Hola. After a few weeks of controversy, I figured it was time to speak up about the latest controversial high alcohol content beverage (allegedly) marketed in such a manner as to kill teenagers. As someone who’s been alive for at least a chunk of the last six decades, I’ve seen this phenomenon many, many times. Purple Passion in two liter bottles in the 80s, 18% alcohol “wine coolers” made by Cisco (before they completely revamped their business model and started selling networking gear) in the Color Me Badd 90s, brandy sold in what appeared to be chocolate milk containers in the 60s – I’ve been there for all of that mess.
Wait, this reminds me of a story. It involves Cisco, so if you do not enjoy reading stories that involve vomit, and the handling of vomit, you might want to skip ahead two paragraphs. Back in 1991, we plebes (“freshmen” to all you
pussies people who had a real college experience) led a pretty spartan existence. We only had free time away from campus on Saturdays, and even then we had to roam around in uniform, and alcohol was forbidden – even for the rare plebe like myself who was old enough to not just drink, but to rent a car in my own name. So all we could really hope for at the end of the week was to hit the Annapolis mall, enjoy some Taco Bell in (relative) peace and enjoy awkwardly watching Ghost with another dude. One night me and my buddy “Lance” (names have been changed to reflect the fact that I’ve always wanted to know someone named “Lance”) decided to both bring the noise and fuck tha police – we decided to walk back from the mall rather than take the shuttle van. Then we did something even gangsterier than that – we used my of-ageness to buy two bottles of Cisco. (Note: I weighed 70 lbs less then than I do now, and drank alcohol a full 175% less than I do now.) Then we sat out on a dock, killing the Cisco while talking shit about how we were eventually gonna be rich lawyers wearing bow ties and making dramatic arguments in court. (Note: actual lawyer work appears to entail pouring over extremely boring documents more than it involves dramatically unveiling culprits through sheer ingenuity, despite what Legally Blonde and The Good Wife have taught you.)
So we made it back to our rooms and it quickly became clear that Lance wasn’t gonna be able to cause the Cisco to change state (Cisco has three states: as a liquid, it’s just a terrible-tasting wine that causes immediate regret and a desire to improve your ways; its gaseous state is just a demon spirit that devours souls; its solid state is, unfortunately, just cherry-colored vomit (assuming you got the flavor RED, which, technically isn’t a flavor.)) So Lance, laying in his top rack started barfing into a mop bucket. In an effort to hide our drunk state from those that could make our lives a living hell (taking away those Saturday trips to the mall and replacing them – along with all other free time – with marching in a square outside, for hours at a time, with some periodic inspections thrown in for good measure) I decided to hide the offending substance in the nearest urinal. One of our other friends quickly pointed out that that was actually a worse place to put it, as some douche second classmen would certainly know some plebe was drunk then. So I did the only logical thing: I scooped the vomit out of the urinal with my bare hands and into the toilet. As it turns out, the urinal was actually a pretty poor choice for vomit disposal in the first place.
I never marched a tour. Anyway, since I genuinely care about you readers but don’t care to scoop up anymore solid Cisco, I figured I’d check into this Four Loko nonsense and report back to you with The Real Deal. So here’s my experience having Four Lokos with three meals on a recent weekend (there’s been a little bit of a delay as my hands just stopped shaking about three hours ago and it took me awhile to clean up all the glow sticks and glitter in the apartment.)
Breakfast Pairing: Grape Four Loko and one cheesy double beef burrito and three tacos from Taco Bell
Rationale: When you wake up at the crack of 1:17 PM, it’s important to quickly ingest the important vitamins, minerals, caffeine and low-fat sour cream to power you throw the next eleven or so hours of awakeness. Grape Four Lokos is the obvious choice here, it’s like drinking some grape juice, four Cokes, and two shots of Rumple minze at the same time.
(Note: As in the image above, when you procure your Taco Bell, you will want to include several packets of the new Verde and Fire Roasted sauces in your bag. After you have emptied the contents of your bag and confirmed that your order is correct, you will want to take those Verde and Fire Roasted sauce packets and throw them back in the bag. They will serve as “ballast” so that said bag is not blown off your table during your frequent trips to urinate. Do not, under any circumstances, ingest the ballast.)
