A British man donated his frozen big toe to a Yukon bar so he can drink it in a cocktail


(CNN) — When Adam Gerle went to work one morning this week, he was thrilled to finally find a parcel with a frozen big toe in it.

Gerle is the general manger of the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Canada, which is world-renowned for an extremely gross traditional drink – the Sourtoe Cocktails.

Since 1973, visitors of the Yukon bars have been challenged to drink a shot of whiskey with a mummified human toe floating inside. To join the club – and get a certificate from the bar – the drinkers’ lips must touch the toe. Over 86,000 Sourtoe Cocktails have been served since.

The latest big toe to reach the hotel belonged to Nick Griffiths, a former British Marine who lost it during a winter ultra marathon in 2018, according to a statement by Downtown Hotel.

Griffiths, 47, dropped out of the 2018 Yukon Arctic Ultra after he got frostbite on his left foot due to temperatures dropping to minus 40.

While in hospital, the Briton offered to donate the toes to the hotel “in the hopes of returning to the Yukon to do the Sourtoe Cocktail with his own toe,” the statement says.

The toe and the handwritten note by Nick Griffiths

The toe and the handwritten note by Nick Griffiths

Courtesy Downtown Hotel

After going back to the UK to complete his recovery, Griffiths only recently managed to send it over via Royal Mail along with a handwritten note.

“We had been in touch since the beginning,” Gerle told CNN. “The nurse at the local hospital mentioned he should donate the toes to the Sourtoe Cocktail and he was delighted by the idea.

“We knew he mailed them but it took a long time and we were worried,” he continued. “We were both excited… and grossed out when the toe arrived.”

Gerle explained that toes “are very hard to come by these days” and the donation will help ensure the tradition continues. Obviously, the frozen toes are re-used.

According to a local saying, “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips have gotta touch the toe.”

The hotel has a public appeal on its web page for people to donate their frostbitten toes for the drink. “Donor will be forever immortalized in the Sourtoe Hall of Fame,” reads the appeal.

“We have had toes swallowed and stolen before,” Gerle said.

Griffiths’ toe was stored in medical grade alcohol after the amputation, which will help the mummification process, Terry Lee, the hotel’s “Toe Master” said in a statement.

“It will take approximately 6 weeks to mummify the Toe on rock salt before we can serve it,” he said. “We have been waiting for a new big toe for a while so this is exciting news indeed! The big toes are the most disgusting and popular with the customers.”

The hotel plans to bring Griffiths up later this summer “so he can do the toe,” Gerle said.

CNN has reached out to Griffiths for comment.

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