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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Product Review: Four Loko Energy Drink/Alcoholic Beverage

four loko cans

There’s this drink called Four Loko that has been making some waves recently, mostly due to its high caffeine and alcohol content, and the Bro-attracting pheromones it emits that hypnotizes people with backwards hats that can only say the word chug to drink multiple cans of it. The downside of this (or upside, depending on how much you hate “Bro” culture) is that the caffeine in Four Loko shuts off the body’s natural shut-off moment that occurs when drinking lots of alcohol. You know that moment -- it’s when you’ve had one too many and you start to get tired and lose all willingness to take another drink. Four Loko stops that stopping mechanism from stopping you from drinking, which, after a few more Four Lokos, stops your consciousness, and possibly your life. Case in point: nine college students in Washington State were hospitalized for alcohol poisoning, some having a blood alcohol level of 0.35, when 0.30 percent is considered potentially lethal.

Depending on the state you’re buying it in, the alcohol content of a Four Loko can range from 6% ABV to 12.5% ABV. So if the average alcohol content of an average bottle of beer is 4 to 5%, then that means one Four Loko is around 6 beers in one can (if you’re drinking a 12.5% can). Add in the caffeine that apparently strips you of your humanity, leaving you unable to feel things, and one can easily consume enough alcohol to require a stomach pump and enough caffeine to turn your heart in to a blood-spraying fire hose. And on top of all that, each can is as tall as one of those large 99-cent cans of Arizona iced tea. In other words, this shit will get you f*cked up, and fast, and there’s a lot of it.

Being the idiots that we are, we decided to head on over to our local seedy gas station to pick up a couple of cans to see what all the fuss was about. We now hate ourselves and no longer trust ourselves to make wise purchasing decisions.

Can Aesthetics

Four loko can

Every can of Four Loko looks like it wants to star in a gay porn parody of a Rambo film. They’re all dawned in this Technicolor camouflage that no life-loving solider would ever wear in a battlefield, unless they were battling some tall, blue primitives on Pandora.


The can itself is rather large and phallic. If one were to gather a number of Bros together in a room, gave them a case of Four Loko’s, and told them to go to town, it would only be about 10 minutes before one of them started deep-throating a can for laughs. The laughs would then be followed by claims of homosexuality, which will cause a fight and a death or two. Contrast this with Arizona iced tea cans, which will not bring about cries of homosexuality because simply holding a large, dick-like can of pomegranate lemongrass fusion with a picture of a geisha on the front is a big gay subliminal tip off to everyone within a square mile.



It’s like Robitussin mixed with cheap vodka that’s been filtered through a cheese cloth made of woven hatred. Christ, it’s awful. Every time someone took a swig of the stuff, whether it was a the tiniest of sips or the mightiest of gulps, the sound of the slurping liquid was immediately followed by an eye-squeezing cringe that would also include some tongue waggling and some kind of unspellable word – one that was unique to each drinker -- that represented total disgust. In fact, you didn’t even have to be looking at someone to know they took a drink. You could have your back turned to them and the sound of disgust the person would make made you instantly aware they regret ever buying this can of suck.

Every 10 minutes or so one of my drinking buddies would turn to everyone and ask how everyone was feeling. When one of them answered, “full of energy,” I was shocked, because drinking this shit made me depressed, and not in the way that alcohol makes you depressed because it’s a depressant. No; I just felt so universally stupid for having bought something so atrocious just to get a little drunk. It felt so sad and desperate. Only hobos and transient pedophiles drink malt liquor, not adults with jobs and responsibilities. And, on top of that, it’s flavored, or, at least, they attempted to add flavor. I really don’t want to know what Four Loko tastes like when they don’t add in those wild approximations of fruity flavors -- probably battery acid and despair. My can was fruit punch flavored, but after having sampled some of the watermelon flavor I can safely surmise that the words on the can mean nothing: every flavor tastes like fermented assholes and poison, just one can of fermented assholes and poison houses a red liquid and another houses a green liquid.

Needless to say, it’s pretty tough to drink more than a quarter of the can without wanting to throw it away, but if there is one saving grace for Four Loko it’s…

The Effects

drunk guy

…a quarter of a can will get you drunk, or at least very tipsy. Within sips, everyone I was drinking with was well on the way to vomiting red in to a toilet. If the stated purpose of Four Loko is to get you super-drunk super- fast, then this product is smashing success…you just have to muscle through sip after sip of questioning whether or not you want to continue to subject yourself to a the kind of torture that I’m pretty sure the Geneva conventions outlawed years ago.

So it gets you drunk, but it’s also got a hell of a lot of caffeine and guarana and taurine and all of those energy drink buzz words that only stressed-out hardcore PC gamers can spell the names of without having to type them in to Google because Microsoft Word doesn’t recognize them. There is so much of this stuff that my heart actually began to palpitate, which is not a good thing, as one of my drinking buddies that also happens to be a paramedic informed me. My heart rate was well above normal only after having drank half the can – the hearts of those kids in Washington State had to have been beating so fast they could have powered a Tesla coil. I’m convinced that if this Four Loko stuff doesn’t get banned by the government for being stupidity in a can, the power of a human heart being fueled by Four Loko could be the wondrous alternative energy source humanity has been waiting for.

The Verdict


If you want to get drunk there are better alternatives, for instance, you can always make some toilet wine. I’m sure that would be a better drinking experience, and you’ll also feel productive instead of thinking about hiring a level-headed non-idiot to walk around with you that will prevent you from buying products that make you hate them, which seems counter to the purpose of every product that has been and will be.