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Former British marine drinks ‘Sourtoe’ cocktail using own mummified toe

After losing three toes during an extreme 300-mile long winter marathon, Nick Griffiths donated them to the Yukon Hotel.

Nick Griffiths, left, with ‘Toe Captain’ Terry Lee at the Downtown Hotel (Downtown Hotel)
Nick Griffiths, left, with ‘Toe Captain’ Terry Lee at the Downtown Hotel (Downtown Hotel)

By Megan Baynes, PA

A former British Marine has become the first person to drink a cocktail using his own mummified toe, after losing it to frostbite during a race in Yukon.

After losing three toes during an extreme 300-mile long winter marathon, Nick Griffiths from Bolton returned to Yukon to take the first drink containing his own amuptated digit.

While in hospital, a nurse showed him a video of the Sourtoe Cocktail challenge — a tradition from the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City, Yukon.

Dating back to 1973, the tradition involves drinking a shot of whiskey containing a mummified human toe.

The 47 year old decided to donate his toes to the hotel, after learning they were experiencing a shortage because people had either accidentally swallowed or stolen them.

It took six weeks to be mummified with rock salt before it was ready to be used.

Last night, Mr Griffiths became the first person to drink a cocktail containing the toe, at a launch party held at the hotel.

He told the PA news agency: “It wasn’t as bad as you would think — it would more like a lump of ice than anything else.

“The toe looked exactly as it was the last time I had seen it.

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“The tradition was first started with a toe that had been amputated due to frostbite, and they said for them to get another big toe, that was amputated due to frostbite was the motherload. It was the full circle.”

He said the hotel often take donations of amputated toes, and impose a 2,500 US dollars fine (£2,000) to anyone who accidentally swallows one.

In order to qualify for the Sourtoe Cocktail Club, a drinker must let the toe touch their lips.

Mr Griffiths said: “I think my daughters get a little fed up with hearing the story so much. They go, ‘Oh dad is going on about his toe again’, but the whole family thinks it is quite funny.

“It is definitely something I will always remember.”

PA

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