Technical Review: Most food/drink pairings are judged by how well the beverage stands up to the centerpiece of the meal; this is no exception as the cheesy double beef burrito takes center stage. If possible, take notice of the preparation of the burrito. Does it appear to be suitably cheesy? Did the chef take care to add precisely double the amount of beef that you would expect to see in a standard-beef burrito? Does the finished product inexplicably look like someone’s been holding it like a wii remote for the last two hours, complete with impressions of where each finger resided?
If you answer yes to all those questions, then prepare yourself to be blown away. I recommend drinking your Grape Four Lokos out of a brandy snifter, deeply intaking its bouquet as you finish chewing a bite of tortilla, rice, beef x 2 and nacho cheese. As your heart and brain simultaneously process the ingestion of food and the suggestion of drink, your synapses will fire from the abundant hints of flavor, among them: grapes, caramelized nectarines, spawning salmon, the inside of a month-old leg cast, alabaster and loamy earth. The three tacos will ultimately serve to cleanse the pallet and also alter the perception of the Grape Four Lokos, where you will note hints of tumeric, fennel, cat litter and even a slight parsley note.
Brunch Pairing: Orange Four Loko and 2.5 Pieces of Leftover Papa John’s Spicy Italian Sausage, Pepperoni and Mushroom Pizza
Rationale: After your first can of Four Loko, you’ll notice your heart beating a little faster; a little of that is from the caffeine, a little is from your increased fitness level from constantly tapping your feet, and a little is due to the fact that you just had an enormous calf cramp because your body is crying out for something. What is it crying out for? A little more grub, dumbass. Are you supposed to magically watch football and drink Four Lokos without eating? What’s sitting around here that I can eat? How long has that pizza been sitting there? What are the odds that the combination of Four Lokos and the retard-hot habanero sauce from Dos Toros can’t kill practically any foodbourne bacteria? You could probably consume raw chicken with zero worries as long as you poured some hot sauce on it and washed it down with a Loko or two. Pizza works.
Technical Review: The Orange Four Loko is a little more finicky than the grape – you will want to let it breathe for anywhere from twenty minutes to sixteen months before consumption. It’s worth the wait – the Orange Four Lokos really brings out the complexity in the pizza – you can literally taste the portabellaness of the mushrooms and the sausage? It’s spicy, indeed. (Or it may be the fact that you put habanero sauce on the pizza, but trust me, something is fucking spicy.) The food drink experience here is no different than enjoying the see-saw with a similarly-weighted kid when young: at the apex you will experience the carnal flavors that ultimately define Orange Four Lokos – organic oregano, kobe lobster, sauted hazelnuts – and at the nadir you will be surprised by the lingering notes of mango chutney, chicken pot pie and a slightly chalky residue.
(Note: Avoid the temptation to eat the last of the garlic butter – the excess fat coats the mouth and prevents you from truly experiencing the body of the Orange Four Lokos. Never underestimate the importance of body when tasting, as scent is to taste, so is body to physical and spiritual interpretation of a drink. After each sip of Orange Four Loko, you should simultaneously feel as if you’d like to drink a large amount of water and as if you’ve stored some oily rags in your mouth for a few weeks. The contradicting signals regarding physical hydration are truly remarkable to experience.)
Dinner Pairing: Cranberry Lemonade Four Loko and one KFC DoubleDown and one bag of Funyuns
Rationale: Duh, it’s after 6:00 PM – time to cut back on the carbs, fatass. Fried corn meal ain’t all that carby. Cranberry lemonade is good for yeast infections for all you folks that cut yourself baking. (Editor’s Note: I apologize for that last sentence, that was horrible. Actually the one before that, too. But it’s 1:15 AM, I’m in Arkansas, my laptop shit the bed, I’m using my mom’s 2001 Dell laptop to write this and I’m ready to wrap this shit up.)
Technical Review: Interestingly, the slightly sweet lemonade component of the Four Lokos balances out the particularly carbohydrate-deficient main course, leading to some interesting food/drink synergies. The fruity start of the Cranberry Lemonade Four Loko is quickly followed by a wet-dog fur middle and a nine volt battery finish. The underrated side dish – Funyuns will never get their due, in my opinion – quickly establishes the presence of powders garlic and onion in your mouth area, which are quickly transformed by subsequent sips of Cranberry Lemonade Four Loko: expect to taste (and honestly, feel) white truffle, dandelion, hobo’s handkerchief and a bit of cranberry.
All in all, pretty tasty. Yeah, there might be some negative health impacts from drinking Four Loko, but isn’t life about living?
Happy Frickin Thanksgiving!