The spectacle of the bone luge is not a sport for the meek.
This unique confluence of bone and booze involves using a roasted marrowbone as a vessel to funnel fortified wine and spirits, paired with small bites. It’s simple—after the marrow is consumed, the hollow, roasted bone is split lengthwise so patrons can pour various ingredients down the channel and slurp right from the bone—a truly novel way to play with your dinner.
Jacob Grier, lead bartender at Metrovino in Portland, Oregon, is credited with creating the unique trend, which he says, “started as a joke one night, with me and a few friends while at a restaurant called Laurelhurst Market [in Portland, Oregon].” Grier had ordered an appetizer served in a marrowbone and suggested funneling a shot of Tequila through the bone. “The bartender said to me, ‘Yes! You’re doing it!’ ” and soon after, a trend was born.
At Metrovino, Grier serves umami-friendly spirits, such as Tequila, Cynar or Fernet, bone-luge style, as well as fortified wines like Madeira and Port. But his favorite to funnel is oloroso Sherry. “It’s got the right balance of sweetness and dryness, and it’s complemented by the fattiness of the leftover marrow meat,” he says. Patrons can pair their drinks with the marrowbone appetizer—a parsley, red onion and grilled horseradish stuffed bone, served with grilled bread for dipping.
At first, the daring pairing began as “an off-menu thing,” ordered only by a handful of regulars, but it later exploded when Grier launched a Twitter campaign about the trend. “[After that] it was unstoppable,” he says. Now there’s a Tumblr account dedicated to bone luge (http://boneluge.com) and a bone luge Twitter account (@boneluge) to chronicle sightings.
Bars and restaurants across the country have eagerly put their own culinary spin on the daring pairing. According to Grier, though, one crucial element remains the same everywhere. “It’s a fun, silly, slightly inappropriate thing to do in a nice restaurant, and that’s part of the appeal.”
Here are some bone-luge pairings spotted around the country:
Bar 145 (Toledo, Ohio): Roasted marrow in the bone, topped with Parmesan cheese and served with toast points, paired with Red Stag Black Cherry Bourbon.
Bar | Kitchen (Los Angeles): Roasted marrowbone stuffed with parsley salad, Fresno chilies, served with grilled bread and paired with Cynar.
Jbird Cocktails (New York): Roasted marrowbone with sweet and sour cipollini and mushrooms, paired with a complimentary shot of sage-infused Tequila.
Ludivine (Oklahoma City): Roasted marrowbone stuffed with pickled shallot and grain mustard, paired with your choice of Sherry or Bourbon.
Prime Meats (Brooklyn): Roasted marrowbone stuffed with beef, radish, gremolata, roasted garlic, served with toast and paired with oloroso Sherry.