Four Loko, your days are numbered: Here in New York City, the demonically energetic malt liquor beverage has just one month left to peer menacingly from bodega shelves before it’s evicted forever. And I can’t say I’m upset by this news, because I was wronged by the drink. Betrayed by one of those camo-colored tallboys. That’s right, Four Loko, with all its promise of fun-filled and enlightened party going, screwed me over me in a truly horrific manner that I will recount as a warning to you all.
Cut to: Me at 2 a.m., on a street corner of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, hunched over a trash can and vomiting a four-hour-old plate of barbacoa tacos (with everything) into a trash can. Sure, a few beers entered my system that night, and there was a red plastic cup filled to the brim with WIld Turkey, but I blame the Four Loko. Because I am a fully grown and reasonably responsible human who has been around the block once or twice inebriating-substance-wise — and that shit messed me up in unprecedented ways.
So why did I drink the Four Loko in the first place? Because it is a hilarious and ironic thing to do, of course! Because I am a cultural tastemaker who needs to be up on all the latest trends so that I can mock them mercilessly. Problem is, I didn’t mock Four Loko at all. Because I actually enjoyed the evil stuff. The devil potion was in abundance at a party I attended a few Saturdays ago. In fact, it was sort of the theme of the party — like, “let’s all drink Four Loko while standing around talking about how we’re drinking Four Lokoooo!” My friends and I even recorded a VYou video tribute to the stuff, which I will not link to because it is humiliating.
Question: If you drink something called “quadruple-crazy” you know what you’re in for, right? WRONG! Personally, I hate sweet things — I can’t put sugar in my coffee and don’t even like mixed drinks (hence the straight bourbon). So I fully expected to be revolted by my first sip of FL — to force it down and move sheepishly on with my night (like, three steps to left, where that bottle of Turkey beckoned from the counter.) But — to my absolute surprise– the festering elixir was delicious. It was like this fizzy liquid candy with a mean tartness to balance out any excess sugar. So I just kept on drinking and drinking, injecting my heart with 8 billion mg of energy like some pre-teen junkie headed for a featured role on Intervention.
• Four Loko has the alcohol content of four beers
• And the caffeine of three cups of coffee
• One of the four “Lokos” is taurine, which is an organic acid that is found in BILE
Four Loko has been called “liquid cocaine,” and while that’s an exaggeration in many ways, not least of which is the sheer ability for the substance to, like, kill you, there’s some logic in the sentiment. Drinking all that caffeine along with your alcohol makes you feel much more sober than you actually are — which just leads to you getting way drunker later. It’s the absolute worst of both worlds! Another way the merciless malt isn’t dissimilar to drugs of an illegal classification is that it wages civil war against your internal organs. It speeds up your heart, messes with your liver and burns the lining of your stomach — outright attacking you until you’re hunched over that trash can praying you’d never heard the words “ironic cultural tastemaker.”
Bottom line is, I’m a 25-year-old grown-up who manages to hold down a job, and although I spend more time in bars than pleases my free time and bank account, my days of passing out on trains and publicly humiliating myself are (probably definitely) behind me. But that night I was tricked into getting way, way more trashed than I’d realized, and that is simply not cool. Like, not even ironically.
Good riddance, Four Loko. See you in hell.