"as many as a dozen people a night," and your understanding of humanity is a little bit shaken.
There is only one place in the entire world where you can order a Sourtoe Cocktail: the Sourdough Saloon in Dawson City. High in the Canadian Arctic they serve a drink that includes as garnish a mummified toe. And in order to count, the toe has to touch your lips as you drink the cocktail.
According to "saloon officials" (who one imagines can hardly be counted upon to serve as a disinterested party) it's all perfectly sanitary. The toes (there are two) live in pickled brine most of the time. When they are deployed in an alcoholic beverage, the alcohol helps sterilize them. Even after some yahoo slurps it, they say, there is no reason to be alarmed. Well, I mean, there are plenty of reasons to be alarmed. You just don't need to worry about catching anything from the dead toe.
The original drink was an entire beer glass full of champagne, but the bar staff has relented over the years. These days, the cocktail is comprised of a shot of any drink you choose. Plus the toe, of course. Most people choose a shot of hard alcohol, but the drink doesn't even have to be alcoholic.
The original toe was found in a cabin which was purchased by Captain Dick Stevenson in 1973. The cabin's previous owner was a trapper who lost a toe to frostbite. For whatever reason, the trapper decided to put the toe in a jar and save it, instead of disposing of it.
If you are thinking to yourself, "Who would ever know if I had really been to Dawson City and drunk a shot that had a withered disembodied toe in it?" think again. Those who consume the cocktail earn an official certificate.
Why try the Sourtoe? The main reason is encoded in the name itself. It's a play on the word "Sourdough" which is an old Alaskan and northern Canadian term for a grizzled expert, someone who has lived Up North for decades, if not their entire life. A Sourdough is gruff, competent, and wise in the ways of the Bush. And what better way to prove your mettle than to drink a legendary beverage with a toe mummy in it?