2012: Year of the Bone Luge

In last year’s miscellaneous year-end post, I predicted that 2012 would be the Year of the Bone Luge. And boy, was it ever. The strange, fun, silly, messy drinking ritual expanded beyond its Portland roots to travel the world this year, culminating with a Bone Luge on national TV from none other than Anthony Bourdain. Said Bourdain of the luge, “I am aware of this practice by the way. It is extremely antisocial and against all standards of decency, so we should probably do it.”

Not everyone embraced the luge so happily. As Gothamist described it, Bone Luge is “the new drinking fad food lovers love to hate.” A look back at the year in luging:

The Bad

In their year end round up of drinking, two of the four writers at Food Republic name the Bone Luge the “worst trend of 2012.

“Food writers of America: Let’s all stop this bone luge thing before it starts shall we? Show of hands?” tweeted food and drink writer Jordana Rothman upon learning of the trend, joined in by CNN Eatocracy editor Kat Kinsman.

Anna Brones was skeptical, though I think she may come around: “When someone offers you some bone marrow and tequila, feel good about saying no.”

“It was one of those cocktail microtrends that seemed somehow dated and irritating within days after I first learned about it — even while it sounded kind of alluring,” concedes Cocktails & Cologne.

Sam Sifton, national editor at The New York Times, would totally do it: “This is a violation. I mean, to be clear, I would totally do it. But it’s still a violation.”

The Good

Tasting Table was ahead of the curve: “Odd? Most definitely. Delicious? Absolutely. […] This is one downward spiral we heartily sanction.”

Andre Darlington knows what’s up: “… bone luging has been fueled by the need to bring humor to a craft cocktail movement has been in danger of collapsing under its own weight. It was time to bring fun back, and the bone luge has offered the perfect blend of foodiness and silliness.” He even went on to host a Bone Luge Brunch!

“In my limited experience, ‘the bone luge’ lends an epic quality to an otherwise ordinary afternoon,” says Atlantic writer Conor Friedersdorf.

Could Bone Luge actually be good for you? Sort of, writes Elizabeth Nolan Brown: “The bone luge may remain a novelty, but it sounds like there are some good reasons to consider adding more bone marrow or bone broth to your diet, if you’re into that sort of thing.”

Hanna Neuschwander of Portland Monthly is on board: “The marrow didn’t overwhelm the burnt caramel flavor of the sherry, and together, they were surprisingly delicious.”

The Oklahoman brings a bone marrow virgin to Ludivine, where they endorse the pairing: “When you’re done, you can take a ride on the bone luge, which consists of pouring a half-ounce of rye whiskey and a half-ounce of sherry down the empty canal and into your mouth. Rushing down the canal, the spirits pick up salt and residue from the roasted bones for a satisfying finish to the experience.”

Wayne Curtis compares the Bone Luge to a few other fads and gives the advantage, mostly, to Bone Luge.

The Bone Luge must be a refined practice if Wine Enthusiast is willing to cover it.

The Bone Luge and Tebowing meet at Euclid Hall in Denver, Colorado.

Angus Winchester brings the Bone Luge to Moscow and St. Petersburg: “…it’s a Primal thing… hunter and gather meets drinker.”

The Drink Nation visits Portland and gives the luge its seal of approval. (Also: Where to luge in Portland.)

Look ma, I’m on TV!

The Pescetarian

Crab leg luge with late harvest riesling.

Halibut spine luge at Riffle in Portland.

The Vegetarian

Cucumber Luge: “Vegetarians want to drink booze out of random vessels, too.”

Tofu luges were spotted in Vancouver, Canada and in the home of spirits writer Camper English.

The Future

Bone Luge seems in no danger of fading away. Embrace the bone. Take the luge to a restaurant near you.


Madison food writer Lindsay Christians gives Bone Luge the nod in her Best of 2012 list: “Madison’s brush with the bone luge was brief, but highly entertaining. At a brunch held at L’Etoile, we got fancied up to scoop the marrow ‘meat butter’ out of a couple of bones, then poured sherry down the chute. It was neither attractive, clean nor polite, but my fellow bone lugers will back me up when I insist: it tasted great.”


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