Red Bull cocktails giving wings, sending some to heaven.
July 15, 2001 1:05 PM   Subscribe

Red Bull cocktails giving wings, sending some to heaven. The Swedish are more than a little upset and Norway, Denmark, and France won't sell it because of its caffiene content.
posted by skallas (37 comments total)
It has about 80 milligrams of caffeine per bottle which is about 2 soft drinks or half that of a strong cup of coffee. Then again they're pretty small cans.

Just wanted to dispel some rumors about it, when it first got to the states it was pretty common to hear that it was equal to 8 cups of coffee and the taurine come from bull testicles. Maybe it just feels that way. I wouldn't know, never tried the stuff.
posted by skallas at 1:12 PM on July 15, 2001

< opinion >It's expensive and tastes like shit.< /opinion >

Red Bull and Vodka is so horrendously popular in the UK that kids would be dropping like flies if it was dangerous.
posted by fullerine at 1:23 PM on July 15, 2001

yummm.... red bull and vodka.

it's called a kindfeld, and it's the drink of choice for primus.

and it's actually damn tasty.i've noticed liquor stores are starting to not only sell red bull and the like, but post drink mix instructions on the coolers holding them.

anyone have a link to such cocktails?
posted by jcterminal at 1:43 PM on July 15, 2001

I kinda like how these energy drinks taste, never mixed them with alcohol, though there in the story one woman is told to have died after consuming 3 undiluted cans. Seems kinda dangerous because I once drank 2.
posted by tiaka at 2:09 PM on July 15, 2001

Vodka-red bull.

Pour vodka. Add Red Bull. Drink. (Optional: die.)

[ I actually launched a web site three years ago, on an all-nighter fuelled by about five cans. Draw your own conclusions as to its effects. ]
posted by holgate at 2:12 PM on July 15, 2001

holgate didn't read my post before he posted.

bad habit! bad!
posted by jcterminal at 2:48 PM on July 15, 2001

Most of symptoms in these stories sound more like mixing alcohol and party drugs. Honest dad, that red bull gave me temporary insanity...

I've heard a few different names for this drink, but my favorite is the Vodka Powerhorse. I laughed all night at that one, heh.
posted by roboto at 2:52 PM on July 15, 2001

I personally think Red Bull tastes like cough syrup. Because I don't drink it, I'm a little unclear on something: what's supposed to be toxic about it besides the caffeine? Hopefully they're not going to tell us now that 80 mg of caffeine is fatal...
posted by padjet1 at 2:59 PM on July 15, 2001

I was under the understanding that RB was banned in Norway and the like not because of high caffeine content but because of the taurine or whatever it's called. I believe caffeine only becomes dangerous at doses of several thousand milligrams, which'd require a hell of a lot of coffee, mountain dew, or even Red Bull.
posted by drywall at 3:09 PM on July 15, 2001

red bull is one of the most vital elements of student life. it's a common sight in our college library, on sunday nights at around 10 minutes to 10 (10 minutes before the shop round the corner shuts) to see people collecting money round the desks to go on a red bull run, so that everyone who's settling in for the night for an essay crisis has got enough caffeine to get them though till morning.
posted by kitschbitch at 3:12 PM on July 15, 2001

jcterminal: no, I did read it. Vodka-red bull is the only RB "cocktail recipe" I know, and posting a link to it seemed slightly redundant. It was especially useful in Amsterdam, after a mellow night out, as a nightcap to provide the kick of sense to get us all home before the last tram left Leidseplein.

kitschbitch: does Somerville bar not have red bull? Or just one of those pale imitation drinks peddled by the brewery? When Di, the now-retired (snif) bar manageress at Jesus asked me "would students buy it, do you think?" the reply took about .02 seconds thinking time.
posted by holgate at 3:44 PM on July 15, 2001

As far as I can tell, Vodka-Red Bull was invented by Glaswegians, which should tell you all you need to know.

