Recreating a Monster
In making a Four Loko analog, you need to look at what makes a Four Loko, and then find like pieces to the puzzle. Four Loko is a malt beverage. Okay, great, let's start with some malt liquor.
Four Loko was 12-percent alcohol by volume (ABV). It's very tough to find a malt liquor that comes close to that. That's as strong as some wines. St. Ides has 8.2-percent and Steel Reserve has 8.1-percent, but these aren't as easy to find as say, Olde English which has about 6-percent. But you know what? That's okay. We can take care of that in a minute; for now just use whichever malt liquor you prefer.
Buy yourself a 40oz, but DO NOT DRINK IT ALL YOURSELF. This is for you and at least one friend. Splitting it between four would be preferable. But right now we're trying to make an analog, and Four Loko came in 23.5-ounce cans. So that's the malt base.
Split your 40 into two large glasses or jars, so that you have 20 ounces of a solution that's 6 percent ABV. To that, add 4 ounces of the cheapest (you won't be tasting any of it anyway) 80-proof vodka you can find. That gives you 24 ounces of 11.6 percent ABV drank. Close enough to Four Loko's 23.5 ounce, 12-percent ABV badness.
For the caffeine and other uppers, one Berocca tablet per glass will more than suffice. Four Loko had an estimated 260 milligrams of caffeine per can (before it was pulled out). Berocca has a crazy 280 milligrams of caffeine per tablet. Sweet Jesus. It also has guarana, and while it lacks taurine, I think the phenylalanine will make up for it.
Now for the flavor. Four Loko had a (disgusting) fruity taste. So we're going to use Koolaid drink powder. Per Koolaid's instructions, add one rounded tablespoon per 8-ounces of water. Well, we have 24 ounces of fluid, so go ahead and add three rounded tablespoons to your jar. Each serving of Koolaid has 16 grams of sugar in it, which means our solution now has 48 grams of sugar. That's a lot, but Four Loko had 60 grams of sugar per can. No problem, just add 12 grams of granulated sugar, which is roughly 1 tablespoon. Done!
Recipe for Disaster
Here it is in recipe terms, all sophisticated-like.
20 ounces malt liquor (6-percent ABV)
4 ounces 80-proof vodka (40-percent ABV)
1 Berocca tablet
3 tablespoons Koolaid mix
1 tablespoon sugar
1. Put the Berocca tablet into a large jar (preferably 1 quart size).
2. Add 4 ounces (8 tablespoons) of 80-proof vodka, and allow tablet to dissolve most of the way.
3. Slowly add 20 ounces of 6-percent ABV malt liquor.
4. Add 3 tablespoons of Koolaide drink mix and 1 tablespoon of sugar.
5. Stir very gently with a long spoon until sugar is dissolved
In retrospect, it would be better to just pour in a small amount of malt liquor first, stir in the the Koolaid and sugar until it's totally dissolved, and then add the rest of the 40. Otherwise you'll be stirring out a lot of the bubbles like I accidentally did. Learn from my mistakes.
The result is a bright red punch that actually tastes quite a bit like the original, which is to say, "gross". Our own Sam Biddle (the walking, talking Wine Spectator of Four Loko) said it was "actually pretty good" and he would "totally drink it." So there you have it.
Or you could just buy a decaffinated Four Loko from your corner store and add a Berocca tablet to it, but what's the fun in that?
THIS WILL FUCK YOU UP VERY HARD!
That is something that I cannot stress enough. I say that not as a challenge, but as a warning. The insane concentration of caffeine, sugar, and other uppers plus a lot of alcohol is what got so many people into so much trouble with Four Loko. You're so artificially amped that when you reach the point where you would normally pass out, you don't. You keep drinking more. This can easily lead to blackout situations and potentially to alcohol-poisoning and worse. So, yes, it's fun to push our limits, but be smart with this because while just the right amount could lead to a fun night of partying, too much could literally kill you. Got it? Good.