Brought to You by Improved Mental Alertness

We’ve all been there, its 5 in the morning on Monday night, or Tuesday morning, if your one of them, you’re riding your skateboard down the ramps of that six storey parking structure, 3 towns over, when you think “wow, I should probably be asleep right now”. Yes, this actually happened, and yes, I’d been drinking.

Yeah, ‘cause I’m going to do this sober, please.

So 4 hours later I’m supposed to be at work but I’m in line at Sobeys, I work next door, so don’t think me irresponsible, at least not very. So I’ve come here to purchase an energy drink(s) to get me through the day. I selected a 473 ML can of orange Nirvana, that’s not the name of an actual energy drink; it’s a metaphor, although I think that would sell quite well.

So I went to the check out and got in line behind what were either an elderly couple, or two individual elderly customers and a personification of my bad luck. Damn these old people are buying a lot of food, I kind of assumed they didn’t need food, like they were solar powered or something, why else would they get up at the crack of dawn? How much energy do you really need? What? You’ve got a long day of backgammon and napping? And, Oh My God, put your change purse away it’s called a debit card! Aaaaaaaaaaah-


So five minutes and one impatience induced embolism later I’m checking out with my energy drink(s), the cashier politely asks how I am this morning, you know its pleasantries like that, that make old people think you care.

“I’m sleepy; hence the energy drink(s), but good, thanks”

“So do these things actually work?”

“Tell you what, if I’m having a rage-nap in five minutes I’ll let you know that they don’t”

Oddly enough that’s not the first time someone’s asked me that, and every time, they’re female, further, it strikes me as odd that this lady’s never had an energy drink. I bet she remember what 8 hours of sleep feels like too. So it’s become apparent that ladies, at least in this locale, don’t know much about energy drinks.

Aha! That’s why she says she’s too sleepy every night.

So its time for Mitchell Hanna’s Crash Course in Energy Drinks!

And I do mean crash course, ask anybody about energy drinks the first thing they tell you is how bad they are for you because they make you crash hard after your initial rush, Jim Carrey’s Yes Man featured a comical portrayal of this.

With all the unsubstantiated rumours about the ill effects of energy drinks, this one unfortunately has quite a bit of truth to it. It’s really inevitable, you were tired, you hit the E-drink and eventually, GASP! It wears off, and you return to your sleep deprived state. Everybody and their mom will tell you Energy drinks are evil, citing this exact scenario, but lets focus on the positive, for a few hours you got to not be exhausted. It’s a bottle of caffeinated sugar, not a magical elixir, it’s going to wear off and you’re going to crash, unless you chain drink them. Why do you think I spent 30 dollars when I went beverage shopping this morning? Maybe because I’m so sleep deprived I also bought a frozen turkey. Maybe.

By the way, chain drinking Energy drinks can cause pulmonary distress and kill you, if the Swedish National Food Administration is to be believed, they’ve no reason to lie, but what have they done for me lately?

However, there are more important issues at hand, like knowing which energy drink is right for you. Well Ma’am TAB, Hype, and Rockstar have got you covered with; TAB Energy, Enlite, and new PerfectBerry flavour, respectively. In an attempt to reach out to the female demographic, TAB is formulated to be relatively low in calories, packaged in a pink can, and marketed with the slogan “Fuel to be Fabulous”, oddly there is no male equivalent to this drink, so when I say they’re expanding their market, I really mean they’re cutting it in half. In summation, it’s for women because they said so. Hype‘s own approach is similar, by boasting reduced calories, and being served in a pink can, Enlite flavour is perfect for today’s woman on the go. I think I’m noticing a trend here. Rockstar‘s own effort comes in a pink, reduced serving can, only 10 calories! So far, so good, and it even comes with a bendy straw, because… ladies love bendy straws? I think Rockstar may have confused women with 8 year olds, where I’m from that gets a fella arrested.

* Editor’s Note: Ladies do love bendy straws, they don’t ruin our lipstick.

Okay, ladies get sleepy just like men, but ladies are generally more observant of their figure, so low calorie formula. That’s something even I can get behind, I like a trim figure, in fact if they have this low calorie formula why isn’t it going in every can, pink or not?

If I had to pick, I’d say the company doing the best marketing its product to women would be: none of the above. I’m going with Red Bull on this one: one flavour, in one can, also available in sugar free, in case you’re watching your figure. Oh wait I forgot, ladies only buy things if they’re pink.

Blue can?! What business is this?!

Speaking of red bull and getting arrested: how about these Jager-bombs? In case you haven’t heard, a Jager bomb is comprised of 125 ML of Red Bull and a shot of Jagermeister, which is then dropped into the Red Bull and consumed.


I’m not saying mixing stimulants and depressants leads to bad decisions, I’m not even saying that it is a bad decision in itself, because Steve Clarke, Director of the College Alcohol Abuse Prevention Centre, beat me to it:

Energy drinks have a lot of stimulants in them like ginseng and taurine, while alcohol is a depressant, so by mixing the two you’re sending mixed messages to your nervous system which can cause cardiac problems.”

In fact, Australia agrees, they’re already placing bans on Jager-bombs on the basis that they encourage “binge drinking and irresponsible behaviours,” no mention of the health issues, but it demonstrates the multiple angles from which people oppose the idea.

The reason it is served as a drop shot is because the mixture is so commonly regarded as a bad idea that establishments refuse to mix it personally, it’s a liability thing, a just-in-case, if you will.

So I get off a long day of chemically staving off sleep, and whatever else I’m supposed to be doing at work, I guess. So, shift’s up and I’m meeting the guys (read: Dylan (because everyone else was busy, that’s why only one person, I have other friends, they’re just busy!)) at the bar for a nice relaxing drink, but wait, no! Too relaxing! I’m not done partying! What am I to do? I can’t order a Jager bomb because I’ll die, and death is awfully similar to sleep which you may have noticed I’ve been avoiding. So I’m drowsy, and looking to become more alert/ drunk, but I’m not risking my life, it’s just not worth it.*

*Update: Worth it!

In Finland they actually call a Jager bomb “Akkuhappo” which translates to battery acid, can you say stigma? The Finnish are sending a clear message that this drink is dangerous(ly awesome), so drink it (seriously, drink it right now) at your own risk.

So energy drinks have got a pretty bad rap, but let’s look at the evidence, I’m still awake, and alive, somehow. Is it possible I’ve consumed so many energy drinks over the years that my blood has been replace by caffeine, taurine and who knows what other kind of ‘eine, effectively turning me immortal? Science says no, but science also told me it hates your outfit today, so whose side are you on?

Afterthought: So in my research for this article I discovered something called a Jager-train, which combines the fun of dominoes, with the sick thrills of Jager-bombs, and I’m totally doing it later. Until next time, be they energetic or alcoholic, drink responsibly, someone has to.