To BORG or Not to BORG?

Jaden Jackson, Staff Writer

The BORG or Black Out Rage Gallon has been sweeping college campuses around the nation for the last few months. Since its inception in late 2018, the sugary sweet alcoholic drink has exponentially grown in popularity with major spikes in late 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and again in late 2022 as COVID guidelines have loosened and party culture has returned to colleges around the country.

A typical BORG recipe consists of a half gallon of water, a fifth of vodka (approximately 17 shots), a packet of Liquid IV, and some form of flavoring like Crystal Light or Mio. This recipe is the most simplified version of the drink, with many variations changing the amount of alcohol or adding other substances like caffeinated beverages.

Of course, when creating a BORG you must name it, which consists of a pun incorporating the acronym. For example “The BORGs a Liar”, after the popular Ice Spice song, and “Borg meets world”, is after the popular sitcom Boy meets world.

These drinks aren’t all fun and games however, as previously mentioned BORGS typically include a fifth of vodka which amounts to around 17 shots of alcohol. The CDC recommends “to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men or 1 drink or less in a day for women, on days when alcohol is consumed.” The CDC considers 1.5 shots a drink, meaning a BORG contains over 5 times the amount of alcohol recommended for men and over 11 times the daily recommended amount for women.

The amount of alcohol present in BORGS has made them a highly debated topic within the cultural zeitgeist. Many are apprehensive about the BORG due to its high levels of alcohol that’s taste is hidden due to the water and flavorings added. On the other hand, many praises the BORG for being so germ safe in a post-pandemic world, as well as reducing the likelihood of drink spiking due to the lid of the gallon jug.

Dr. Jill Grimes, a licensed physician, author, and public speaker who specializes in college student health had this to say about BORGs in a Tik Tok posted to her account which focuses on young adult health and drug use, “There are four things I love about BORGs, sober you gets to decide the amount of alcohol you drink, if you keep the BORG sealed you have no worries of drink spiking or sharing germs, and the added electrolytes keep you hydrated while drinking.”

Dr. Grimes didn’t give her full stamp of approval however, “Many of the online recipes are calling for a fifth of vodka which is way too many shots. I also do not like adding caffeine, which is another diuretic (a substance that dehydrates you)  and a stimulant which will blunt the initial the body’s initial feeling of alcohol causing over drinking”

These mixed feelings continue for Dr. Grimes who appreciates the clever pun names individuals come up with. However, she feels the name “Black Out Rage Gallon” promotes black-out drinking which she describes as “a concussion to the brain”.

BORGs continue to be a controversial topic, particularly after an incident at UMASS Amherst after the first weekend in March resulted in 46 students at the university being hospitalized due to drinking the trending beverage.

In an interview with CBS News, Amherst town manager Paul Bockelman said “Twenty-eight ambulances were used to transport students to the hospital. Because of the high number of students needing medical assistance, Amherst required the help of ambulances from neighboring towns and the regional EMS task force”.
BORGs are not some trend only seen online or in neighboring schools across the state, BORGs have come to MCLA. Many students on campus participate in the consumption of these drinks at off-campus parties and social events.

An anonymous MCLA student had this to say about the drink “I go out pretty frequently and I love BORGs. They help me to regulate how much alcohol I’m drinking, and I like coming up with the names.

When asked about the potential dangers of BORGs the student had this to say, “I think like any other drink it comes down to the individual to make the right choice for them. I change up my recipe depending on how drunk I am going to be, or who I am going to be around. I get the criticism, and they can be dangerous, but if you make smart choices I think you’ll be fine.”

BORGS may be a flashy trend, or here to stay; only time will tell. It is important to know that drinking trends have always fluctuated, particularly within younger demographics like college-aged students.

Whether or not they will continue to be a staple on college campuses will be determined, but one can always choose to drink responsibly and ensure the safety of others while they are consuming alcohol.