Mistakes I’ve Made: Drinking Four Loko

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

You’ve probably heard about alcoholic energy drink Four Loko, possibly from this very site. Maybe you’ve even thought about trying Four Loko yourself. Fortunately for you, I’ve bitten that bullet so you don’t have to. Subjecting myself to a 23.5-ounce can of caffeinated liquid that’s 12% alcohol and runs less than $3, then chronicling the whole thing for your amusement and edification, is just the kind of foolishness I’m up for.

While deciding which flavor to drink for my act of stupidity, I found that Four Loko’s lineup is cobbled together from real fruits, real drinks, and just made-up shit. The eight Four Loko “flavors” are Blue Raspberry, Cranberry Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Lemonade, Lemon Lime, Orange Blend, Uva (some sort of Brazilian grape), and Watermelon. After much contemplation, I came to the conclusion that they all sound dreadful.

In the end, I bought a can each of Blue Raspberry and Watermelon because that’s what the liquor store had. While ringing up the purchase, the store owner glanced at the cans of Four Loko before stating “that’s the closest I come to selling real poison”. I couldn’t make that up.

So on a recent Friday night, I stayed in to down a can of this bad decision juice as rapidly as possible. Responsible moron that I am, I had my friend Lena present as photographer/emergency caregiver, and her photos accompany this post.

At 10 PM, I took the can of Blue Raspberry Four Loko from my fridge. Despite being overcome with a deep sense of foreboding, I pressed on in the dual names of science and comedy. For the rest of the night, I went mano-a-cano with this:

Four Loko Blue Raspberry
Sure, it looks fun.

I stared down the can for a full two minutes before I finally built up the courage to open it. After popping the top, I sniffed its contents by wafting it in as one does with potentially dangerous chemicals. The odor was not completely repellant.

The taste was another matter entirely. When the first drop of Four Loko touched my tongue, I immediately regretted my decision to run this little test. Blue Raspberry definitely does not taste like raspberry. Hell, it doesn’t even taste like anything blue, with the possible exception of 2000 Flushes. Put simply, Four Loko Blue Raspberry is abhorrent and I can only imagine that these cans are filled by a long assembly line of Smurfs vomiting.

Here’s my reaction:

Sample. Choke. Disbelief.
I assure you, this was not acting.

After sipping at it for a few minutes, I started to wonder if Four Loko is intentionally made to be so awful that it can’t be chugged. I tried it as a shot, and while this was a passable way to choke it down, the can was much too voluminous for it to be practical. I also attempted to drink it without getting it on my tongue. This was not workable either.

I had no choice but to drudge my way through, rallying for big gulps every so often. Halfway through the can, I was still trying to determine what exactly this beverage tastes like, when it hit me – it tastes like regret. As far as drunkenness goes, whether it was the caffeine counteracting the alcohol or something else entirely, I felt nothing but self-loathing.

Finally, at 10:45 and after around 42 minutes of drinking, I finished the can of vile blue liquid. While drinking, my stomach was unhappy and my taste buds cried out for the sweet release of death. But in under three-quarters of an hour, I had downed the alcohol equivalent of four to six standard drinks.

The Agony of Victory
The agony of victory.

While ringing up the Four Loko, the liquor store owner had also indicated that “the kids” often mix it with vodka and other hard liquors. This seems like a huge mistake, not least of all due to the obvious stupidity of mixing one extremely alcoholic drink with another. An even bigger problem is that adding any liquid to this is just going to spread out the unpleasantness. A greater volume will be left to drink, while the flavor won’t be depleted at all. Kids, be smart about your drinking. As smart as you can be while drinking Four Loko, anyway.

Ultimately, while the price of Four Loko is low, the cost to your sense of self-worth will be high. Further, both your mouth and your stomach will rebel against you, before admitting defeat and crawling into a dimly-lit corner to quietly whimper until you stop bathing them with this sewage. I’ve made this mistake, so you don’t have to.


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