Against Four Loko: One Hungover Woman’s Harrowing Tale

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.

The facts:
• 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.

Share This Post:
    • michaelpittsbabyfat

      I tried to score some this weekend but was talked out of it by my better half. Now I’m gonna have to get some tonight!

    • STFU

      you are such a tard. didn’t realize reading on and on about how someone can hold their liquor and hold down a job was journalist material. didn’t realize people who hold down jobs were too good for certain alcohols. this website needs better writers.

    • monique


    • ?????

      i don’t understand what the big deal is about four lokos, me and everyone i know have been drinking them regularly and they aren’t some magic potion, it’s just alcohol and caffeine. it’s pretty easy to predict what that will do to you, and if you’re surprised and drink too much congratulations, you’re an idiot.

    • amy

      um, you threw up because you drank 4loko AND beer AND wild turkey. DUH!!!!!!! If you had only had 4loko, you would have been fine (and decently buzzed).

      your fault!!!

    • Jessica

      I’m just here to say that I LOVE MONIQUE’S COMMENT!!!!

    • Kane

      “I was tricked into getting way, way more trashed than I’d realized.”

      Tricked? I don’t think so, Liana. More like someone who can’t do basic math, and STILL does not know their limit at the age of twenty-five.


    • Oy

      Honestly, there must be some collective psychological mindfucking going on here bcs I’ve been drinking the equivalent of a Four Loko for years on my own.
      From the tender age of 21, nay, 19 if you’re counting the illegal years – I’ve been drinking red bull-vodkas, often with side beers and a shot of tequila for good measure somewhere in the middle. It takes me about 1 hour to down 3 vodka red bulls. But enough about me. The point is, if you drink a Four Loko you must know that you’re essentially drinking maaad liquor plus a bunch of red bull. Quit yer cryin’ and go have a Smirnoff Ice with the rest of the sandy vaginas.

      Oh and kudos to you for making sure to tell us you drank Four Loko IRONICALLY. Otherwise I’d have totally thought you were a 20 year old turd with nothing better to do. Next weekend, I think I’ll try killing someone – you know, IRONICALLY…effing hipsters.

    • Heratiki

      Wow.. Really? And they want to plaster death pics all over cigarettes. What about alcohol? Because apparently being a 25yr old Grown Up means you know that going out and drinking all night long is just what the doctor ordered. You brought this on yourself. Now get over it. Alcohol kills more people than just about anything else but because the politicians drink it then it’s gotta stay easy to obtain and cheap… Sigh…

    • Amanda

      I’m pretty sure this is a satirical piece… people just need to calm down.

    • marcyrandom

      I’m surprised you didn’t die from irony poisoning.

    • SarahK

      Dude. 4 Loko is crazed. Also, getting pissed about someone’s funny hangover story is kind of sad.

    • noyo


    • Cody

      Yes, blame it on the caffiene, not the 12 ounces of wild turkey. That alone is what, nearly 5 ounces of alcohol (if 80 proof, not 101).

    • benny

      one of the dumbest things i’ve ever read that tried to not be… i don’t care if they ban four loko or not, i happen to hate the stuff so I’m ok that it may be banned… but your article is high-lariously stupid.

    • Mallory

      you should show the video. you should show the proof because everything you have said in this video has been deemed a lie to me by one simple thing. you think four loko tastes good.
      four loko tastes disgusting. it becomes bearable, but you obviously were too drunk to begin with before you started drinking it to the point where you couldn’t even recognize it’s cat urine like aftertaste.
      most people i know who drank four loko drink one. they are cheap, they get you buzzed, and that’s it. hey guess what? you had a few beers beforehand. you can’t remember exactly how many (bad sign #1), drank wild turkey from a cup (bad sign #2), and then downed a four loko.
      You are an irresponsible binge drinker, and most other irresponsible binge drinkers have jobs, but do things like puke into public trashcans. kudos to you. you are the idiot who gets four loko banned because you are an irresponsible drunk, and need a scapegoat for your bad behavior. have fun in life!

    • GG

      first of all, you must be an idiot because if you’re such a “fully grown and reasonably responsible human” then you would know better than to mix drinks of different liquors in one night. secondly, why would you force yourself to drink this? if you don’t like it, don’t drink it. simple as that. it’s your own fault for looking like a sloppy mess puking in the middle of new york. third, this whole four loko controversy is hysterical. it’s the same as chugging four beers or taking ten shots to the face of hard liquor; regardless, you are going to see the same result. it’s funny how i have been drinking four lokos for the past year (obviously not every night, just once in awhile) and never have I had a bad hangover or puked. but, the other nights where i take staight shots or mix drinks, is when i feel like death. jesus people, drink responsibly and know your limits.

      you know you love me xoxo,
      gossip girl

    • Jennifer

      “• One of the four “Lokos” is taurine, which is an organic acid that is found in BILE”

      Erm, any journalist should know that the taurine found in energy drinks (yes, it’s commonplace in drinks like Red Bull; it’s hardly unique to Four Loko) is not organic, it’s synthetic. It’s not efficient or fiscally productive to extract taurine from animal products for use in energy drinks. Nice try, though.

      Naturally occurring taurine is found in meat and fish, though, so unless you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, save your shock tactics for your dinner fare.

    • Kathy

      I do NOT believe you are 25 and blaming your irresponsible decisions on a drink. Yikes