A small victory against the encroaching forces of stupidity: the alcoholic energy drink Four, universally known as Four Loko, has come under enough critical fire that they're now forced to drop the caffeine, guarana and taurine from the formula.
In a statement, the asshats responsible for this beverage actually said with presumably straight faces:
“We have repeatedly contended – and still believe, as do many people throughout the country – that the combination of alcohol and caffeine is safe. If it were unsafe, popular drinks like rum and colas or Irish coffees that have been consumed safely and responsibly for years would face the same scrutiny that our products have recently faced.
I won't bother explaining the obvious difference between going to a bar and ordering a Cuba Libre and going to a 7-Eleven and buying numerous tall cans of a massively stimulant-laden "energy drink"-booze hybrid.
The net result of mixing alcohol and caffeine is that the perceived buzz from each is diminished, even as the nervous-system impairments remain. So what's the point, then, anyway? As I've already noted here regarding the similar travesty known as the Jagerbomb: "if you're in a bar spending your hard-earned bucks on booze, why on Earth would you want to choose a drink with which the effects of intoxication are masked?! Save your money and just don't drink, if that's the case!"
And if that's not bad enough, it has been well documented that idiots are actually drinking greater quantities of this kind of stuff, in order to achieve the proper state of drunkenness that they would have already had in the first place had they not put any junk in it like caffeine and guarana and taurine. (The stuff has been described as tasting like "a combination of gummy bears and malt liquor" - even the act of typing that makes me queasy.)
The aforementioned should be more than enough reason not to ingest this swill, but guess what, it gets worse: these sort of drinks are well-known for their reputation of being instant "blackout in a can". The stimulants in the drink keep the frat-boys from being able to properly determine when they've had too many (which is an assessment they historically haven't been very good at anyhow) and they end up blacking out and nearly dying. How fun! I can see them waking up in the hospital saying "dude, we are sooooo hardcore".
Statistically, though, far more women than men are experiencing blackouts and life-threatening overdoses on drinks like this, leading more than one observer to suggest that the drinks are being utilized for their potential as a sort of legal "date rape" drug.
If you must get drunk, drink booze. If you want to get wired, drink coffee. Period. Good riddance to Four Loko; may all similar products soon share the same fate.
- - JSH