The most Canadian sequence of events happened this past weekend when some legend known as Josh From New Orleans took a shot of Sourtoe Whiskey and swallowed the mummified digit that is supplied in the drink.
I am sure you have many questions, and luckily thanks to a little help from The Star we have the answers.
1. Wait a minute, why was there a mummified toe at this bar?
Apparently it’s some sort of Western Canadian ritual to drink these gnarly concoctions. This one bar in The Yukon called The Downtown Hotel proudly serves these drinks as a sort of house favorite. And don’t forget this is Canada where River Barge pilots named Dick Stevenson exist.
The local tradition of downing drinks containing a severed digit, gnarled and leathery like a stale pepperoni stick, hearkens back to the early 1970s, when a river barge pilot named Captain Dick Stevenson founded the “Sourtoe Cocktail Club.”
2. Oh, right where is Yukon again?
Do you know where Alaska is? Yeah? Well, Yukon is right next to Alaska, but just a little bit closer to America.
3. Where do they get all of these toes from?
They only have one toe, that is why this is such a big deal. To prevent the toe from being swallowed they’ve instituted a $500 dollar penalty to the brave soul who inahles it..
4. And Josh From New Orleans swallowed the toe?
Yes. He swallowed the toe, put down $500 dollars on the bar, and then left the bar without saying another word. This left the bartender and the patrons absolutely stunned.
“This guy popped it in his mouth . . . takes $500 out of his pocket and slams it on the table and starts walking away.
“I said, ‘Where’s the toe?’ and he said, ‘I swallowed it’ . . . I was shocked.”
Josh Martin — no relation to “Josh from New Orleans” — has also tasted the wrinkly flesh of the sourtoe. He became the 36,796th member of the “sourtoe club” while visiting Dawson City in June 2010.
“I still carry the official membership card in my wallet and when I returned home from the Yukon I replaced my university diploma on my wall with my Sourtoe Cocktail certificate,” Martin told the Star.
“The whisky was the only thing I could taste but the toe was like a leathery piece of jerky — with a toenail attached to it,” said Martin.
5. Now what are they gonna do that the toe is gone?
They are currently trying to find a new toe, which is not as easy as it sounds.
Now that their toe has been swallowed, Lee and his fellow captains are on the hunt for a new one. Most in the past have been donated through someone’s will, he said. One was also given to the bar after it was cut off by a lawn mower.
“We’re still looking for a toe — or toes,” said Lee.
And when they get one, he added, the deterrent fine will be jacked up to $2,500.
The legend of Josh From New Orleans will only continue to grow. Upwards of 52,000 people had already joined the Sourtoe Cocktail Club, but none had ever joined the club in such Canadian fashion.