Drinking the "sourtoe cocktail" at Yukon reception ... farewell to sunny Edmonton
EDMONTON - I gave in.
I've been out west at the annual Canadian Tourism Commission's GoMedia session. Last night, in honour of next year's event being in Whitehorse, the Yukon tourism folks put on a big wingding with dancing can-can girls, a dynamite band, some Yukon beer (I really liked the India Pale Ale) and ... the sourtoe cocktail.
For three years, I’ve resisted putting the words “Sour Toe Cocktail” into the paper. For those who don’t know the story, the Downtown Hotel up in Dawson City that serves up a cocktail that features a preserved human toe. It’s quite vile, actually; quite long and brown and you can still see the toenail. Gross doesn’t begin to describe it.
They have a keeper of the toe, if you like, named Captain Dick, and he places the weathered digit into a glass and fills it the liquor of your choice and you down it. Not only do you down it, but to get a certificate of accomplishment you have to let the gross, wrinkled, mottled, scuzzy toe touch your mouth.
“You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow," the saying goes, "but the lips have gotta touch the toe.”
They dehydrate the toes and preserve them in salt. Kinda like having a human margarita, if you will.
Some folks even wrap their lips around the thing but I wasn’t ready to go that far. I did, however, line up and sign my name and had someone put the toe into a glass of Crown Royal for me, then gulped it down and let the toe rest against my lips, albeit briefly.
I could’ve used vodka or rum, but I like to think using Crown Royal makes it a more distinctly Canadian experience and the flavour of the toe balances nicely with the caramel notes of the Crown Royal. I guess you also could say it becomes a true Whiskey Sour, too.
Not only did Yukon put on a great show, they had a fabulous band with the best name I’ve heard in years: Sasquatch Prom Date. They mostly did rockabilly and Johnny Cash but they also tossed in some other stuff, and it was a fabulous time, even if I didn’t join Robin Esrock in donning a traditional Yukon dancing girl outfit and performing the can-can on the dance floor.
The CTC’s Go Media showcase is in late May next year in the Yukon, and I’m hoping to make it. It looks like one of the real iconic and beautiful places in Canada.
I'm told it's the size of California but with only 35,000 people. Compared to, what, 38 million?
FAREWELL TO EDMONTON
It was a lovely day, indeed, out here in Edmonton. Actually, EVERY day the last week was phenomenal, with clear skies and warm temperatures. The trees are changing colour nicely, albeit with more deep yellows than orange or bright red.
Still, being down on the river on a warm day in September is a real treat. And I come away with a much greater appreciation for the city than I had before. And that's the point of travel, isn't it? That and meeting some great folks, such as friendly bus drivers and the poet laureate of Winston Churchill Square, Mr. Kevan Lyons.
Lyons is a guy who sits at the square nearly every day and writes poetry as a way to help him combat his gambling addicition. Look for more from him and more on Edmonton in general in a coming story in Star Travel.
Look for more on my blog tomorrow about interesting tidbits I learned about Canada this week....