March 10, 2023

A SchmorgishBORG of BORGs

A SchmorgishBORG of BORGs by Amy Bedard

With over 85 million views on TikTok, BORGs are becoming a popular trend among college students with many social media posts showing how to make a BORG. BORG is an acronym for “blackout rage gallon”. This has become popular with college students as it can be capped for single use consumption and prevent drink spiking. Some people also believe that alcohol hangovers are less likely to occur in those who drink from a BORG, becoming a recent subject of harm reduction among professionals. However, the reality is that BORGs contain dangerous levels of alchol and are a form of binge drinking.

There are many videos explaining how to make a BORG, especially on apps like TIkTok. Users first take a gallon sized bottle of water, discard half the water, then add up to a fifth of vodka, a squeezable water flavor enhancer, and an electrolyte powder or drink, like Liquid IV or Pedialyte. BORGS are then labeled with permanent marker on the jug with nicknames such as “Borganic Chemistry”, “Borgan Donor”, and “Captain Borgan”.

Some posts claim that BORG consumption can reduce the risk of alcohol hangover since there is typically a half-gallon of water. The truth is, though, while hydration may be effective in reducing the signs and symptoms of alcohol hangover, the consumption of large amounts of alcohol can still result in a hangover even if the person is well hydrated. Many of the videos showing how to make a BORG do not have any kind of measurements, so it can be difficult to know exactly how much alcohol is present in a jug. Since a BORG can contain large amounts of alcohol (up to 17 standard drinks or more, in which one standard drink would be 1.5 ounces, or one shot glass, of distilled spirits according to the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism) this can result in alcohol poisoning, even when consumed over a period of several hours. In addition, BORGs often contain multiple “squeezes” of servings of flavor enhancers that may contain potentially toxic levels of caffeine. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, when alcohol and caffeine are mixed, the caffeine can actually mask the depressant effects of alcohol, which can lead to increased alcohol consumption and subsequently, increased risk of alcohol-related harm. In fact, back in 2010, the Food and Drug Administration required manufacturers of caffeinated alcohol beverages (CABs) to remove their products from the market due to the inability to recognize them as safe.

Even with the amount of water, electrolyte powder or drink, and flavor enhancer, a BORG can result in harmful effects. There are claims on the social media app, TikTok, that BORGS are a form of harm reduction. While the amount of water, enhancers, electrolytes, and a cap may make it seem like harm reduction, the amount of alcohol and how quickly it can be consumed is still harmful. In a CBS news article, Dr. George F. Koob, the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institute of Health, explains that “as alcohol consumption goes up, so do the risks of injuries, fights, sexual assaults, emergency department visits, blackouts, car crashes and other harms.” In the same article, it is also noted that the call for caffeinated flavor enhancers also pose an additional risk. Dr. Koob adds “it’s important for students to know that caffeine, particularly in large amounts, can interfere with the ability to recognize how intoxicated one is, which can increase the risk of negative outcomes.”

If you choose to participate in consuming a BORG, or any alcohol, consider the following:
1.How much you would be drinking in a certain amount of time –pace yourself and dump out the rest at the end of the night; just because a gallon is in front of you doesn’t mean you have to finish it!
2.Remember binge drinking is not safe: binge drinking is defined as consuming 5 or more drinks for men, and 4 or more drinks for women within a 2 hour period.
3.Never drink and drive – Maine law states anyone 21 and over cannot have more than 0.8 blood alcohol level to drive. For those under 21 Maine has a zero tolerance law, meaning anyone underage cannot operate a vehicle with any amount of alcohol in their system.

Parents, if you are aware that your teen or college student is participating in BORGs, talk with them about the risks, and include in the conversation personal safety, sexual activity, and drugs other than alcohol. Make it your goal to talk openly and honestly about these topics and listen to your teen or young adult without judgement and defensiveness.

While a BORG has definitely sparked an interesting conversation about harm reduction, it’s important to remember to consume responsibly.

For more information about BORGs visit: and

For more information about caffine and alcohol visit:,risk%20of%20alcohol%2Dattributable%20harms.

For more information on binge drinking visit:,use%20in%20the%20United%20States.&text=Binge%20drinking%20is%20defined%20as,on%20an%20occasion%20for%20women.

For more information about standard drinks visit:

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