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Pour One Out for the Inventor of the 'Sourtoe'

Capt. Dick Stevenson, who created popular cocktail with a toe floating in it, dies at 89
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2019 8:15 AM CST
In this July 1, 2018, photo, the Sourtoe Cocktail, a shot of whiskey with a dehydrated human toe in the drink, sits on a table at the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Yukon, in Canada.   (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

(Newser) – "I'm pretty sure I'm the only daughter in history that has to, following my dad's will, make sure that his toes are removed and dried." Dixie Stevenson explains why to the CBC: Her late father, Capt. Dick Stevenson, would like his digits used in the bar drink he invented. The New York Daily News reports that the elder Stevenson, who came up with the "Sourtoe Cocktail" that has "delighted and disgusted" customers at the Downtown Hotel in Yukon, Canada, for nearly five decades, has died at the age of 89. The former riverboat captain came up with the idea for his signature libation—an alcohol-based drink that has a mummified human toe floating in it—in 1973, when he and some friends found a preserved toe in an abandoned cabin and inexplicably decided to add it to a boozy beverage.

Stevenson and his crew also came up with the Sourtoe drinking ritual that made its way to the Downtown and has attracted brave imbibers ever since. To join the "club," the person downing the cocktail has to make sure their lips actually touch the floating toe. People have donated replacement toes over the years, including an ex-British commando, and in 2017, one of the toes was even stolen. But just as intense as the drink was the man behind it. His daughter tells the CBC that in his youth, Stevenson hitchhiked across Canada and worked on cattle ranches, in logging and mining camps, and as a fish warden before becoming a boat captain. "Captain Dick was a true colorful five-percenter who changed Dawson's brand," the city tweeted. "Thanks for everything Dick, we'll toest one for you tonight." (Read more strange stuff stories.)

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