Simon Doggett, 2009.
Imagine this, only with a Red Bull garnish.

This Week's Suspect: The American cocktail shaker has gone through a lot in the


The Trash Can Vs. Four Loko: Whoever Wins, We Lose Consciousness

Simon Doggett, 2009.
Imagine this, only with a Red Bull garnish.

This Week's Suspect: The American cocktail shaker has gone through a lot in the past couple of decades. Rising from the putrid ashes of an overpoweringly-sweet vodka-centric vogue that lasted well past the '90s, America's upscale bars began to seek solace in the well-balanced, precision-mixed cocktails of old.

However, something strange happened along the way. What I can only describe as "Mutant Drinks," modelled after the laundry list of various liquors present in the Long Island Iced Tea, started to take off like wildfire, particularly in college town watering holes or other areas with a high concentration of hard-drinking youths.

Dangerously potent cocktails started to sprout up with names like The Super Special LIT, The Red Death, Bad Acid Trip, and the most appropriate Call a Cab. All of these drinks seemed to have two things in common: stupid names and a constitution more similiar to a 6-year-old's first time using a soda fountain than any kind of coherent mix of spirits. Some justified the new mutt drinks by merely referring them as variations of the Long Island Iced Tea -- supposedly in the same way that getting hit by a car is a variation of walking down the street.

The Adios Motherfucker is perhaps the most infamous of these drinks. Although finding a standard recipe in any respectable tome of cocktailcrafting is naturally impossible, the usual ingredients are vodka, rum, tequila, gin and Blue Curaçao (for color, because blue is awesome?). Pour over ice and stir once or twice, but don't bother overdoing it -- chances are no one you could serve this to could possibly care or notice.

Although the "standard" serving for each boozy ingredient is a responsible 1/2 oz., the real amount of booze that goes into this drink can run into every variable from what bar is serving it, what the crowd is like that night, and how much nerve your bartender has. I certainly wouldn't want to undermine the delicate art of mixology or any of its practitioners -- but exact science has no place in a drink that shares its name with something you yell at your archenemy before their private jet explodes.

"But wait," you might say, "nowhere in that schizophrenic abomination of liquor did I see anything with caffiene in it! What is this doing in Legal Speedballs?" That is because while the Adios Motherfucker is indeed harrowing, it is the AMF's cousin, The Trash Can, that will be featured in this week's column.

Often called an "Irish Trash Can," (but not here -- I've slighted the fair people of Eire enough by reviewing the Irish Coffee at a decidedly non-Hibernian establishment) the calamity in a glass features a very careful, detailed departure from the AMF:

1) Make an Adios, Motherfucker with an extremely liberal amount of ice and the widest-mouth straw you have available.

2) Open a can of Red Bull.

3) Dump the open can of Red Bull into the Adios Motherfucker, tab first.

4) Slurp furiously until it's all gone, unless you want your drink's headpiece to spill sticky awfulness all over the bar.

Here you may notice my use of the word "cousin" might be a little bit of an overstatement; sticking a garbage can on your head filled with sports drink doesn't usually start a new branch on the family tree.

Gratuitous amounts of alcohol, a physical demand to be consumed at a rapid pace and the added sexiness of being banned at numerous bars certainly add up to The Trash Can being a worth adversary of the outlaw quaff Four Loko -- the only question is, who the hell would serve it?

The Bar: As the Trash Can is a fine monument to excess, Fremont hotspot and fratboy magnet Nine Million in Unmarked Bills (or 9M to most of those who ever say the bar's name more than once) fits the drink like a tacky velvet glove. As soon as I asked bartenders Brandon and Jeff if they served Trash Cans, they immediately cracked up.

"If that's what you really want, sure."

The two went on to recount their favorite stories of the dire drink while they shuffled various bottles over a pint glass full of ice. It was here I realized that 9M is the first bar to be featured by Legal Speedballs that was openly sympathetic to Four, with both Brandon and Jeff agreeing that there's no shortage of bars in Seattle that'll serve drinks just as potent as Loko, if not moreso.

Jeff defended the demonized drink even further, saying shots of 151 could often be just as suspect as The Loko, especially at the rate he's seen them served. Combine that with any amount of energy drinks that enterprising rabblerousers come soaked in, and you have a recipe for the kind of impatient, antisocial drunk that doesn't even have to sip their way through a huge can of liquid torture.

I was still a little skeptical, mostly due to the relative calm of Legal Speedballs' first two installments. It wasn't until Jeff held the Red Bull over the pool of bright blue, icy death that my knees started to quake. I nodded, then sucked the half-frozen beverage into submission, stopping only once to cope with the frosty hell shooting directly into the center of my head.

The Effect: Substantial doesn't even begin to describe. As part of my personal oath to always do my best to uphold journalistic integrity wherever I may report (unless it requires me to do anything but drink more), I've consumed nearly every flavor of Four Loko prior to writing this column. With this dubious body of experience, I can safely say that the Trash Can is "mostly like that, only combined with the worst, most focussed brainfreeze 90% of the world will ever have."

Threat to Society: Five out of Four Lokos.

When I asked if they had served anything comparable to the Trash Can, Jeff had to rack his brain for a moment. Brandon didn't: "Nah, Trash Cans are the worst."

To put the Trash Can phenomenon most precisely, Jeff mentioned a particularly adventuresome regular who ordered a Trash Can every day. One time the man had even prided himself on drinking six of them in one sitting! It was then I realized that they were speaking of this person strictly in the past tense.

By the time my head had finally cleared, I had no ill will towards 9M. Indeed, the bar offers plenty of delicious food to combat your inevitable descent into both mental and gastrointestinal distress. The lamb sliders are delicious and the tofu pillows seem all but specifically designed to help you through what you just did to your poor liver.

So am I calling for a nationwide bar ban of Trash Cans? Of course not. Even if it happened, some frisky upstart trying to get laid would just replace the Blue Curaçao with Everclear and give it an even stupider name. Drinking responsibly is a state of mind, not something that can be imprinted in people through arbitrarily banning whatever novelty made the town drunks deathly ill this week.

As a wise man once said: "Don't hate the player, hate the asshole who invented Long Island Iced Tea."

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