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Late-breaking telexes from the craft spirit front by Wayne Curtis, author of And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in 10 Cocktails, columnist for Imbibe, and designated drinker for The Atlantic magazine.

  • And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails
    And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails
    by Wayne Curtis

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Bone Luge: Hula Hoop or Rubik’s Cube?


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Everybody’s talking about the bone luge! 

That is, if by “everybody” you mean 16 liquor consumers and 184 liquor bloggers. But it’s thrilling to get in on a trend in the early stages of germination. It might spread far beyond the narrow precincts in which it’s now thriving. Perhaps it will be the rage next year at Chili’s.

Last night, during the lead-up to Tales of the Cocktail's Vancouver road show, Rocky Yeh hosted a bone luging event at Uva Wine Bar in downtown Vancouver, sponsored by Martin Miller Gin and Dry Sack Sherry. A number of the Tales apprentices came out, along with socially maladjusted camp followers like myself. Meat was presented. Meat was eaten. Sherry was consumed.

If the photos above aren't self-evident enough, and you aren't one of the 200 people who fill their evenings with discussions of the finer points of the bone luge, here's some helpful background:

What it is: Think of it as a beer funnel for people who would never be caught dead with a beer funnel.

Procedure: Slice cooked shank bones in half lengthwise. Scoop out and eat the marrow, preferably in a comic-book-caveman kind of way. Hoist bone so empty channel angles down to mouth and serves as a sort of sluice to ingest liquor. Add liquor.

History. This apparently started in Portland, which is also where barrel-aged cocktails, carbonated cocktails, and smoked ice took root. Lesson #1: long, damp winters = way, way too much free time. Lesson #2: Danny Ronen should under no circumstances be allowed in your bar.

Want to know more about the history of the bone luge? Let me introduce you to my friend, Prof. Google. Or you can read about it here, here, here, and here.  

Staying power. How long will the bone luge persist? Let us consider previous fads and see how the bone luge stacks up.  

Pet Rock vs Bone Luge: Both have a pleasing, Flintstonesque quality to them, although yelling “Yabba-dabba-do!” is more entertaining when holding a large bone than a rock. Advantage: bone luge.

Beanie Babies vs. Bone Luge: Beanie Babies made people say “Oh, how cute.” No one refers to a bone luge as cute, no matter how much they’ve been drinking. Cute aids in longevity. Advantage: Beanie Babies.

Hacky Sack vs. Bone Luge: Both are group activities involving people with extreme social anxiety. We should all be happy that they have found one another. Note: Nobody does bone luge at home alone. If you do, seek counseling. Seriously. Advantage: tie.  

Rubik’s Cube vs. Bone Luge: A Rubik’s Cube gives gawky people something to do in lieu of getting laid. A bone luge aids in the ingestion of large amounts of beverage alcohol, which gives gawky people a heightened sense that getting laid is imminent. Advantage: bone luge.

Sea Monkeys vs. Bone Luge: Really? Does this even merit discussion? Advantage: Sea monkeys.

Yo-Yo vs. Bone Luge: When someone says, “Want to see some cool yo-yo tricks?” an awkward silence invariably follows. When someone asks, “Who wants to bone luge?” the response is a far more gratifying group exclamation of “Yo, totally!” Advantage: bone luge.

Hula Hoop vs. Bone Luge:
Engaging a hoola hoop involves gyrating your hips madly in a sexually suggestive fashion. Doing a bone luge involves placing a stiff, 8-inch bone in your mouth, and, um…. never mind. Advantage: hula hoop.

Conclusion: Based on a recently developed proprietary algorithm, I’ve determined that the bone luge will be popular for another 38.2 days. After this, it will be mentioned only in context of the phrase, “Remember when people used to bone luge?”

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Reader Comments (4)

Man that was fast! Thanks for coming!

February 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRocky Yeh

The bone luge already has spin-offs. Is it a trend, or is it a meme?

February 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCamper

I believe this is a treme. Oh, wait. That's an HBO series.

February 12, 2012 | Registered CommenterWayne Curtis

At least it's a booze thing. Otherwise it sounds like what forensic anthropologists do on snow days.

Is there a preferred liquor to this? Do the vestiges of the marrow add any flavor?

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBlue Lou Logan

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