The party may be over for Four Loko, but not for enthusiasts of the “blackout in a can.”
Even though stores around the state will no longer get deliveries of Four Loko starting Friday, a new potent potable is already grabbing headlines — and old reliables can easily deliver a quick buzz, too.
“The club kids will just switch back to Red Bull and vodka and old bastards like myself will continue to put a splash of bourbon in our coffee, just like our granddads did,” said Flynn Farn, who runs Booze Party.net, a website guide to cheap drinking in New York City.
New York state and alcohol distributors agreed last month to stop selling the drink — a fruit drink that mixed caffeine and up to 12 percent alcohol — after dozens of college students in New Jersey and Washington were hospitalized.
The FDA has warned that the drink’s combination of caffeine and alcohol isn’t safe, and the maker of Four Loko has said it’s going to stop producing it with caffeine, guarana and taurine.
But New Yorkers said replicating Four Loko’s rush won’t be that hard.
“This [type of drink] isn't new,” said Arthur Smith, 24, of East New York. “I know people who take 100 proof, then they add 5-Hour Energy. That costs $2 and it's even worse.”
But health officials caution that even homemade brews are dangerous.
“The combination of caffeine and alcohol is an issue because it masks signs of intoxication” and the person will keep drinking, said Pete Constantakes, spokesman for the state Department of Health.
With Four Loko vanishing from shelves, a new concoction of booze called Whipped Lightning may take its place.
It’s touted on its website as a “the world’s first alcohol-infused whipped cream” that can top a cocktail, coffee or dessert and comes in nine “Whipahol” flavors. You won’t find it in New York, but it’s sold in New Jersey.
Still, nothing will replace Four Loko for some.
“[It’s] something that came and went. It’s sort of a mysterious ghost,” said Ryder Ripps, who organized a Four Loko vigil in Union Square last month. “We were enamored with it. It’s kind of like it died for its sins.”
(With Heidi Lee)