Due to popular demand and the fact that we love trying weird foods and candies, The A.V. Club will now regularly feature "Taste Tests." Feel free to suggest disgusting and/or delicious new edibles for future installments: E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Note: For maximum impact, this column should be read very, very slowly.)
Sizzurp. Lean. Drank. Barre. Syrup. Purple Jelly. Purple Stuff. No matter what you call it, the woozy mixture of promethazine and codeine, sometimes mixed with Jolly Ranchers and vodka, has swept the South and conquered much of hip-hop. It's also helped kill at least two hip-hop icons. Houston's DJ Screw helped popularize syrup and the "chopped and screwed" mixes that dramatically slowed down hip-hop tracks for the benefit of fans whose senses had been altered and slowed by copious syrup-sipping. Not coincidentally, Screw also became the first prominent hip-hopper to die of a codeine overdose. Late last year, UGK's Pimp C also died of an accidental promethazine/codeine overdose that interacted fatally with his sleep apnea.
As a result, syrup has become an explosive hot-button issue in hip-hop. After Pimp C's death, UGK's Bun B removed all the references to the concoction from his solo album Il Trill, and Li'l Wayne has caught flak for the regular references to syrup in his music.
But what if there was a syrup-like concoction that mirrored some of the effects of lean without the fatal side effects? That's the thinking behind "Drank," a perfectly legal, non-alcoholic "Anti-Energy Drank" whose blindingly purple website winkingly warns consumers, "This beverage may be extremely relaxing and calming and may cause one to lean." Mmmm, that's good subtlety! It could also be argued that Drank will "chop and screw" your senses until you are Cing Pimps and feel like you're drinking a potent combination of promethazine and codeine.
In case dim-witted potential buyers don't pick up on the hints, the site features a syrup-loving Three 6 Mafia video that contains explicit references to promethazine. In case a few dum-dums out there are still in the dark, the website goes on to boast, "Innovative Beverage Group has taken time and great care to design the first and only anti-energy drink of its kind 'Drank.' Drank was formulated to be an extreme relaxation beverage that personifies the slow, smooth style of chopped and screwed music put forth by hip-hop giants such as: Mike Watts, Paul Wall, Chamillionaire, Slim Thug, Mike Jones, Johnny Dang, Three 6 Mafia, T.I., Rick Ross, Ludacris and the late D.J. Screw."
Intrigued, we decided to buy ourselves a "Drank" and see if this self-described "pick-me-down" lived up to the hype. Alas, don't go looking for promethazine or codeine in Drank. Instead, "Drank" pays homage to the South's most notorious hip-hop brain-melting beverage with the kind of hippified products that the granola crowd uses as all-natural herbal sleep aids. So instead of prescription-strength cough syrup, "Drank" boasts the gently narcotizing likes of valerian root, melatonin, and rose hips. (Let's see Li'l Wayne try to make a song about rose hips and valerian root.)
The Drank website keeps it gangsta by pointing out that rose hips are a great motherfucking source of antioxidants and can be consumed in tea (which it helpfully/peculiarly points out is a "drink," but not a "drank") as a well as a topical oil.
Note: Since we all anticipated snoozing peacefully at our desks shortly after getting our Drank on, we scheduled this Taste Test late on a Friday.
Taste: A.V. Club taste-testers were pleasantly surprised by the taste. Though one guinea pig noted "It smells exactly like Dimetapp and looks like a melted popsicle," most found its taste pleasing and light, not unlike watered-down grape Kool-Aid. "It's really tart at first, then mellows out," one tester opined before passing out and crashing to the floor. (No, not really.)
— "It's like 7-Up with purple in it."
— "It's actually pretty pleasant."
— "Smells like Smarties."
— "I'd get a grill and drank some of this."
— "It'd taste good with alcohol."
— "Tastes like fermented Nerds."
— "My mouth reacted badly."
— "It's so anticlimactic." "It won't be when we're all asleep at our desks in five minutes."
— "It's really not bad at all; I expected it to be far worse—syrupy, overly sweet."
— "It's fizzy, pretty light, and mostly enjoyable. It might be a little too much with a whole can, though."
— "I don't know if it's because it's 1:18 p.m. on Friday or because of the Drank, but suddenly I've got a good mellow going."
— "Tastes a bit like children's chewable grape Tylenol mixed with soda water. Not as intolerable as expected. I would probably hang out and drink up to the two-can advised limit while bumpin' Chamillionaire from my low-rider."
— "I'm feeling pleasantly sleepy, like I just dropped some valerian and chased it with some rose hips. Ah, all is right with the universe now, and I appreciate the music of Three 6 Mafia in a whole new way. Verily, they are gods among men."
— "I would recommend it to others, but only in a mocking fashion."
— "As flavor goes, it's far superior to any of the crappy Mountain Dew Dewmocracy flavors we tried a couple of weeks ago. I'd actually drink this."
— "I hope it works. I like being tired."
Ever the fearless journalist, Genevieve Koski volunteered to drink a comparatively heavy dose of Drank. Here are her observations:
— "I'm having trouble forming… [Long, awkward pause, during which other people laugh.] …thoughts."
— "It's like being slightly drunk without any of the lowered inhibitions. And isn't that the point of being drunk?"
— "I actually am feeling some sort of effect, somewhat akin to a secondhand buzz. I feel just slightly stupider: It just took me a good while to process the sentence I was reading, and I kept zoning out. The words kept shifting and I found myself looking through the computer screen. I don't feel tired, just… blurry, I guess you'd say. I just wanna go outside and sit in the grass and listen to some music now."
Where to find it: Price and availability both suck. Josh Modell ended up paying around $16 for one can of Drank after shipping and handling, and had to buy his can on eBay. So don't go looking for this down at the Stop 'N' Shop. Unsurprisingly, the drink is available primarily in the South. A full list of locations carrying Drank can be found at that oh-so-purple Drank site.