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In Dawson City, by the Yukon River, up north in Canada, there is a bar where you can order a shot of whiskey garnished with a real, dehydrated human toe. The ritual known as the “Sourtoe Cocktail” started more than forty years ago and has become almost like a rite of passage for visitors to Dawson City.

The story goes that back in the 1920s, a rum-runner named Louie Linken and his brother Otto ran into an awful blizzard, and Louie got his big toe frozen solid. In order to prevent gangrene, Otto chopped off his brother’s frostbitten toe. The two then preserved the amputated toe in a jar of alcohol as a memento. Fifty years later, a Yukon local named Captain Dick Stevenson found the jar containing the toe while cleaning a cabin. He brought the pickled toe downtown, where somehow it became the essential ingredient of the celebrated drink.

sourtoe-cocktail-2

Photo credit: The Guardian

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