This Week's Suspect: Last week's Legal Speedballs featured Irish Coffee, a caffienated alcoholic beverage that most anti-Four Loko crusaders seemed to all but completely>"/>
This Week's Suspect: Last week's Legal Speedballs featured Irish Coffee, a caffienated alcoholic beverage that most anti-Four Loko crusaders seemed to all but completely forget the existence of. This week will feature a much more notorious, but still 100% legal combination of America's two most beloved recreational drugs: The Jägerbomb.
Combining the sweet drainability of Jägermeister with the commercially-proven potency of Red Bull, Jägerbombs were actually banned from being served in pockets of Australia back in 2007, years before the de-Lokofication of Washington's liquor supply. Was it the Jägermeister that inspired the swift hammer of Aussie law? Don't be silly.
Jägermeister is an unfairly maligned, flavor-dense digestif, as Tini Big's star bartender Shane Sahr attested while serving me a drink featuring with the German herbal liqueur. It certainly couldn't be Jäger behind the mystery of Ellensburg's half-dead drunks, the brown stuff clocks in at a mere 70 Proof, just under the 80 found in your average bottle of vodka.
So obviously the stigma comes from the other constituent, right?
France had a twelve-year long ban on Red Bull's standard recipe until 2008, requiring the energy drink to be sold without taurine, an ingredient also present in Joose and Four Loko. As it would seem, ginseng, taurine and guarana seem to be a common scapegoat within especially demonized energy drinks -- while drinks flavored with "old-fashioned" stimulants such as the caffiene from cocoa and coffee are, more often than not, perceived as safe.
Is this a fair assessment? Ginseng, taurine and guarana aren't "new" by any stretch of the imagination, and studies have already shown that their concentration in energy drinks is too minimal to either help or harm. Indeed, the only adverse effects shown by the energy drinks in this experiment were observed due to excessive amounts of caffiene and sugar -- factors that aren't necessarily too different from a sweet tooth's Irish Coffee.
When it gets right down to it, actual evidence of these culturally-suspect supplements doing any harm within their respective florescent-colored beverages is simply anecdotal. So with the empirical laziness of Jägerbombs' detractors in mind, it's only fair that I just need to get shithoused on them and talk about it for a valid defense.
The Bar: Hard Rock Cafe seemed the perfect place to pound the infamous drink. with its often abrasive soundtrack and the fact the very similar "Nada Bomb" had been already featured in the Weekly (Alcohol, caffeine, AND its tasteless? Where was this drink when I was 14?).
I was served by the vocally anti-Loko barkeep Darek, who claimed that the mixture of caffeine and alcohol was the last thing Washington drinkers should worry about. He hated Loko because it was a can of hot mess that couldn't be split up into responsible servings, especially from those who would put up with Loko's godawful taste in the first place. He said that as rowdy as the Jägerbomb crowd could get, at least they were being charged at a reasonable drink-to-drink ratio by someone who didn't want their bar trashed and/or covered in bodily fluids.
I was through with reflection, now was the time for experimentation. I had misgivings about this week's Legal Speedballs, because the weekday crowd at Hard Rock Cafe is usually one to drop in, have a responsible drink or two and take off before they reach DUI territory. However, as soon as I ordered my poison, both Darek and fellow bartender Wayne launched into "My New Haircut" quotes that instantaneously assured me I'd made the right decision.
There was the drop, the chug, then the inevitable taste explosion of bubble gum and battery acid that brought me back to god knows how many high school parties rife with diatribes of brotherly love, the odd blood-pact, and projectile vomit.
The Effect: The first bomb didn't do much in terms of even mongering a buzz. I saddled the second with a Budweiser... Then it hit me. My pupils dilated, my nostrils flared uncontrollably and the ground felt like it was disappearing from underneath me. Every muscle in my body tense with a dangerous, amoral tendency -- the way prizefighters must feel when they see they've drawn blood. My mind was clouded by obstacles impossible to articulate, while still turbo-charged by a primal rage that overcame every thought, every memory, every fiber of my being.
It was then I realized I was barely drunk at all -- but KoRn's cover of "Another Brick in the Wall" had been playing the entire time.
I needed another drink.
Threat to Society: Two out of Four Lokos.
Upon a few more calming beers, I began to appreciate the Jägerbombs' effect on me. When you get down to the elements of the shitshow staple, there really isn't too much alcohol involved and the stimulant factor is one that's often exaggerated to the point of incredibility. Furthermore, the stigma of the drink usually lead most barkeeps to cut imbibers off after the third or fourth, which adds up to just about the same amount of alcohol you'd get out of a single can of Four Loko.
However, the hunt for Loko's formidable in-bar comparison continued when Wayne gave me a hot tip on something called "The Trashcan." The Trashcan had all the elements of the twenty-first birthday favorite "Adios Motherfucker" with a can of Red Bull dumped in the center of the glass. Some Seattle bars had banned it from being served altogether. More importantly, some bars hadn't.