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Alaska Life

The inventor of the Yukon’s infamous ‘Sourtoe’ cocktail died. His toes will be donated to the hotel bar.

  • Author: David Matthews, New York Daily News
  • Updated: November 18, 2019
  • Published November 18, 2019

"Toe Master" Terry Lee displays the object of affection at the Downtown Hotel's Sourdough Saloon, Dawson City home of the infamous Sourtoe Cocktail. The toe is real. So is the $500 fine for swallowing it. (Alan Solomon/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Dick Stevenson, the inventor of the “Sourtoe Cocktail” that delighted and disgusted patrons at a hotel bar in the Yukon for decades, has died. He was 89.

The tradition dates back to 1973 when Stevenson and some friends found a preserved toe in an abandoned cabin and quickly devised the cocktail and its touch-the-toe rule.

In the decades since, more than 10 toes have been donated to the cause.

Stevenson was memorialized for his dedication to the frontier spirit associated with the Yukon Territory.

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

"Thanks for everything Dick, we'll toast one for you tonight."

Stevenson’s daughter Dixie told Toronto’s Globe and Mail newspaper that her father wanted his toes preserved and donated to the Sourtoe Cocktail club, a wish the Downtown Hotel said it will honor.