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Four Loko: A Drink too Awesome to Last

May 13, 2011 By Matt Meltzer in  | 10 Comments


Four Loko. If you partied with it back when its original formula was legal, you know. If you didn’t, I’m sure you’ve heard stories. Never has an alcoholic beverage been so aptly named. Because after one can of the Bad Decision Juice normally intelligent, sane people become downright, well, Loko.


The concept seems simple enough: Take the three main ingredients of most energy drinks, add it to Housing Project-Quality malt liquor, and charge a dirt cheap price to ensure as much insanity as possible. The Four Lokos, Caffeine+Taurine+Ginseng+12.5% Malt Beverage,  equal The Best Night You’ve Ever Had Drinking Vodka and Doing Blow at a VIP Table. Except it cost about 1/100th the price.  Basically, it got you drunk and amped at the same time. So all the stupid shit you think about doing when you’re wasted you actually have the energy to do.


The ensuing hangover can only be compared to that bottom-falling-out-of-your-world feeling you have as the sun comes up on you while you’re driving home after a looooong night out. Your head throbs, your heart pounds, and all you can think is “I am a complete waste of life and need to stop all this partying.” The upside, of course, is that it was cheap. So Four Loko developed this sort of cult following, especially among seasoned drinkers. It was a new kind of drunk that rejuvenated those tired of the same old beer or tequila buzz.

It also makes you do crazy shit. I’ve had a lot of crazy months of March over the years, but when I bought 5 cases of original formula Loko on March 1 of this year, it kicked off perhaps the three craziest weeks I’ve ever had. I won’t go into the full list of it, but suffice to say it’s the sort of drink that makes intentionally running into -  and knocking over – a huge guy’s lit barbecue at a UM tailgate sound like a phenomenal fucking idea.


Sadly, Four Loko’s extreme awesomeness is ultimately what led to its downfall. It seems that non-veteran drinkers (aka underage college kids) thought you could funnel this stuff like it was a 4% Light Domestic Draft. And the energy effects keep the drinker from realizing how drunk he or she is, so you just keep right on going until somebody’s making a trip to the Emergency Room. Thus was the case at Central Washington University this past October, where nine students ended up in the hospital after mainlining the Loko at a house party. One with a BAC around .30. This was shortly after the product was banned at the University of Rhode Island, and just before it was banned at Penn State.


The Central Washington incident set off a chain reaction of regulation, beginning with the State of New York’s ban on alcoholic energy drinks and culminating with an FDA ban on November 17, 2010. A mad rush began to buy up all the remaining original formula before it sold out, and friends I knew had cases upon cases in their homes and offices. But slowly, the supply dwindled, and now thanks to the amateurs we are all down to our last cans for “special occasions.” I am saving mine to drink during my next Ironman race. That can’t possibly be a bad idea.

So while Four Loko was in fact a short-lived revolution in partying, like so many awesome things its popularity led to its ultimate demise. Stupid people got irresponsible with it, and as such those of us who could enjoy Four Loko “responsibly” had to pay the price. If you never got to experience the original Four Loko, sadly you have missed one of life’s great experiences. Because dumping a Five Hour Energy into a 40 of Steel Reserve, well, it just ain’t the same.

See our own Carlos Miller attempt to drink Four Loko “responsibly.”

Related Categories: True Crime Stories

About the Author: Matt Meltzer is a featured columnist at Miami Beach 411.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer

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10 Comments on

"Four Loko: A Drink too Awesome to Last"

Christy says:

Five cases Matt, really? Thanks for the warning! I’ll be sticking with the usual girlie drinks this summer.

Posted on 05/13/2011 at 5:42 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

Ran through them in 3 weeks too. I shared them, obviously. And therein lies the fun.

Posted on 05/14/2011 at 9:16 PM

widmore says:

There’s a lot of Four Loko knockoffs in the stores right now, wonder if any of them measure up to OG 4Loko? 

Tried a can of the grape version before it was banned and was not impressed… tasted sickeningly sweet and not unlike someone poured a grape soda into a 211 steel reserve.  Always wondered if the other flavors were better, but guess I’ll never know now.

Posted on 05/16/2011 at 1:48 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

The key was pouring them over ice. Like the lemonade flavor in a glass over ice tasted like Fresca. My frat boy friends up at UF were shocked to see me doing it when they came down for Spring Break, like “What are you, making the Loko classy?” Then they tried it and were like “Holy SHIT this is good.” That said, nobody was drinking Four Loko because it tasted good.

Posted on 05/16/2011 at 3:47 PM

Eric says:

some friends and I beat the system by mixing 4Loko with RedBull
“F” the man!!

Posted on 05/17/2011 at 7:23 PM

Matt Meltzer says:

Nice. Howd that taste?

Posted on 05/17/2011 at 11:47 PM

ShannonSoBe says:

I really don’t see why FourLoko is so loco smile  I mix vodka with Blue Raspberry or Grape Endorush ( pre-gym energy supplement that is about 4x as strong as your average energy drink)  It mixes so well that u can’t even taste the vodka, even if u get bottom of the barrel vodka. So that is my ” cheap / energy filled crazyness ” and it comes out to cost even less than FourLoko smile  Good article :p

Posted on 05/21/2011 at 11:42 AM

Matt Meltzer says:

Not sure what to tell you Shannon, except maybe Malt Liquor makes a person crazier than vodka (see: Every Homeless Person Ever and Black People). Like how tequila or Hennessey or whatever makes people act a different drunk than beer or rum.

Posted on 05/22/2011 at 10:19 PM

ShannonSoBe says:

LoL. True. smile

Posted on 05/22/2011 at 10:35 PM

Joe says:

Everybody knows it was just a matter of time before people would abuse the consumption of this beverage. This drink was a disaster waiting to happen, good riddance !!

Posted on 05/31/2011 at 6:31 PM

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