Inventor of the famed 'Sourtoe Cocktail' dies

Image source, Courtesy Downtown Hotel
Image caption,
This photo of Captain Dick Stevenson hangs over the bar

Captain Dick Stevenson, the man behind the famed "Sourtoe Cocktail" served at a hotel bar in Canada's Yukon Territory since the 1970s, has died at 89.

Visitors to the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City are able to order any alcoholic cocktail served with a mummified human toe floating in it.

Nearly 100,000 people from all over the world have tasted it.

The key rule: "You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips have gotta touch the toe".

The tradition first began in 1973 when Mr Stevenson, then a Yukon riverboat captain, and some friends discovered a preserved toe in an abandoned cabin.

They came up with the idea of the Sourtoe Cocktail and the rules around becoming a member of the exclusive club of those who have downed the concoction - notably that one's lips must come in contact with the toe.

Image source, Downtown Hotel
Image caption,
Almost 100,000 people have joined the Sourtoe Cocktail club since 1973

Since its inception, the club has acquired (by donation) over 10 toes.

Dawson City residents paid tribute to Mr Stevenson - a "Yukon legend" - upon news of his passing.

The official Dawson City Twitter account wrote on Thursday: "Captain Dick was a true colourful five-percenter who changed Dawson's brand. His legacy is cemented with the Sourtoe Cocktail, but we'll always remember him for his undying love of Dawson City".

A "colourful five-percenter" is a Yukon term for a particular character who personifies the territory's unique frontier spirit.

The Downtown Hotel remembered Mr Stevenson as "a tremendous ambassador for Dawson City".

"His passion, creativity and energy will be missed and we are grateful for the legacy he left behind," it said in a statement. "Rest in Peace Captain Dick!"

Yukoner Paul Robitaille wrote on Twitter: "He was weird and whacky, but represented a lot of the things that I love about the Yukon and Yukoners. Next Toe's for you, Dick!"

His daughter Dixie Stevenson told broadcaster CBC among her father's wishes was for his toes to be preserved and donated to the Sourtoe Cocktail club.

The hotel plans to commemorate his legacy in co-ordination with his family.

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