A Four Loko Taste-Test

As I mentioned yesterday, Thursday night is TV night, and at some point during yet another miserable episode of The Office that gave me more fodder for my Pam is Actually Not a Good Person argument, my hostess remembered that she had three cans of Four Loko in the fridge.

My friend has been on a mission to collect all eight flavors of the caffeinated malt beverage ever since it was announced that several states were banning it and all alcoholic drinks with caffeine as an added ingredient. Unlike some, we weren’t stocking up on it — we just wanted to taste the drink-turned-meme.

We had Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch, and Cranberry Lemonade (I was particularly excited about the last one), and poured them into tasting cups.

First I sniffed, then I swirled, then I sipped…and suddenly wished I had somewhere to spit. It had the bouquet of Robitussin, was at once achingly sweet, almost painfully bubbly, and coated one’s mouth with a bitter aftertaste. But we soldiered on, and much like New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, quickly started feeling strange. Not drunk, not wired…just off.

Each of the flavors was equally disgusting*, though we found that pouring the contents of a Pixy Stix (leftover from Halloween) into the glass made things much more tolerable. I think I managed to finish about a third of a can. My friend decided returning the open cans to the fridge couldn’t possibly make them taste any worse.

And I decided that if there’s any reason for Four Loko to be banned, it’s because it’s shockingly disgusting.

My friend Michael Arceneaux argues that the real reason the drink is being banned (while people can still chug as many Red Bull and vodkas or Irish Coffees as they’d like) is one of culture. The associations with the drink are certainly part of the problem. But of course it’s silly to think that binge drinkers won’t find a way to drink too much and extend their drinking for as long as possible if Four Loko doesn’t exist in its current form.

*Note: an informal Twitter poll suggested that we should have tried Watermelon, which one friend called the “flagship” flavor.

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