City Paper is not for tourists
Beware alcoholic energy drinks: The silent intoxicators. Time‘s got the scoop on the “tall, narrow cans” with the “teen-friendly names” that are mixing a stimulant (caffeine) with a depressant (alcohol) to make a recipe for dance party disaster! Author John Cloud lays out the hard scientific facts about Sparks and its partners in energetic drunkenness: “Researchers have conducted several peer-reviewed studies into these questions since 2000. The conclusions? Caffeine won’t keep you from getting drunk.”
As a teen duped by Sparks’ youthful marketing would say: Like, duh. That’s why they love it!
But tall, narrow cans aside, has anyone ever been ‘tricked’ into drunkenness by a Sparks? Anti-Sparks crusader Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler claims that when “kids” are “on” Sparks, “The kids won’t recognize they are actually drunk…And then all of a sudden, over a short period of time, it goes Bam, and they’re gone.”
On the rare occasion that I partake of the Sparks, the only thing going Bam is my sudden need to be drinking a beer instead. I hereby challenge Doug Gansler to actually experience drunkenness from Sparks before he experiences mild heartburn, the embarrassing and sometimes ironic phenomenon known as “Sparks tongue,” or the inevitable Sparks hangover that occurs at 6 the next morning when you awake suddenly with a nervous urge to clean your kitchen.
I do agree with Cloud’s assertion that “the particular taste” of these drinks is meant for those “not accustomed to beer.” If Sparks tasted like beer, I might actually pay to drink it. Still, as a friend of mine says, “Sparks isn’t marketed towards kids … it’s just marketed towards douchebags.”
In conclusion, people drink Sparks for three reasons: (1) they are douchebags, (2) Sparks is funny, or (3) it is free before 10 p.m. at D.C.’s Best Dance Night.