This essay describes the fundamental aspects of the bone luge and comments on some of the finer, more philosophical points.
The setup: The bone must first be prepped for the luge. Ideally, one identifies a restaurant, orders the bone marrow, consumes it normally, and then informs the bartender that a bone luge will now commence. One must consume the marrow of the luge bone luge and one can reuse a luge as often as one likes that same night, but ideally only one other person — preferably one’s spouse, life partner, long-term bromance, or very attractive stranger — will share the bone. There are limits, after all, to the disenfectant properties of alcohol. The bone luge is not about spreading bacteria. The bone luge is instead about increasing the aggregate happiness in the world.
While luges can be done standing or sitting, in its perfect form one will employ both hands with pinkies extended, as befits a venue likely to have marrow on the menu.
Luge contents will of course be alcoholic and not something one would often shoot on its own. A shot of say, fernet, is perfectly fine on its own and involving a luge is counterproductive. Some of the best drinks to pour down a bone luge are precisely the things one would savor and never shoot. Madeira and sherry are among highly recommended. The first known documented bone luge was of a reposado tequila, which complemented the savoriness of the marrow. The luge is for top shelf aged spirits, ideally ones your father or grandmother would drink. Bone luging cocktails is largely unexplored territory.
Why are aged, fortified wines the right choice for the bone luge? First, higher proofs are not always appropriate as the aim is not drunkenness. Conversely, single fermentation without distillation only gets us to 18% or so. This means that fortified, aged wine is an ideal choice for a luge. Barrel aging is beneficial as the wood plays nicely with the beef flavor. Also important is some acidity to balance the richness of the marrow. The luge should ideally have a modicum of residual marrow to accent the shot of fortified wine.
The bone luge is not cheap. With cost of marrow, shot, tax, and tip this is a $20-$40 experience. Accordingly, one needs to take the bone luge seriously. The cost also reveals a bit about the philosophy of the luge. You must start with a restaurant where conspicuous consumption would not be frowned upon. Some indications are white tablecloths and more than one bottle over $500 on their wine list, or the presence of businesspeople from out of town or with expense accounts. The bone luge then can be seen as at once inappropriate for a fine establishment and also very much a modern interpretation of conspicuous consumption. It is both active participation in and acknowledgment of excess and prosperity in our society. The luge is anti-establishment and mocked excess.
That deeper understanding of the prosperity of our society is not the only moral aspect to the luge. When one shares a luge experience with friends, one is making the world a better place. One who luges from a bone appreciates finer things in life and encourages understanding, which is the opposite of lack of understanding—the genesis of most evil. No two nations whose citizens regularly enjoy bone luges together have ever gone to war.
The birth narrative of the bone luge is shrouded in myth. It is generally accepted that the luge was originally conceived and performed in Portland, Oregon, a city widely regarded for its unorthodox use of animals’ odd bits. Commentators who are knowledgable in such matters suggest that the polularization of the bone luge marks the beginning of an era of cultural prominence for the city in much the same way Pine e-mail client was a harbinger of the great things to come out of 90’s Seattle, or the Pickleback of contemporary Brooklyn. Proto-bone luge behavior may date back to the day when homo sapiens first employed the bone as tool; its contempoary roots are believed to reach back to a hazy night of excess and revelry at Portland restaurant Laurelhurst Market, evetually finding a new home as a favorite off-the-menu item at nearby Metrovino. Ambassadors of the luge have since spread it north Washington, south to California, and east to Colorado and New York. We historians and advocates of the luge eagerly await signs of its spread to ever more exotic locales.