Human toe cocktail is more than ‘disgusting’ — it’s a health risk, says doc
Talk about toe-tal recoil.
To drink this classic Canadian cocktail, you’ll need a strong stomach — and immune system.
Since 1973, the Yukon’s Downtown Hotel has been serving up the legendary Sourtoe, a whiskey shot garnished with a dehydrated human toe.
The strange elixir went viral this week when the bar received three fresh new toes from former Royal Marine Nick Griffiths, who had them amputated after getting frostbite while competing in the Yukon Arctic ultra-marathon.
He spotted a want ad posted by the hotel, seeking toes, and duly provided his, the Guardian reports.
But the strange concoction could make daredevil drinkers sick to their stomach in more than mind alone, according to one doctor.
“This is the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen in my life, and I see a lot of disgusting stuff,” Dr. Rabia De Latour, gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Health, tells The Post.
While the cannibalistic aspect of the Sourtoe is the most unnerving to De Latour, it’s not the reason she’d expect people to fall ill after drinking it.
“What’s concerning to me even more is that they’re reusing it, so people are having it touch their mouths,” she says.
Indeed, the bar’s rule for earning a certificate of Sourtoe consumption is, “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips have gotta touch the toe.”
Short of a formal test, there’s no way to know what kind of diseases are fermenting on the Sourtoe’s little piggies.
“Until you test one of these things in a lab, you really don’t know what’s growing on it,” De Latour says.
It’s possible, at least, that the booze has a sterilizing effect.
“Whiskey in particular is really good at killing bacteria — it’s more acidic than other alcohols.”
The fact that the toe is mummified also helps stave off neurodegenerative brain diseases, called prions, like mad cow, which can prove fatal.
“Most bacteria and viruses will die if something has been dehydrated and mummified like this,” she says.
In 2017, a thief stole a toe from the hotel — only to later return it. It wasn’t the first time a toe was taken: In 2013, one patron threw back his drink, toe included, and paid up the $500 fine for swallowing or stealing it.
After that, the hotel increased the fine to $2,500.
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