Alcohol and Energy Drinks: The Dangers of Mixing

Alcohol energy drink RTD’s are almost impossible to find these days since, for the most part, they have been forced off the market by the FDA and other governing bodies.

They originally became popular in the second half of the last decade, but by 2010 warning letters were sent out by the FDA and these alcohol and caffeine beverages began to disappear.

Some have simply changed their formulation to no longer contain caffeine such as Four Loko, while others have ceased production.

Caffeine and alcohol RTD beverages may still be available in some other countries, but they are pretty much non-existant in the USA.

Alcohol and Caffeine Based Drinks

Alcoholic Energy Drink NameStatus
Four LokoChanged formula
MAX VibeDiscontinued
Liquid ChargeDiscontinued
COREChanged formula
Rockstar 21Discontinued
SparksChanged formula
Molson KICKDiscontinued
TILTChanged Formula
Budweiser EDiscontinued
Mate Vesa (yerba mate beer)Available
3 A.M. Vodka (Vodka, caffeine, taurine, guarana)Available

As you can see from the above list, alcohol/energy drink hybrids are pretty much a thing from the past. The only way you will find a beverage that has alcohol and caffeine combined RTD is if you choose a craft beer. Mate Vesa is one such beer made with yerba mate for natural caffeine.

Other craft beers are made with coffee and would also have small amounts of caffeine. These would be far from being called energy drinks, though, and do not have to follow the guidelines set forth by the FDA.

Mixed Drinks Using Alcohol and Energy Drinks Dangers

vodka-redbullRed bull’s claim to fame was not because of those seeking a pure caffeine rush, but rather their ingenious marketing to the bar tending industry.

Vodka Red Bull quickly became the go to cocktail among party goers who wanted to be able to party longer and since then, there have been all kinds of drinks invented with other energy drink  brands trying to get their piece of the pie.

A study out of Wake Forest Medical Center has been looking into this energy drink mixed with alcohol fad in order to see what negative effects it has created. The study revealed the following;

  • Students who drank the mix were likely to become more intoxicated and become intoxicated twice as often.
  • Students were twice as likely to be injured on this concoction.
  • They were twice as likely to ride with a drunken driver.
  • They were also twice as likely to be taken advantage of sexually or take advantage of someone else.

The researchers believe that the high doses of caffeine mask your body’s natural ways of letting you know you’ve consumed too much alcohol, therefore, people tend to drink way more than they should.

Another research study out of Australia also found that mixing caffeine with alcohol gives people the urge to drink more than those who drink just straight alcohol. This can lead to over-intoxication and risk for alcohol poisoning.

Mixing energy drinks with alcohol also leads to increase rates of drunk driving.

A recent study found that of those who consumed both caffeine and alcohol were more likely to still get behind the wheel than those who just consumed alcohol alone. Those that combine also were more likely to ride as a passenger with someone who was drunk.

Cases of teen alcohol abuse are bad enough, but incidents of teens mixing alcohol and other stimulants such as energy drinks make things worse.

This really was clever marketing on Red Bull’s behalf and I can see why the alcohol industry was quick to embrace it. If you can somehow bypass the body’s natural defense mechanisms concerning alcohol tolerance, then you can increase your bar sales by almost double.

Caffeine and Hard Liquor a New Trend?

Recently it has come to our attention that some hard liquors are now being infused with caffeine. One such product has been added above; 3 A.M. Vodka, which is a soybean vodka infused with caffeine, taurine, and guarana.

It will be interesting to see how long this type of alcohol and energy hybrid will avoid FDA scrutiny.

No Alcohol and Caffeine Drinks in Database

Here at Caffeine Informer headquarters we made a deliberate decision – some time ago – to exclude caffeinated alcoholic drinks from the caffeine database. This is a site about energy… and alcohol is a depressant.

The term “alcoholic energy drink” is an oxymoron. There is a large body of research showing that drunk person plus caffeine still equals drunk person. So, hey, we’re just not going there – okay?

Do you know of any alcoholic energy drinks still on the market in the USA? If so tell us about them in the comments below.

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  • Lynda

    i’m drinking an imperial stout called narwhal by Sierra Nevada and just noticed on the back it says “with notes of baker’s cocoa and dark roasted coffee.” I’m desperate to know if there’s any caffeine in it, and what percentage, as I can only handle up to 1-2% in a drink!

  • ted

    I’m not sure of the exact amount but if it has coffee and cocoa in it, then there will be caffeine in the beer.

  • diana

    energy drinks sucks!!

  • diana

    i have no idea why they make it

  • diana

    shame on you people who made this!!

  • Antoinette covington

    Dammmn i was soooo dissapointed when I read that the spykes are discontinued :’-((((((wahhhah

  • Neurostudent

    Check out 3AM vodka as well if you will. It’s a soybean based vodka with caffeine, taurine, and guarana. Says it has as much caffeine per shot as a half cup of coffee.

  • Energy Fiend

    Thanks for letting us know. I updated the table above. Would be interesting to find out how much caffeine is in it.

  • Molson KICK not Moslow KICK

    That Moslow KICK in the list is incorrect. It’s actually called Molson KICK. It’s a Canadian Beer that was out years ago in Canada, since discontinued. Never heard of this Moslow, I believe that is a typo. Hope someone can correct that error. I used to drink that Beer when it was available.

  • You are correct, and we’ve fixed the typo. Thanks!

  • Court

    If I’m not mistaken, 3 AM has now been discontinued. I loved it while it was out, smooth taste.surprised it had caffeine!

  • Thanks for the heads up. It’s still listed on their website, so we’ll leave it as is for now since it may be available in some locations.

  • mani1234

    Sparks is just a great drink buzzz…Check some more types sure you guys will enjoy it.

  • Happy Rick

    What channel was it on?

  • masleumas

    that beer isnt brewed with coffee. malted barley gives off flavors and aromas similar to coffee and cocoa when roasted. those are tasting notes not ingredients. Narwhal contains no caffeine. good beer though!!

  • CaffeineJunkie

    There is rockstar+vodka in Canada here, DO NOT drink it if you have heart issues, or if you have thyroid problems.. it almost put me in the hospital. Only one can.

  • Bert

    If your stupid enough to mix energy drinks with alcohol you probably deserve to die..

  • CK

    My friends, please just try first wine mix with power horse, then taste & feeling are amazing, specifically for hot & party people.
    I hope you will enjoy.

  • Scared parent

    Not sure who the hell you are but obviously not a parent. Because if you were you wouldn’t say something to stupid. I know it is dumb to do this but teens who have never had alcohol and are with people who drink frequently trust what they say and do. Not sure about you but I know when I was a teen you don’t think of the seriousness or danger of doing this.Everyone makes mistakes and don’t use the best judgement but that is not a reason to say they should die. I am a parent who knows firsthand about this dumb mistake….just went thru it with mine an hour ago. It is the scariest phone call I have ever had,and I am 3 hours away so I couldn’t help. So please think before talking out of your ass and saying something like this!!!!!

  • Doodoo

    I heard these drinks make you lose control of your bowels.

Last Modified: March 28, 2017