Before you ask, BORG—pronounced like alien from “Star Trek”—is an acronym for “blackout rage gallon.” The drink, called Liquid IV or Pedialyte, is a mix of water, alcohol, sweetener, and some hangover cure.
The concoction has grown in popularity on college campuses across the country, thanks at least in part to TikTok, and videos of students waving water jugs at parties and showing how to make the drink have been widely shared.
Borg made news This month, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the Town of Amherst released a Joint Statement Regarding the “substantial number of alcohol poisoning cases” during the annual out-of-school event Blarney Blowout.
The statement noted that “many students have been observed carrying plastic gallon containers, believed to be ‘BORGs,'” and that “this binge drinking trend is increasingly on TikTok and on college campuses across the country.”
Bella Alonzo, a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, posted blog video in January. Ms. Alonzo, 21, wearing a cowboy hat emblazoned with stars and the Busch beer logo, began emptying about half of the water in the gallon jug. Then she added a generous shot of vodka, a can of sparkling wild berry energy drink and electrolyte powder. “That way we don’t get hungover at midnight,” Ms. Alonzo said, before shaking the flagon and taking a sip.
In an interview with The New York Times, Ms. Alonzo said she was surprised by BORG’s sudden popularity on social media because she had known about them for years. The main draw, she says, is that they are easy to drink because the alcohol content is so high. “All you really taste is water and food coloring,” Ms. Alonzo said. “You can’t taste any of the wine, which is the great part.”
“I’ve seen people, you know, people a few decades older than me comment on TikTok and say, ‘Oh yeah, we used to do that to give it another name,’” she added. She notes that the drink is especially popular among “darties” (slang for a daytime party).
In December, Cate Keane, a senior at the College of Notre Dame in Poughkeepsie, New York, posted a video of her classmates showing off their BORG at a party. clip It has since been viewed more than 500,000 times. Each pitcher is marked with a pun, such as “Justin BieBORG,” “BORGttega Veneta,” or “BORGan Donor.”
For some students, a humorous name is as important to BORG as electrolytes. A Tik Tok Last month, a name suggestion tip posted by San Diego State University sophomore Benjamin Giller has been viewed nearly a million times on the platform and received hundreds of comments.
Some students said they were attracted to BORG because of their supposed security advantages.
Ms Keane, 21, said: “It’s nice that you can put a cap on it instead of being like, if you’re in a bar and you have an open drink, someone can easily, like, ‘roofie’ you”, referring to the so-called date rape drug Rohypnol.
Ms Alonzo echoed the sentiment, noting that she likes that BORGs allow her to be in control and know exactly how much wine is in her jug.On TikTok, a video Highlighting how BORG can be viewed as a hazard prevention strategy has been viewed over three million times.
But not everyone supports BORG.
The Amherst Fire Department reported 28 ambulance transport requests during the March 4 Blarney Blowout. University of Massachusetts Amherst spokesman Ed Blaguszewski declined to comment on how many ambulance calls there were in previous years, but said this year’s numbers are higher than in the past. (Year 2014, cbs news report During the same incident, police in riot gear were called in to deal with what the school called “unruly behaviour”. More than 70 people were arrested. )
“I think it’s really going to do a lot of damage,” Dr Sarah AndrewsAn assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said of the trend. “It’s promoting misconceptions about drinking.”
She acknowledges that college students understand the importance of ingredients in beverages, but says she doesn’t think BORG is the answer.
“Just because you know what’s in it doesn’t mean you actually understand the negative effects it can have,” said Dr. Andrews, whose area of expertise includes alcoholism. “Even if it’s mixed with electrolytes, it doesn’t counteract the alcohol content. It doesn’t counteract the dangers of alcohol.”
Still, some college students, like Gracelyn Jones, a 21-year-old junior at the University of Louisville, insist against it. Or, at least, Ms. Jones thinks BORGs are better than other methods of drinking on college campuses.
“When I compare BORGs to ass,” she says, referring to alcohol enemas, “it doesn’t seem that bad.”