On Saturday night, an American customer paid a hefty fine for stealing an unusual item from a Canadian bar.
According to witnesses, a man walked into Dawson City’s Downtown Hotel in Canada’s Yukon Territory and ordered the “Sourtoe cocktail” – a 40-year-old tradition where a drink is served with a pickled human toe inside. Usually drinkers are supposed to touch the toe with their lips while downing the drink, but this patron swallowed the severed human toe instead, the National Post reports.
“I said ‘Where’s the toe?’ and he says ‘I swallowed it,’ and then immediately headed over to the bar and started bragging,” Terry Lee, the official “toe captain,” said.
The anonymous patron slammed $500 on the table – the hotel’s fine for toe-swallowing. While this isn’t the first time someone downed the preserved toe, Lee said it this was the only instance where it was deliberate, CBC reports.
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“It’s bragging rights, is what he wants,” Lee said, adding the bar has raised the toe-swallowing fine to $2,500.
More than eight toes -- which were dehydrated and preserved with salt -- have gone missing, stolen or destroyed in the past. New replacements have been found each time.
At first the original rules for the “Sourtoe cocktail” tradition stated that the toe must be placed in a beer glass full of champagne and touch the patron’s lips while they consume the drink. Now, the patron can choose any drink he or she likes, including non-alcoholic ones. The drink’s price has remained the same: an affordable $5.
"You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but the lips have gotta touch the toe," the bar’s official website states.
An estimated 60,000 people have successfully joined the “Sourtoe Cocktail Club,” according to the National Post. The mysterious American was believed to hail from New Orleans. Bar staff knew him as “Josh.”
In the past, replacement toes have been donated from lawnmower accidents, post-mortem removal or amputations for diabetes and inoperable corns. The largest donation came from a miner who lost five toes when his leg was run over by a bulldozer.
Since the incident, the bar has only one toe left, and it won’t last long, Lee told the Canadian Press.
“Right now the toe we are using, we are going to be using it continuously, and it’s going to deteriorate. We’re going to have to get rid of that toe once it starts falling apart,” he said.