What Is a Borg? Experts Say This Viral Drink Doesn't Prevent Hangovers


Key Takeaways

  • Borg (“blackout rage gallon”) is a popular party drink among college students.
  • Most borgs are made with half a gallon of water, a bottle of vodka, and flavor enhancers. Some people add Liquid IV to help prevent hangovers.
  • Experts say hydration alone doesn't negate the amount of alcohol.

A borg, which stands for “blackout rage gallon,” is a viral alcoholic drink that college students are swearing by on TikTok. This drink is typically made with half a gallon of water, vodka, and a few squirts of a water enhancer like MiO for flavor. Some even add caffeine and Liquid IV, which is packed with electrolytes.

All the water and electrolytes in a borg are supposed to prevent hangovers, according to some TikTok creators. But with recipes that call for as much as 17 shots of vodka, most experts are not convinced.

“That is an extraordinary amount of alcohol. If you make it through the night, I promise you, you will have a hangover,” Tavis Glassman, MPH, PhD, a professor of public health at The University of Toledo, told Verywell.

A borg is similar to other communal party punches like jungle juice, but some people might try to finish a borg on their own. If someone makes a borg with an entire 750 ml bottle of vodka, it’s the equivalent of about 17 alcoholic drinks.

“They are crossing both the binge drinking limit as well as weekly heavy drinking,” Vatsalya Vatsalya, MD, PgD, MS, MSc, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, told Verywell.

Excessive drinking causes 88,000 deaths in the United States each year. The CDC defines binge drinking as more than four drinks over a two-to-three-hour period for women and five drinks in the same time frame for men. Heavy drinking means consuming more than eight drinks a week for women and 15 drinks a week for men.

Hydrating Alone Doesn't Cure Hangovers

Some people experience hangovers about 12–24 hours after heavy drinking. As alcohol enters your body, it stops a hormone called vasopressin from telling your kidneys to retain fluids. This can lead to more frequent urination, mild dehydration, fatigue, and headache.

While drinking plenty of water during a night out is a good idea, the borg recipe doesn’t guarantee a hangover-free experience, Glassman said.

“It’s smart to drink water before, during, and after,” he said. “You don’t have to drink them simultaneously in the same drink.”

Some studies suggest that water and electrolytes, the two key borg ingredients, don’t actually prevent hangovers. Research presented at the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology in 2015 suggests that consuming food and water “didn’t really translate into a meaningful difference” in the severity of hangover symptoms.

“Water will not save you from becoming intoxicated,” Glassman said.

Adding Liquid IV might make hangover symptoms a bit easier to manage, he explained, but neither water nor electrolytes can prevent a hangover when you’re drinking this much alcohol—and mild dehydration makes up only one part of a hangover recipe.

Heavy alcohol consumption may irritate the stomach lining, leading to another classic hangover symptom—nausea. As alcohol is processed by the liver, it also creates a toxic byproduct that may lead to inflammation throughout the body.

Vatsalya explained that, even when you combine water and alcohol in a borg, you’re still consuming the same amount of alcohol.

“It doesn’t reduce the number of drinks; it still has 17 drinks,” Vatsalya said. “The toxicity effect of alcohol will not be reduced.”

Some drinkers might add caffeinated flavor enhancers to their borg, but experts say this could actually lead to more severe hangover symptoms. Since caffeine is a diuretic, it makes you urinate more frequently and worsens the dehydration already caused by alcohol.

“If you drink an excessive amount, you’re gonna have a hangover, almost no matter what. So if you don’t want to have a hangover, either don’t drink at all—which is the safest thing to do—or drink in moderation,” Glassman said.

Is a Borg Really a 'Harm Reduction' Drink?

In a TikTok video, creator @erin.monroe_ said she likes the borg “as a harm reduction strategy” because people can decide how much alcohol to put in their borg. Since it’s an individual drink with a lid, it also cuts down the risk of drink spiking.

According to a survey conducted by the American Addiction Centers, 44% of men and 56% of women have unknowingly consumed spiked food or drinks. Over half of these situations happened when the respondents were in college.

Another touted benefit of the borg is that people don’t spread germs as much because the drink is not often shared. It’s no surprise that borgs first took off online in 2020 at the height of the pandemic.

However, most experts say that these benefits don’t outweigh the risk.

“The volume is just too big to be considered safe or healthy,” Glassman said.

What This Means For You

Call 911 right away if you are with someone who is drinking heavily and starts exhibiting signs of alcohol poisoning. These symptoms include confusion, vomiting, and passing out. Alcohol poisoning is serious and can be life-threatening.

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What is excessive alcohol use?

  2. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Hangovers.

  3. American Addiction Centers. Spiked substances.

  4. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Understanding the dangers of alcohol overdose.