Have we met? U.K. man reunited with amputated toe in Yukon bar
Nick Griffiths lost 3 toes to frostbite after a race in Yukon. Now one is a cocktail ingredient in Dawson City
He travelled a long way, for a drink — and not a particularly appetizing one.
Nick Griffiths, a U.K. man who lost three toes to frostbite last year in Yukon, returned to the territory on Monday to gulp back a "Sourtoe Cocktail" at a Dawson City bar.
Bobbing in the glass was one of his own dried, amputated digits.
"I know it sounds quite revolting, but actually I did it and it's perfectly fine. I suppose it's just like having a black ice cube in there, really," he said.
The tradition of slurping down a shot of whiskey spiked with a severed digit at Dawson's Downtown Hotel began in the 1970s when a local man, Captain Dick Stevenson, discovered an amputated toe while cleaning out a cabin and used it to found the Sourtoe Cocktail Club.
A drinker must let the toe touch their lips to join the club. There are now more than 100,000 members.
Griffiths promised his toes to the hotel after he suffered severe frostbite in the 2018 Yukon Arctic Ultra, a long distance, backcountry race through the Yukon wilderness in midwinter. Several competitors that year were forced out of the race by frostbite — one man later lost both his feet.
Griffiths's toes were removed after he returned to the U.K. He then dropped two of them in the mail to Dawson, as he wanted to see them "recycled and reused."
"They arrived on my desk, regular mail," said Adam Gerle, general manager at the Downtown Hotel. "I don't know how legal that was, but they arrived.
"We've been saving the big toe for him to do."
Congratulations to Former British Marine Nick Griffiths for doing the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/SourtoeCocktail?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#SourtoeCocktail</a> with his own Big Toe! Nick lost his toes to frostbite in the Yukon Arctic Ultra and traveled all the way from Manchester, England for the big event. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DawsonCity?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DawsonCity</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Yukon?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Yukon</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Badass?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Badass</a> <a href="https://t.co/uwy7rpyTwd">pic.twitter.com/uwy7rpyTwd</a>—@SourtoeCocktail
Big toe a 'beauty'
The Downtown Hotel usually has a few gnarled old toes in rotation, but is always on the lookout for others to add to the mix. A tongue-in-cheek newspaper ad asks for donations.
Griffiths's gifted toes are "kind of a big deal," Gerle said.
"We've been looking for a big toe for a few years, so everyone's pretty excited about it," Gerle said, ahead of Griffiths's visit on Monday.
The bar's "Toe Master," Terry Lee, said it takes about six weeks stored in rock salt to properly dry an amputated digit.
"Nick's big toe is a BEAUTY," Lee wrote in a statement.
The bar held a special ceremony on Monday night to introduce Griffiths's big toe to bar patrons, and reunite the man from Bolton, England, with his erstwhile appendage.
When it came time to take the shot, Griffiths didn't hesitate. He figures it may have actually been a little easier for him than for others
"You know it's your toe, you know who it's been," he said.
With files from Kaila Jefferd-Moore and Elyn Jones