Irn-Bru is a caution-orange energy soda by way of Barr soft drinks here in Scotland, where us locals swear by its rejuvenating power during the morning after a few to many single-malts and a deep-fried fish supper. To fit in with other food products from the heart-attack capital of the world, such as boiled sheep stomach and ham-injected egg half-shells, Irn-Bru has been engineered by stimulant experts to deliver the biggest punch per drop as is (legally) possible. So much so in fact, that the secret energy-inducing ingredients go by the puzzling pseudonym “flavourings,” unlike the “Taurine” , “Rejuvenizine” and “Steroidizone” of carbonated energy drinks from the super-sized country that is the USA. But the end result is similar: a smooth concoction that is overwhelmingly chemical and eyeball-opening.
The problem is, the “flavourings” in Irn-Bru are devastatingly addicting. Morphine-like, crystal-meth-style addicting. During the first day of Freshers week at Uni, a drinking pal and I hit up on tiny wee aluminum cans of the Tang-orange stuff the morning after a Tennents-fuelled night on our kilty town. It hit the spot. hangover? What hangover?
Another night and another session in the union. The next morning we were buying one 2-litre apiece for morning, noon, and night. After three days, we were foregoing the booze to concentrate solely on the Irn-Bru, which we consumed until we were bouncing off the halls of residence walls, cheering maniacally during re-runs of over-forties doubles matches at Wimbledon. We wrecked our friend’s house common space in our Irn-induced enthusiasm for the elderly athletes, and he became temporarily homeless. After a day of street-sitting and Scottish-syrup-swigging, with our hearts beating electric and our pupils popping, we decided to give up the hard stuff and rely on good old fashioned American Coca-Cola to detox.
For those who dream of the good old days when amphetamines were just a twist of the cap away, head down to your local corner shop and pick up a bottle of the best Scottish product since the first haggis was caught by William Wallace during the battle of Falkirk. Any country that gets twelve straight months of stormy weather has to be some sort of expert on chemical diversion, and Irn-Bru is the glowing, medicinal embodiment of the rainy desire to kill oneself before one’s time, and as quickly as bloody possible.