(Reuters) – The theft of a famed cocktail ingredient, a mummified human toe, has spurred the northern Canadian territory of Yukon to launch a tongue-in-cheek campaign for an “insurance” toe, in case the digit gets stolen again.
In Yukon’s Dawson City, drinking a cocktail with a pickled toe is a time-honored tradition that more than 100,000 visitors have undertaken, according to the municipality.
The toe was stolen from a local hotel on June 18, sparking national headlines. It came back by mail four days later along with an apology letter, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
The Travel Yukon government tourism organization asked on Twitter for pictures of toes in the “Toenation Contest,” which will grant the winner a free trip to the remote, sparsely populated territory, a neighbor of Alaska.
“Our toe was returned, but we can always use backups!” Travel Yukon tweeted. “Donate yours for a #Yukon trip. Will your toe make the cut?”
According to Dawson City, the story behind the cocktail is that a local man created the drink after finding a jar with the amputated frost-bitten toe of a rum-runner from the 1920s.
“Be sure to remember the most important rule: ‘You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but your lips have gotta touch the toe,'” according to the city’s website.
RCMP said a male suspect in the theft case called police after officers identified him. The man allegedly left his identification at the hotel, after downing the cocktail, according to the Yukon News. The toe came back with the apology letter, signed “a drunken fool,” according to the newspaper.
“At the time that the package was opened, the toe was believed to be in good condition,” RCMP said. “Charges are not expected to be laid in this matter.”
(Reporting by Ethan Lou in Calgary, Alberta)