By: Cheryl Keen
Perhaps no single subject has been so talked about so often on campus these past few weeks than the impending Four Loko ban. For those of you lucky enough and anti-social enough to not know what Four Loko is, please allow me to enlighten you.
According to the Four Loko website, their drinks contain “roughly the same alcohol content as wine and some craft beers, and far less alcohol by volume than hard liquor…” as well as “…roughly the same amount of caffeine as a tall Starbucks coffee” in one can. They go on to add that their “cans feature seven different warnings about the alcohol content and the need for an ID for purchase […] ABV warnings are in a font as large as the federal government will allow.”
Well that doesn’t sound so bad, right? According to some doctors, however, the combination of caffeine with alcohol can alter how it affects the human body, namely that the caffeine covers up that “I’m too drunk” feeling and so the body is tempted to drink more.
Thanks to the drink’s rise in popularity on college campuses, and its habit of sending students to the hospital, the beverage is facing recalls. Already the state of Michigan has banned the colorful cans from shelves, and Pennsylvania is not far behind. Our fine commonwealth has already requested that the drink be pulled from stores, but thus far the state has not made its sale illegal.
So what does this mean for Four Loko addicts? There are several alternatives to the sickly sweet beverage, the most similar being Joose, which is pretty much the exact same thing. Joose contains slightly less alcohol than Four Loko (Loko contains up to 12.5% ABV depending on the state, and Joose comes in either 9.9% or 12% ABV variants), which is perhaps why it is not currently under fire. That, however, is about the only difference in the two products. Both are foul tasting, fruity concoctions that will undoubtedly provide a “blackout in a can” if consumed too eagerly.
For a more traditional blend of caffeine and alcohol, there is always the good ol’ Rum and Coke. Coke does not contain as big of a hit of caffeine as Four Lokos, of course, but the drinks are similar nonetheless. Closer still is the Vodka and Red Bull, which won’t pack that punch of fruity flavor that Four Loko does, but which will have the same effects blackout-wise.
Of course, if you absolutely cannot stand to be without the drink, there is one final option. Here’s what you do:
Suck the acid out of a battery.
I guarantee that the taste will be spot on, as well at that sickly stomach feeling you get after a can or two of “liquid cocaine.” This is the only option for people who truly enjoy Four Lokos.
A final word of wisdom, though? The whole reason Four Lokos are banned anywhere is because people, in this case college students like you and me, have no self control. The drink itself, while disgusting and probably not terribly healthy for the average human, is not heroin. It’s not a nuclear bomb. If used in moderation, as is its intent, the beverage provides a jolt of energy and an instant buzz, and there’s nothing too horrible about that. The problem comes in when people lose control and abuse their privilege to drink.