Meet The Borg, Gen Z's Controversial Drink Of Choice

College students are attempting to make Burnett’s Vodka drinkable—and maybe slightly safer? Maybe?

Phone, keys, ID, giant jug filled with vodka and flavored water. The list of going-out essentials has recently expanded to include the "black out rage gallon," aka "borg," the new(ish) TikTok trend popular among college students looking to get drunk enough to throw up in the street and/or be honest with themselves about how they need to drop Econ before it tanks their GPA.

The borg is created by filling a plastic gallon jug with a half-and-half mixture of vodka and water, plus add-ins like a caffeinated flavor enhancer and/or an electrolyte power mix and/or whatever other type of sweetener the mixologist chooses. Simple, cheap, and non-breakable.

Borgs first cropped up on TikTok in 2020, but they've gained more popularity over the past year. Part of the appeal, according to borg-heads, is to prevent hangovers by counteracting the sugar and booze with water and electrolytes. The other part, probably, is that it's fun to carry around a big jug, which feels like an upgrade from drinking something that comes in a bag from a box.

Though it might seem like a potentially dangerous concoction, some harm reduction advocates believe that borg might make drinking slightly less dangerous for college students (though none of them are advocating for binge drinking, obviously). TikTok user Erin Monroe, for example, posted a video outlining the reasons this trend may be safer than diving headfirst into a bacteria-laden frat bathtub of jungle juice:

  • The borg-maker is in control of how much alcohol is going into the jug
  • Drinking from a vessel sealed with a cap might decrease the likelihood of someone spiking the drink and getting away with it unnoticed
  • The jugs are for individual use, which is way less germy than communal cocktails
  • Others, however, are less sure that borgs have any benefit. Ashley Linden-Carmichael, an associate research professor at Penn State's Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center, told Inside Higher Ed, "If someone is having 16 drinks in one sitting, even if it's mixed with water, that still counts as high-intensity or extreme drinking."

    Another expert noted that borgs could be safer, but it's up to the drinker to be aiming for that. If TikTok is any indicator, borg-drinkers are mostly trying to get drunk, which... duh. No one is drinking Burnett's and MiO Liquid Water Enhancer for the nutty notes and hints of stone fruit.

    Ultimately, if you're a college student who's trying to binge drink, you're probably going to find a way to do that with or without a borg. The borg might make it way easier to binge drink, but it might also make it easier to control how much you're drinking, especially if you start with more water than alcohol. Or, if you don't drink at all, a borg could be an easy way to drink water all night without having to answer any questions.

    I don't know what the borg rules are, but do you have to drink the whole thing? Sure, the goal is ostensibly to be in a blackout rage—and maybe I'm being naive here—but there's got to be at least one dorm mini-fridge out there that contains zero vegetables and one half-drunk gallon of borg being saved for later, right?