Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Don't Think We Are Four Loko Material

Scandalamitous beverage events:  I had never heard of this Four Loko drink until three days ago and here it has already been banned by an entire state.  Saturday, we went up to the mountain house, and our in-the-know friend Sloan produced a can.  It was tall and purple, and it featured the words, "Contains Alcohol" as a prominent design element.  I was like, "Wah?" and he was all, "We picked this up on the way, it's been banned," and I was like, "Okay, I'll try it."

Banned, baby! Like Lady Chatterley's Lover!

The gist is that it's a caffeinated energy drink that's also 12% alcohol, and it costs $2-$3 for a 24 oz. can.  College campuses are freaking out about this and several teenagers have ended up in the hospital.  I guess the theory is that the caffeine keeps you so alert that you don't realize how screwed up you're getting, so you stay up and drink instead of falling asleep the way nature intended.  And it's cheap, so cheap it's like, loko.

Night fell at the mountain house, and Sloan popped open the huge can, poured a little into four glasses, and carried them to the table.  We picked them up and eyed them like we were at a wine tasting.  I was already thinking that maybe we weren't cut out for Four Loko, with our little bistro glasses.

We took a swig.

Someone started moaning.  Oh my God it started like an injury and then got worse.  Everyone began talking at once.

"It tastes just like Dimetapp from when I was a kid!"
"It's really bad, right?"
"I'm not young enough to drink this."
"I'm not poor enough."

Upon sipping, the initial impression is merely cough syrupy, then in the middle things start to get strident, and then the finish rolls around, and it's like a grape boot stamping on a human face forever.

And oh, the terrible sweetness.  I had to fight several hummingbirds to finish my ounce of liquid.  I think only Sloan and I actually drank our tiny portions of the stuff. Matt poured his out and made a real drink. And Becky (another Becky!) took two sips and got jittery.  I think that could have been the Red  #40, though, even more than the caffeine.

Matt summed up what we were all feeling when he said, "I just have no desire to eat or drink anything ironically anymore."  Yes.  I remembered that there is a name for that phenomenon.  The great Douglas Coupland calls it "nutritional slumming":
[The eating of] food whose enjoyment stems not from flavor but from a complex mixture of class connotations, nostalgia signals, and packaging semiotics: Katie and I bought this tub of Multi-Whip instead of real whip cream because we thought petroleum distillate whip topping seemed like the sort of food that air force wives stationed in Pensacola back in the early sixties would feed their husbands to celebrate a career promotion. (page 120) 
I had forgotten that there was a Pensacola reference in Generation X. Awesome.

It's possible that our crowd was doing it wrong, because this guy drank a bunch of Four Loko and liked it and had a hilarious evening.  We just played spades and then got in the hot tub and then went to bed.  It seemed like we were having a pretty great time, if not actually Loko in the strict sense.


Casey said...

Wow, I hadn't heard of that stuff either. I am so old. I remember the days of drinking all sorts of crazy shit (OMG, Irish Carbomb and Liquid Suicide) but these days I have to plan my drinking events a month in advance and rarely get past two beers. OLD.

Michele said...

I try not to drink weird stuff anymore. Give me a nice dry vodka martini and I'm a happy woman.

Keely said...

I haven't heard of that either. But how is it any different than drinking vodka and redbull?

I love the Matt quote. I keep trying, occasionally, to consume things ironically, and I'm always disappointed.

Keely said...

I should clarify that I *don't* drink vodka and RedBull. But I used to serve it as a bartender all the time, back in the day. So the 'alcohol and uppers' combo has been around for a while, is my point.

Juliet Grossman said...

I have heard one can has as much caffeine as a six pack of Diet Coke and as much alcohol as a bottle of wine, and a 135# woman can die from drinking two cans. Good thing it tastes like cough syrup.

Jenni said...

I'm with Matt. If a food/beverage uses a phonetic spelling in it's name, I'm out.

H. Christian said...

I have that passage from "Generation X" committed to memory--and I bust it out in self defense whenever I've bought something awful at Safeway and my foodier-than-thou partner is giving me stink eye. BTW, I just googled Douglas Coupland, and whoa, he's a gray-bearded bear daddy now. I thought he, of all people, would stay young forever.

nova said...

GenX is such a great book!

Patrick said...

Hahaha! I've heard bad stuff about that drink. Kids are into wacky stuff these days. One of my youth was busted for selling "spice" a legal substance that isn't tobacco or marijuana but is supposed to get a kid "high"...sheesh. So maybe some ironic smoking could be in order for yall? I love Matt's comment about not eating ironically anymore, but must raise an issue with Coupland's quote: that would be NAVY pilots' wives in Pensacola. Niceville or Fort Walton is for the Air Force-- well, most of the time. Love ya!

Kate said...

sick! it sounds revolting. i am definitely old school when it comes to my alcohol! after all, I watch and LOVE Mad Men!

Beth said...

Thanks, SubMat, for keeping me up to date on what the kidz is up to. Cray-zee!

A Day That is Dessert said...

haha! I heard about this stuff yesterday on NPR.

Amy said...

You always did know how to party!

I'd never heard of this stuff before! Matt's line says it all.

Rebekah said...

We made the blog! We're famous now! I agree with Matt too, but like the other guy on one of the links indicated, if it's banned that's instant motivation for trying. I consider it a form of professional research for my line of work. We had a great time with or without loko, of course.