DAWSON CITY, Canada — Nick Griffiths is understandably sad to have lost the big toe of his left foot to frostbite in an extreme winter marathon in the Yukon last year. But it’s not goodbye forever.
Now recovering at home in Bolton, England, the ex-British commando has sent his amputated toe to the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Yukon, famous for its Sourtoe Cocktail served with a preserved human toe.
“We couldn’t be happier to receive a new toe. They are very hard to come by these days and this generous ‘toe-nation’ will help ensure the tradition continues,” general manager Adam Gerle says in a statement.
There’s something in it for Griffiths: Per the BBC, the hotel will pay for the 47-year-old to return to the Yukon sometime this summer to sip from a cocktail and have his own toe touch his lips.
And that is the rule, at least if one hopes to earn a certificate from the hotel.
Griffiths already has had one of some 86,000 cocktails given out since 1973, after learning about the tradition from a nurse at a Whitehorse hospital, per the BBC and Canadian Press. But “we look forward to welcoming him to Dawson City, where he can claim the rare distinction of [drinking a shot with] his own toe,” Gerle says.
As toes have been swallowed and stolen, the hotel keeps a supply of four or five, all capable of making drinkers vomit or gag.
But “nothing is more gross” than the big toe, adds Gerle, who has now received Griffiths’ toe preserved in medical-grade alcohol.
Before it can be added to a shot of Yukon Jack whisky, or any other alcoholic concoction, it must first be dried on rock salt, a process that will take about six weeks. (Read more toes stories.)