Would you drink a cocktail with a severed human toe in it?
MANCHESTER has a vibrant cocktail scene with bartenders and mixologists forever looking to push the boundaries to pull the punters in. We’ve seen jet black cocktails with charcoal, drinks containing ants and even a blue cheese martini (no joke).
But one Canadian bar has gone one step further, by offering a drink served with a real severed human toe - and one man from Bolton has just donated three of his own.
The Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Yukon has become renowned for its $5 ‘Sourtoe' cocktail - a glass of any strong booze with a human toe submerged in it.
The rule goes that 'you can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips must touch that gnarly toe'. Fortunately, the toes are not meant to be swallowed, only ‘borrowed’, so they can be used to garnish further drinks.
Nick Griffiths, a 46-year-old former marine commander from Bolton, heard about the grim 'cocktoel' while recovering from frostbite in Canada's Whitehorse hospital.
Griffiths had been admitted to the hospital after he was forced to abandon an attempt to complete the 300-mile, eight-day Yukon Arctic Ultra-race - one of the world's toughest sled-dog races.
Griffiths eventually needed three toes amputating, and having heard about the bar from a nurse in the hospital, decided to keep the toes to donate to the bar.
When Nick contacted the Downtown Hotel to inform them of his offer, they reportedly jumped at the chance. (Nick probably didn't jump, or at least, not very high).
The weird tradition is said to have started in the 1920s when a man called Louie Linken lost a toe during a trip to Alaska...
Nick's toes are currently in a jar filled with medical-grade alcohol, which he is keeping at home in Bolton, until he figures out a way to get them safely over to Dawson City.
“If you donate your toe, you are forever immortalised on their Wall of Fame,” said Nick. “They’ve had ten toes over the years and they have a bit on the wall about how the toe came to be there and who donated it."
Griffiths added that he'd love to visit one day with his wife and children to try the cocktail.
Donated toes are given the special treatment by Downtown’s ‘Toe Master’, Terry Lee, 70. “When the toes arrive, we put them in medical fluid. Then we drain that and chop off any fat or veins that might be hanging out,” he said.
The toes are then essentially mummified; preserved in rock salt for six weeks in order to kill any pathogens. The toes are rotated each week and removed from the salt each time they're used."
The story of Nick's generous donation has so far appeared in the New York Post, The Times and VICE.
The weird tradition is said to have started in the 1920s when a man called Louie Linken lost a toe during a trip from the Yukon to Alaska. The toe was left in a jar of alcohol in a cabin and was later discovered in 1973 by Captain Dick Stevenson, who created the Sourtoe Cocktail Club.