Anyone have a better clue as to where it came from? I first came across it in late '96 (I think) via some Glaswegian friends, and when I visited there in early '97 it was being sold in bars, which I'd never seen in London up 'til that time. Now it's everywhere in the UK. I actually quite like the stuff, though it's noticably absent from the bar menu here in Vancouver. Probably waiting for the city to come up with a special new category of license :-)
posted by pascal at 4:29 PM on July 15, 2001

holgate: yes, steve the barman peddles red bull, but I think the temptation to stay and have a cheeky pint can be too much, so the co-op round the back is a safer bet. and you can munchies too - haribo is often just as vital a provision as red bull for that 3am crisis...
posted by kitschbitch at 4:40 PM on July 15, 2001

pascal : ...or is that vodka and Irn-Bru the Glaswegians invented? *shudder*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:08 PM on July 15, 2001

A friend of mine had to be rushed to the hospital after drinking 3 red bulls over the course of 30 minutes. Granted, this was high school and I think she had a problem with caffeine to begin with...but still, yeah, be careful with this stuff if you have any particular aversion to caffeine.

I like the stuff, drink it all the time at clubs, have never had any problems.
posted by kphaley454 at 5:12 PM on July 15, 2001

Never had it, but I do know I could inhale caffeine myself (and I am pretty much an addict. If I don't have it I can't function properly...) I had to switch to diet soda because i was consuming so much of the stuff, damn weight... plus I went to brushing my teeth about 5 times a day just to keep the sugar from degrading them.

Damn I could use a Jolt right about now, can't get it in my area. Jones soda is supposed to make something high-caffeine but I can't get that in my area either. And I am not much of an alcoholic-consumer, so I don't know much about the mixes and stuff.
posted by benjh at 6:21 PM on July 15, 2001

Liquor + caffeine: the poor man's speedball.
posted by lileks at 8:52 PM on July 15, 2001

As far as I know, Red Bull was first introduced into the UK around 1993. All the incoming students at Pollock Halls (Edinburgh Uni halls of residence) were given a couple of cans as part of their "fresher pack". I was one of those students.

I agree with Pascal - I reckon vodka-redbull started out in Glasgow... The Arches was the first place I ever had it...
posted by netsirk at 9:05 PM on July 15, 2001

Combine vodka-red bull with deep-fried mars bar, and you've either got all the main (student) food groups...

or an instant coronary.
posted by holgate at 9:21 PM on July 15, 2001 lists 201 drinks with the ingredient 'Red Bull'
posted by riffola at 9:56 PM on July 15, 2001

what happens if you eat pop rocks while you drink red bull? would mikey like it?

and chalk up another tally on the "red bull and vodka tastes like <insert name of disgusting liquid here>" for me. here on the westside of la we have a bar that calls that concoction a "raging bull".
posted by mmanning at 10:14 PM on July 15, 2001

I don't personally know what the evil of, say, Pol Pot might taste like, but I imagine it couldn't be too far away from Irn-Bru.
posted by dong_resin at 10:18 PM on July 15, 2001

Stamp out the evil that is Irn-Bru now! Think of the children, for goodness sakes! Not mention the baby jesus!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:24 PM on July 15, 2001

Bull. It's an expensive, trendy caffeine delivery system. If you take too much caffeine, you'll die.

Apparently, it take four cans of this stuff to do anything that could be called an enhancement to performance. Four of those shitty little cans of expensive goo. If you've left your work too late (perhaps because you were hanging with people who drink overpriced sweet drinks), there are cheaper and faster ways to jolt your system. And try eating properly. And don't watch commercials, which help shrink impressionable minds twelve ways.
posted by pracowity at 11:33 PM on July 15, 2001

You gotta try a Jaeger-Bull. It's a glass of RB with a shot of Jaegermeister dropped in Boilermaker-style.

posted by ttrendel at 12:07 AM on July 16, 2001

Apparently, it take four cans of this stuff to do anything that could be called an enhancement to performance.

Let's see, drinking four cans would mean ingesting 360mg of caffeine. Whether or not 360mg of caffeine would enhance your performance is debatable, but I guarantee it'd definitely do something to it.

posted by lardgrass at 1:07 AM on July 16, 2001

taurine is an essential amino acid (not produced in the human body; one of 13? there are like 22 amino acids, 9 non-essential, 13 essential?) said to help the body's cleansing of toxins, e.g. caffine and etoh alcohol.
so logically, red bull should be safer to drink than plain old coffee and a good companion to alcohol.

there are a bunch of japanese health drinks that advertise taurine content and depict athletes drinking them and so on.

i think red bull carries a caption in the back of the can re: amount of consumption, maybe it'll become a warning.

roboto's right on with the alco-drug mixing, but who knows if they ran blood tests or if the sources just wanted to put a dent in red bull.

hot red bull tastes kind of like bovril. could just be me.
posted by elle at 2:20 AM on July 16, 2001

> ... said to help the body's cleansing of toxins ...

