My plan for the afternoon was simple. Grab a couple of beers from the liquor store with my friend Dea, bring them home, and chill for the rest of the evening. While in the store, as I was busy weighing our possible beer options, my friend made her way to the fridges near the rear of the shop and promptly pulled out two large ice cold cans of something that looked like a psychedelic Arizona.
“What flavor do you want?” she asked.
“What is it?”
“Four Loko”, she said with that all too familiar half grin of hers. I was a tad bit reluctant to pass on beer for this silly looking drink (and I didn’t) but my friend seemed quite convinced that I should try one anyway. “Trust me”, she said, “Besides, you’ll only need one.” Still not convinced, I grabbed four cans of Four Loko and a 6 pack of beer just in case.
Back at home, we sat on the porch, cracked open a Four Loko each and began to ease into our planned evening of uneventful relaxation. Dea was right. The drink was quite delicious. It reminded me of a Sparks or Joose energy drink but with a better taste. Four Loko was sweet and refreshing so I kept sipping…and sipping…and guzzling…and opened another. That was the last thing I remember.
Four Loko is a 12% alcoholic energy drink. Named for its ‘four’ main ingredients, Caffeine, Taurine, Guarana, and Absinthe, this stimulating malt cocktail is the creation of three college students (imagine that) and their small Chicago-based business, Phusion Projects, LLC, also known as Drink Four Brewing Company. Four Loko comes in eight flavors: fruit punch, watermelon, lemonade, cranberry lemonade, blue raspberry, kiwi strawberry, grape and orange. The cans we purchased were 23.5 fl oz. at $2.50 a can (you can’t beat that), but I have seen them sold as four packs in 16 fl oz. cans for about $5-6. Phusion Projects, LLC also makes two other similar drinks, Four MaXed and Earthquake, a “high gravity Lager”.
I woke up at home around noon the next morning with my hands stamped in ink from someone’s club, wrists full of those neon arm bands, and printed Google map directions to some obscure bar in Toronto balled up in my hand. Four Loko is a tasty, yet powerful, energy drink with a boost that makes Sparks look like Similac. It may taste like juice, but the concentrated amounts of alcohol and caffeine are not to be taken lightly. Currently, the US Food and Drug Administration is battling it out with the Drink Four Brewing Company over the company’s misleading marketing scheme, and questioning the overall safety and legality of these alcoholic energy drinks. While the beverage may not be on shelves for very long, Four Loko is presently sold in selected liquor stores and 7-Elevens. Drink responsibly. Take cabs.
Ever had a Four Loko? Comment below and tell me all about your night.