“It’s extremely anti-social and against all standards of decency,” declared Anthony Bourdain of the bone luge in a 2012 episode of The Layover, shortly before indulging in the practice, which requires slurping liquor through the hollowed-out marrow bone. Earlier that same year, Gothamist declared the craze “the new drinking fad food writers love to hate.” As if on cue, Jordana Rothman, then the food and drink editor of Time Out New York, beseeched her Twitter followers: “Let’s all stop this bone luge thing before it starts shall we?” The tweet was quickly endorsed by fellow food writer Kat Kinsman.
But the bone luge apparently answers to no one.
Created in 2010 by Portland, Oregon, bartender, Jacob Grier, the close relative of the ice luge never really went away—at least not according to Instagram. In recent months, it has asserted itself with greater force, appearing on menus at bars and restaurants across the country, including Claro in Brooklyn and Tesse in Los Angeles. At the latter, the practice is accompanied by a server banging on the bottle of Madeira with a knife, drawing the attention of the entire dining room to the lucky receiver of the luge. At Bestia, also in Los Angeles, palo cortado sherry is the liquid of choice.
Even Rothman could not resist its siren song for long. A year after her first post decrying the trend, Rothman uploaded an image of herself and fellow detractor Kat Kinsman captioned: “I’ve been vocal abt my disdain for the #boneluge but when @katkinsman & a bottle of Champagne are involved…”
While advocates of the practice might liken the process to an à la minute fat wash, capable of enhancing the umami notes within certain spirits and fortified wines, for Instagram users, the appeal lies somewhere else entirely. A quick scroll through posts tagged #boneluge reveals a startling lack of regard for what, exactly, goes barreling down the luge—Scotch, calvados, gose and even entire cocktails—so long as its captured for the record.
As one user quips, “If you #boneluge and don’t take a ???? of it, did it really happen?”