We Review Drank, The "Anti-Energy" Drank

As soon as we heard about Drank, the anti-energy drink that promises to “slow your roll,” we knew we had to try it. After searching around New Orleans for a while, we were directed to a gas station in Tremé. We brought a few cans home, put on some Three 6 Mafia, and drank some Drank.

The Discount Zone where we bought the Drank seemed as excited about it as we were. They had a large poster in the front window that advised us that consuming Drank may “cause one to lean.” When we made our way to the beverage coolers, we found fake VIP passes allowing one to be part of the “official Drank crew.”

Then our excitement took a big hit: Drank costs $3 per can, plus tax. Still, we wanted to find out how it tasted and if it actually had any soporific effect, so we proceeded.

Drank contains several roll-slowing supplements: valerian root, melatonin, and rose hips. Oh, and lots of high-fructose corn syrup. My fiancee is getting a Pharm.D., and she helpfully went on Lexi-Comp to check these ingredients out. What follows is not medical advice, and may not be entirely accurate, as I was leaning pretty hard while I took notes on what she was saying.

Valerian Root: Used for restlessness and sleep disorders. The effect is in the same class (anxiolytic) as Xanax and Valium, but considerably weaker. Valerian root is what the doctor in Fight Club advised Tyler Durden to chew when he couldn’t sleep. Taking it with alcohol increases the “risk” of sedation. Seems pretty legitimate.

Melatonin: We release melatonin throughout the day, and supplements may help regulate deficiencies that might occur from jet lag or other sleep disorders. My fiancee says, “Some study found that melatonin gives you a rash on your junk, and it took 10 days to go away.” Apparently the proper medical term for this is “fixed drug eruption.”

Rose hips: Rose hips are pretty much worthless, but they contain a lot of vitamin C and may help prevent urinary tract infections, which is a common affliction among certified gangstas.

We did two taste tests: first we drank Drank straight, then later at night we mixed it with vodka to see if it was an acceptable anti-substitute for Red Bull (yes, we know Red Bull and vodka is disgusting, but we were curious if Vodka Drank would be just as gross or something worse). After pouring two Dranks, neat, I inhaled deeply. It had a distinctly grapey bouquet with a grapish nose tastes like grape soda. Nothing but grape soda. When you mix it with vodka, it tastes like vodka and grape soda, although it reminded me more of a Sparks than Red Bull and vodka. Anyone buying Drank for taste is probably better off spending $3 on grape soda, which would probably purchase a few liters.

After my first drink of Drank, I felt pretty sleepy. I’d only been up for three hours, but I ended up taking a sixty-minute nap. This was probably a placebo effect, and there were several confounding variables that dispel any causality, e.g., my couch is really comfortable, my dogs were already napping on the couch, and joining them looked like a good idea. So the first Drank drinking was inconclusive. When I mixed a drink of Drank with vodka and drank that Drank drink, I didn’t feel anything. Nonetheless, I went to bed almost five hours earlier than I did the night before, and was only up for about eleven hours total. I really hope that was the effect of Drank; otherwise I’m a lazy sloth.

It’s probably no surprise—Drank isn’t worth it. Three dollars is pretty expensive for a can of sugar water, so unless its supplements actually work, it’s a rip off. The effects are nowhere near what I’ve experienced when I’ve been prescribed opiates like Vicodin or Codeine; it’s not even comparable to doxylamine succinate, the sedative found in NyQuil and some over-the-counter sleeping pills, although there was no groggy hangover the next morning. Bottom line: if you’re looking for the taste of Drank, buy some grape soda; if you’re looking for the effects of Drank, have a glass of red wine.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.