Yikes. The bar didn’t have to break tradition though, as there has been a steady supply of replacement toes. For $5, anyone can test their mettle with the Sourtoe. About 100,000 people have tried it.
[via The Week]