How many times have I held someone’s hair or pushed away a way too affectionate hug because of you? Yes you, Four Loko — the vile combination of 12% malt liquor, 260mg of caffeine, and a pile of other crap that is an equivalent of shotgunning three beers and chasing with a venti black extra sugar. Well, the national nightmare is over. It technically ended in November 2010 with the FDA forcing the removal of caffeine. after 23 people suffered alcohol poisoning at the same party in New Jersey. And now, to satisfy the bloodlust of local lawmakers, they’ve vowed to never caffeinate the disgusting fruit malt beverage again.
Fuckin’ Four Lokos, how do they work?
Caffeine is an adenosine inhibitor. Adenosine suppresses central nervous system activity. By inhibiting it, caffeine sets off a cascade of serotonin, dopamine, and others to create its stimulant effect. Alcohol (ethanol) fucks with the GABA system, enhancing its function and suppressing the central nervous system activity, thereby calming us. Oh hey, one enhances and the other reduces, that cancels out right? NO. They’re working on two separate systems in different ways that happen to mask each other.
Our livers are magic, and they metabolize caffeine and alcohol differently. Caffeine behaves “normally” with a half-life that steadily comes down. Alcohol doesn’t. Our livers hit a limit, we can only process so much, so our levels don’t fall as fast, and you’re drinking more. Guess which clears first. Guess who’s now feeling the full effects of alcohol poisoning.
Every energy drink advertises its taurine content, its use of guarana berries and some shit about vitamins. Taurine levels are too low to have any effect negative or otherwise. Guarana berries are stronger than coffee beans, usually used to mask how much caffeine they actually have in the damn things. Vitamin B6, B12, and niacin are also pointless. Unless you’re a refugee, locked up in a gulag, or a Southerner from 1900s, you probably don’t have a B vitamin deficiency. Any extra B vitamins you’ll piss out. Glucuronolactone, carnitine, various herbs — they’re usually at levels below what is relevant or active. You’re not going to need any of that shit.
But what if you miss going full retard on Four Loko?
You could chug a Rockstar or Monster and shove a key into 3 beers. But what if you really miss the sickening “fruit” flavors? Jolly Rancher, of purple drank ingredient fame, makes a ton of flavors.
Buy yourself a 40 of malt liquor, a small bottle of cheap vodka, 2 12oz cans of Sprite, a bag of Jolly Ranchers, and a box of caffeine pills. If Duane Reade ever gets a liquor license, I doubt I’ll shop anywhere else.
1. Take a swig of vodka to kill the remaining brain cells that say this is a bad idea.
2. Dump your chosen Jolly Rancher flavor into the vodka. Let the candies mostly dissolve overnight.
3. You’ll need 2 large containers capable of holding at least 750ml or 25oz. Open the box of caffeine pills and smash one up as fine as you can get it on a piece of parchment paper. Dump one pill’s worth of powder into each cup.
4. Now smash another pill, remove half of the powder, and then split it into quarters. Pour a quarter of a pill’s worth into each cup. Now we have around the level of caffeine Four Loko had.
5. Pour 6oz each of malt liquor and vodka into each glass and let the tablets dissolve fully. Now we’re about the level of alcohol of Four Loko, and it’s absolutely disgusting just like Four Loko. You have enough for two people, but you’re gonna drink both by yourself.
6. Lie on your side; call 911; try not to die.
Corrected: Originally, it was misreported that Four Loko is ceasing production all together.