Saturday, March 5, 2011

New and Unimproved Four Loko (Red Dye Flavor)

First off, wanted to let my readers here know that I'm writing a new blog over at on literature-- similar attitude, slightly different style, but if you dig me here then check it out.

Welp, Four Loko is back in stores now that they've taken the caffeine out, so college kids are gonna have to go back to just crushing Adderal into vodka for their buzz and I have an excuse to review it again. This time I picked the "fruit punch"--or, as the other side of the label warns, FD&C Red #40-- and thought I'd see if it was just as bad as it was before the retool and remarketing.
"We're thinkin' 'Cyclone Beta!'"
By the way, Karim--who's a chemist-- did some research and found out that the red dye in this drink is made from petroleum. Which is an improvement on its original basis: coal tar. Also, there is a correlation between drinking it and being stupid (that's not a joke, that's actually on its wikipedia page). It's also banned in most of Scandinavia. And look, people say a lot of things about how Scandinavia's a nanny state and don't like freedom, but you can get away with a lot of shit in Scandinavia.
Stabbed a dude 26 times in the skull. Spent 12 years in prison. Less evil than FD&C Red #40.

It's actually not red--it's pink. It's very much the color of a watermelon Jolly Rancher--the completely artificial, not-appearing-in-nature-fucking-anywhere pink. There's honestly not a lot I can say here beyond that. I'm a believer that booze should really only be the color of grains, wood, or natural plant matter that goes into making it, and the fact that this candy-colored (the candy-colored fail they call the Loko) speaks volumes against it. Loko just shouldn't be, and if you look at it (which, to be honest, requires drinking it out of a glass, which I can't see any reason to do) it instantly becomes apparent that its only goal is to get you drunk while treating you like a child.
I will do anything for a Gary Glitter joke.
God, how did people never figure out what the hell Gary Glitter was? The man looked like a mascot for a sodomy-themed polo team.

The aroma's strange here. It smells like children's fruit soda and watermelon candy, but it also smells like really skunky, stale malt liquor. It doesn't smell like the two mixed together, but somehow simultaneously both, separately. It's a weird Schrodinger thing where it is both candy-juice and hobo-drank and somehow completely both at the same time. which is, honestly, a pretty accurate prediction of what the drink is. It's multiple things at once, and they're all terrible in unique ways that reveal the sins of all those who consume it.
Have I told you about the Alien God Hivemind today?
Don't take a really big gulp. Don't, for the love of God, swish it around like it was fancy wine. Don't hold it in your mouth, and don't let it get warm.

There is a deep and ancient evil in the core of Four Loko, and all of these things make it bubble to the surface and then claw into your body. The candy sweetness disappears really quickly and there's this spoiled, poisonous bitter flavor like biting into a block of soap. And then it makes you feel ill, not from the bitterness, but from that cold and isolated feeling a wormwood high give you. William Vollmann said that the best thing about absinthe is that it severs the cord that connects the soul to the body and lets you observe yourself in a slow chilled void while still being present. That's here slightly, only you're just disappointed in yourself and you just wanna run away from a body that is increasingly full of Four Loko.
"I asked if he knew how to knife fight and he said, 'have you ever met a gypsy who did not?'"
The lack of caffeine does hurt it here--I remember the last can as being bad, but more fun. The caffeine counteracts that tired sick slowness--which isn't a bad feeling brought about by something tasty, but is godawful here--and you feel lethargic and a little fevery and anaesthetic.

We made a Four Loko cocktail. We named it the Chernobyl (after the Ukrainian word for wormwood), used sweet vermouth (which used to have wormwood in it, hence vermut), and our old strange Croatian friend Pelinkovac, the cinammon-y wormwood liqueur. If I had absinthe I'd throw it in there too, but let's see how this works with a little lemon, brown sugar and Peychaud's Bitters.

Well, it looks like Cherry Coke mixed with spit, but it doesn't taste bad. You should never ever make a Four Loko cocktail, but this actually worked. The Pelinkovac's spices added some depth to counterbalance the candy flavor, the vermouth helped to nullify the skunky beer flavor, and the lemon and brown sugar counterbalance the wormwood. Still though, I'd rather taste the ingredients in their own drink, without the Loko around, but if you need to drink Four Loko (like need, like Hans Gruber is holding your family hostage unless you drink it and you're too much of a pussy to stop him), this'll choke it back.
"I'm going to count to Four Loko. There will not be a Five Loko."
For real wormoody flavor we would have used Malort. But seriously, I don't want to drink Malort ever again.

We then decided to make a Loko Sidecar--substituting the awful for the Cointreau--because we're scholars goddamnit. This, was, well...we renamed it the creeping horror. The brandy isn't sweet enough to negate the bitterness and the lemon doesn't counteract the candy flavor. The whole thing tastes really bitter and not refreshing in the least. I'm just puckered and sick-feeling now. It just makes everything worse, and marks one of the only times I've just disgustedly thrown the remnants of a glass into the sink.Thanks Brandy. Thanks Four Loko.

Welp, they should have left caffeine in. The buzz here is just awful-- slow and unfeeling and the sense of wet steam. What Tom Waits described as "ragwater, bitters, and the ruin." Don't drink Four Loko. I mean, if you're at a party and crazy and a goddam hipster, knock yourself the fuck out, but don't drink it if you wanna have a good quiet evening.


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