College kids run on caffeine. And, if you know any college kids in the 21 and over club, you'll know that they run on caffeine with a lil alcohol splashed in for good measure. When the Four Loko drink was introduced in 2005, it was marketed as a perfect balance of these two components. But now, 12 years later, a lot has changed, making us ask once again, what is Four Loko?

Four Loko has been a popular drink at colleges across the country for those who have been wanting to have a really, really good time (or maybe just a really good buzz) for years, but do we really know what's in it—or what it can do to your body? Sure, you can shotgun them, but should you? The answer can be yours with just a little sleuthing, so read up before you head out to your next pregame.

What Makes Them So "Loko?"fo

pizza, beer
Caroline Ingalls

Four Loko's current recipe is a blend of malt liquor and "natural and artificial flavors." We don't get much more info than that as far as ingredients go, but flavors of the drink range from the classic lemonade, to the curiosity-inducing "Gold."

As far as alcohol content by volume (ABV), that varies by state, with numbers ranging from eight to fourteen percent. Okay, so it's not as strong as some of these strongest cocktails in the world, but I'm sure you could still get pretty tipsy after just one can.

A few years ago, drinking a Four Loko was almost taboo. The allure of these drinks was due to the FDA's warning that adding caffeine, one of the former main ingredients in Four Loko drinks, is unsafe to add to malt liquor.

Four Loko voluntarily changed the formula to the drink in 2010, and this time it's back in stores without the caffeine. Though some store owners are quick to point out that they're now selling less of the drink, I'd rather have a safer drink than one that sounds cool.

Is Four Loko Safe?

In a word? Yes. Four Loko is pretty much like any other mixed drink you can get on the market nowadays. Now that it's not being branded as an "alcoholic energy drink," there's no reason to be afraid of the stuff.

Though it may have gotten a bad rep before, being banned across college campuses and even across whole states, Four Loko can be purchased today in 49 states and in countries around the world.

What to Expect

Just like any other alcoholic beverage, so long as you know your limit, you'll be fine. Some states might allow these beverages to have more alcohol by volume than others, but so long as you drink in moderation, and don't go overboard, you shouldn't have any negative side effects.

Obviously, not everyone is going to drink in moderation, but that said, cracking open one Four Loko with a friend one night shouldn't give you a horrible hangover or get you blackout drunk. The reputation precedes this drink, but there's really nothing to stress about. And you'll probably get some good drunk eats out of it, too.

In the future, there's going to be all kinds of weird drinks to try and order. Eventually, someone will have forgotten the legend of this drink and will inevitably need to ask "what is Four Loko?" And now, you'll be able to tell them. Just remember to thank me later, okay?

#SpoonTip: If you've never tried Four Loko before, make sure you know which flavors are worth buying.