The “alcohol bomb” has become more popular among young Korean people, raising concerns about possible harmful effects on the body. In Korea, alcohol bombs have usually been made with the combination of whiskey and beer or soju and beer, but the new version — called a “caffeine bomb” — consists of strong alcohol, energy drinks, vitamin drinks and occasionally a sports drink.
Young Korean people make and drink caffeine bombs in order to stay wide awake all night without getting tired. The energy drink usually is known to have a high level of caffeine to awaken the body. By mixing alcohol and the energy drink, people can feel the effects of alcohol without getting tired. Some people even add vitamin drinks or sports drinks, because they believe it would minimize any harmful effects on the body.
The caffeine bomb first started to be made around Hongik University area in Seoul, one of the popular night areas for young people, but now it is spreading all over Seoul.
Hyun Ji-sook, a 24-year-old student, said, ‘I can be awake all night taking this drink. It gives me energy to have fun at the club. There are sometimes you want to drink and dance all night, especially on Friday night. When you feel like that, this drink will definitely help you.’
People aren’t just making their caffeine bombs, either.
‘The caffeine bomb accounts for about 40 percent of sales volume last month. I have seen a lot of customers from remote areas who visited my bar to get this drink,’ bar owner Jang Tae-ha said.
With the growing popularity of the caffeine bomb, some medical experts are expressing their concerns. An alcohol addiction treatment expert, Dr. Jeon Yong-jun, said in an interview with Korean newspaper Hankook Ilbo, ‘The alcohol is a problem in itself, but since caffeine raises the heart rate, if you consume too much, it can have harmful effects on your heart and blood vessels.’
However, it is expected that the number of people turning to the caffeine bomb will increase. Since there are not any laws that prohibit people from making caffeine bombs, it is easy for people to make and drink it. In addition, many alcohol producers are reluctant to let people know possible dangers of the caffeine bomb because they believe it might decrease sales volume of their products.