Everything is said to "help the body's cleansing of toxins" these days. Said by people who want to sell the stuff.
posted by pracowity at 2:49 AM on July 16, 2001

Red Bull was first developed in Austria, where I currently reside.

As you might imagine, there are quite a few local Red Bull cocktails in the little bergs around Austria. Here, Red Bull + red vodka is a Gummi. Dunno the other names (have tried a few, but seem to forget everything about them soon after)...

The drink comes in several different 'strengths'. American Red Bull is 'weaker' than Austrian Red Bull, for instance. I believe Austrian is the 'strongest'.

Alone, it's helped me make it through 48 hour straight development marathons; mixed with vodka, it's helped me get into lots of trouble...
posted by syzygy at 6:04 AM on July 16, 2001

In Utah, where I grew up, most of my friends were mormon and didn't drink. I think Red Bull effectively took the place of beer for them. I could go to their apartment any time and there'd be a couple of Bulls in the fridge. They also starting keeping their empties and stringing them up around the room. There must have been 40 or so cans dangling in that little apartment.
posted by eoligarry at 8:00 AM on July 16, 2001

Taurine is a necessary item in a cat's diet, since they are unable to synthesize this amino acid (as other species can).

I find the progressive blindness they develop in a deficiency of taurine intriguing in the light of this discussion, as I suspect over-consumption of this taurine-supplementing cocktail by humans would also lead to progressive blindness (you know, as the head hits the floor).

A cat would never drink Red Bull; they would prefer to wear glasses.
posted by salt at 9:48 AM on July 16, 2001

i prefer the real thai red bull elixir served in a type of tea at a my local thai food place....much better flavor.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:34 AM on July 16, 2001

Actually, Red Bull originally comes from Thailand and a Thai company still has the rights to Red Bull in some Asian countries. There are 4 different kinds of Red Bull (krating daeng) sold in Thailand, 3 are in 100/150 ml size bottles. One has a higher caffeine content. The 'can version' was only recently introduced here. I have never tried the Austrian version, but I know the caffeine content in the strongest Thai one is very high (actually there is another brand called Lipo and there Lipo Plus seems a lot stronger, but that is another story).

It has been popular here for a long time, but generally most people see it is as some kind of drug used by truck drivers to keep themselves awake (before speed became popular). I have always liked to mix it with cheap Thai whiskey.

I had 7 bottles once and didn't touch the stuff for 3 months.
posted by jay at 11:20 AM on July 16, 2001

it's a self claim of the product, pracowity is right about that. but taurine is, in fact, an amino acid. it comes out in your pee as does caffine. i was hoping someone knew more about it.
posted by elle at 1:19 PM on July 16, 2001

> but taurine is, in fact, an amino acid. it comes out in
> your pee as does caffine.

Anyone out there who wants to drink my pee for a quick energy boost, just let me know. I guarantee it's cheaper than a can of Red Bull, has the same active ingredients, and probably is twice as tasty. Serve it chilled or straight out of the tap.
posted by pracowity at 10:39 PM on July 16, 2001

I just had my first taste of Red Bull tonight. Fairly pleasant tasting, but really expensive at two dollars for a 250mL can. It didn't boost my energy when I drank it (4-5 hours ago) but now I can't sleep so I end up posting to MF.
posted by gyc at 11:47 PM on July 16, 2001

The Caffeine FAQ seems relevant to this conversation. There are a couple of points that are especially noteworthy: a typical 8 oz. cup of coffee has about 100mg of caffeine (20mg more than a Red Bull, from what skallas says above); the lethal dosage of caffeine tends to be about 150mg per kg of body weight. I'd say that if someone managed to drink dozens and dozens of Red Bulls in a single night, they'd probably deserve to lose, but I'm more inclined to go with roboto's theory about these deaths.

I've never tried it with vodka. On the one hand, I'd think it would cover up the taste of the vodka to some extent, and that can't be bad, but on the other hand, the dilution would only make it last longer.

Whatever else you say about Red Bull, though, their marketing appears to be brilliant. The faint sense of danger only makes it seem more appealing and powerful.
posted by moss at 9:44 AM on July 17, 2001

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