Alcohol energy drinks are big news. I, myself, had never heard of them, and probably never would have, if it hadn’t been for the news. One particular alcohol energy drink, Four Loko, was the lead story for a week straight.
My curiosity piqued as I heard more and more about a drink that had the alcohol content of a six pack of beer and the caffeine content of two cups of coffee- all in one can. What the news forgets to tell you is that the can is the size of Montana. I know this because I went out and bought some. But don’t blame me, blame the news.
I chose a Fruit Punch Four Loko and a Blue Raspberry Four Loko for my Four Loko product review. There were other flavors, but fruit punch and blue raspberry sounded the best to me. As I’ve mentioned, it comes in a really big can- 23 ounces to be exact. It also clearly states that it’s 12% alcohol by volume, which is slightly more than most wines.
Right under the Four Loko logo are the words “premium malt beverage with artificial flavor, guarana, taurine, and caffeine”. I mention this because part of the controversy that surrounds Four Loko is the “energy” part of the alcohol energy drink; and guarana, taurine, and caffeine are all well-known additives in energy drinks.
I poured a little bit of Four Loko in a glass and let me tell you, there’s no doubt that it’s an alcoholic drink. It smells like alcohol and it tastes like alcohol. Sorry to sound like everyone’s mom, but don’t tell me any one could possibly think that’s there’s no alcohol in there. It’s stronger in scent and taste than beer, Smirnoff Ice, and some wines that I’ve had. Even if I had never had a drink of alcohol in my life, I would sense that something was “different” about this.
Back to the news-worthy controversy. The claim is: people can’t tell how drunk they’re getting because of the taurine, guarana, and caffeine. Really? This is reminiscent of the lawsuit about hot coffee being hot.
In the midst of this controversy, let’s say everyone over 21 can read or knows someone who can read. Let’s also say most people understand that words have meaning. So the phrase alcohol energy drink would mean a drink that is a combination of an energy drink and alcohol. But maybe I’ve assumed too much with my literacy and basic comprehension theory. Maybe we need to back up, and at a very minimum assume that people have sensory perception and personal accountability. But perhaps that’s too much of an assumption in today’s culture, too. So now we have the basis for a ban on Four Loko.
Back to the review: I like Four Loko. I preferred the blue raspberry to the fruit punch, but I wouldn’t pass up a fruit punch Four Loko if I were offered one. I think of Four Loko as a summer drink, because that’s the season for cold fruity drinks.
Furthermore, I don’t see how Four Loko is basically any different than mixing vodka- an alcohol- and Red Bull- an energy drink. (Vodka and Red Bull is a popular drink, commonly called a DVR for Double Vodka Red Bull.) So if Four Loko and other alcohol energy drinks (Joose, Tilt) become illegal, what would happen to people who mix alcohol and energy drinks? Are they criminals? I exaggerate for the sake of effect, but it’s a valid point.
I give Four Loko a 10 out of 10. It tastes good and it’s inexpensive.
Editor’s Note: If you’re going to drink, drink responsibly. Don’t drink and drive and don’t serve alcohol to minors.