The Yukon’s Sourtoe is as quintessentially Canadian as hockey, Tim Horton’s and needlessly apologizing for everything. A shot of alcohol (usually whiskey, though the tradition reportedly began with a tumbler full of Champagne) containing a severed, mummified human toe, the Sourtoe shot is an essential rite of passage for any Dawson City visitor, available only at the Downtown Hotel’s Sourdough Saloon. But now, those seeking the thrill of feeling a frostbitten toenail touch their lips will have to wait—because the toe has been reportedly stolen.
According to the CBC, the hotel is “furious” about the theft. “Toes are very hard to come by,” said Terry Lee, the hotel’s very real “Toe Captain.”
This is not the first time the hotel has lost one of its toes. In August 2013, one man gulped the whole thing down—toe and all—and paid the $500 fee (which has since skyrocketed up to $2,500, in case you were thinking about grabbing a quick snack in Dawson City). But this is different. This is a crime—an insult to the sacred ritual.
“Stunts like this adversely affect the whole community, not just the Downtown Hotel,” Lee said. “We fortunately have a couple of backup toes, but we really need this one back.” According to a news release from the hotel, this toe was a new toe. “It was a really good one,” said hotel manager Geri Coulbourne. “We just started using it this weekend.”
The hotel plans on fining and charging the thief once he is found, which shouldn’t take long as the man in question left behind his Sourtoe certificate emblazoned with his name.