Tale of the Toe

March 24, 2022

The blizzard came out of nowhere. Louie and Otto Linken knew their dog team would need help if they were going to make it through this. The Linken brothers were Rum Runners. And they feared that if they stopped to ride out the storm, the law would catch up with them. Louie told Otto to remain on the sled, he was going to the front of his dogs to help them navigate.

But as he stepped off he put his foot through a patch of ice and directly into the bitterly cold water. Louie knew they had to press on, he would just have to deal with his soaked toes later. After 30 minutes of leading the dog through the driving snow, Louie knew he had a problem. His big toe was frozen solid. To prevent gangrene, his faithful brother Otto grabbed their woodcutter’s ax and amputated Louie’s big toe. In true Canadien fashion, to commemorate this disastrous night, they put the toe in a jar of alcohol.

Some 50 years later, an explorer found an abandoned cabin in the Canadian woods and a toe in a jar. A legend was born. It’s known as the Sourtoe Cocktail Club, and it’s 100% real. If you ever find yourself in Dawson City, Yukon, it’s about 11 hours by car northeast of Anchorage, you too can be part of the club. Make your way to the Sourdough Saloon and ask for Captain River Rat. Purchase a shot of Yukon Jack. Pledge the Sourtoe Oath. Watch as a real dehydrated toe is dropped in your drink, and take a sip. The Oath is as follows, “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow. But your lips must touch that gnarly toe”. Just don’t swallow it, that’s a $2,500 fine.