Four Loko is a caffeinated, fortified malt liquor for people who don't have have anywhere to be tomorrow morning. It's targeted to young people and minorities, and it doesn't feel much like alcohol, even though they sell it and regulate it that way. What's the difference? I once heard someone explain the difference between death metal and black metal: "Death metal is mean, but black metal is evil." Well, in the same way, the difference between malt liquor and Four Loko is that malt liquor will get you drunk, but Four Loko will give you a story.
How much for a story?
Three dollars and a hangover.
It's a brilliant product. The caffeine delays all the unpleasant effects of the alcohol for about two hours, so there's a window of time when you feel sharpness from the energy drink and relaxation from the tall can. For two hours, you're a better person. You're not sloppy, but you're not jittery either. If you're getting sick from the alcohol, you're the last to know. You have the willingness to be rowdy and the charisma to get away with it. There are no drawbacks. Two hours.
What about the rest of the night?
It's a good thing there's no risk of causing fetal alcohol syndrome at the moment of conception.
What happens in the morning?
In the morning, if you haven't emptied the drink from your system, you wake up much earlier than usual. The alcohol's drowsiness has worn off and the caffeine is still in your system. My friends call this the "Four Loko alarm clock." It's almost condescending: "Wake up kiddo, we'd better get an early start on that hangover." The dehydration is unavoidable; the caffeine only makes the beer's job easier, chapping your lips and your throat and your eyes. Most people treat it with lots of water, or maybe they've woken up next to someone equally in need of distraction. The easiest way to stop the alarms from ringing, though, is to have a few more sips of Four Loko. After that, you're ready to start the day. More often than not, you'll spend it telling all your friends the same story from last night.