I consider myself to be extremely impressionable. Were I to get pushed into a timeshare meeting, I’d leave with a timeshare. I know, deep down, that I could probably get involved with a cult for similar reasons. Because of this, I avoid both timeshare meetings and suspicious spiritual groups. Unfortunately, however, I don’t avoid TikTok. This has led me to pursue a variety of absolutely idiotic endeavors. Case in point: the “hoetein” shake. I saw one single TikTok of a man mixing Hennessy and protein powder and thought to myself, “I’ll be on my deathbed regretting this for life if I don’t try it.” Now, here I am, about to try a hoetein shake for myself.
The premise is simple — mix alcohol with protein powder, and voila, you’ve got a hoetein shake. One could hypothetically drink it under any circumstance, though the TikTok in question involved downing one before weightlifting. In the video, @fathergainz combines what appears to be at least four ounces of Hennessy, maybe more, in a pint glass along with several scoops of vanilla whey protein. He ends up switching it to a bowl and eating it from there. In one of his other videos, he uses Jack Daniels. In a third, he swaps protein powder for whole milk and calls it “hilk.” He even drinks a Four Loko with four egg whites and calls it a “Four Yolko.” This man is really thinking at a level most of us could only dream of, and frankly, it’s inspiring.
“I’d say it’s about 50/50 on whether I’m drinking them before or after a workout,” @fathergainz tells me of his concoctions. “If it’s the weekend, I’ll usually just throw on a Nickelback playlist during the pregame and chug it before hitting the bars. I personally don’t feel any discernible impact from drinking, but I’m currently bulking. I’m low-key convinced that Henny is an anabolic [muscle-building] substance at this point.” (To be clear, it’s definitely not.)
I, however, have different goals. I’m not trying to get swole — I’m just trying to increase my protein intake because I hear it’s good for me. I also like to experiment with alcohol. Still, I’m a true believer in “safety first,” so I followed up with MEL’s resident fitness expert Ian Douglass to make sure drinking a hoetein shake wouldn’t kill me. “I’ve heard of alcohol being mixed with far worse things,” he tells me. “The only danger on the nutrition side would be how the body prioritizes the breakdown of alcohol into acetate, so a lot of the surplus calories jump straight to fat storage.”
This isn’t dangerous or even a big deal, but if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s something to consider. The bigger concern, Douglass continues, is drinking alcohol with more calorically intense meals. “This is more of an issue when someone orders two huge drinks at the Cheesecake Factory before going to town on an appetizer, entree and dessert,” he says. “The largest downside would be if you drank protein with alcohol on a daily basis — then the damage done by the alcohol would be associated with the protein powder. I suppose the upside would be if you were going to drink the alcohol anyway, you could get some additional protein added to your diet, provided you were working from a protein deficit to begin with.”
All in all, then, it’s not too different from drinking some red wine as you eat a steak (it’s just expediting the experience in a far more horrific manner). So, assured of my safety, I went forth with my venture. I mixed one ounce of Fistful of Bourbon whiskey (the closest thing I had to Henny) with a scoop of vegan chocolate protein powder (the closest thing I had to vanilla whey protein). I put it all in a little bowl and stirred it up with a spoon. I decided to eat it that way, just as @fathergainz did on TikTok.
It was… deeply unpleasant. I audibly gagged when I smelled it. Taking shots of whiskey makes me cringe anyway, but the addition of protein powder makes it even harder to swallow. It still tasted more like whiskey than protein powder, which itself isn’t that incredible of a flavor. I could only consume about two spoonfuls before giving up.
Still, I have nothing but admiration for @fathergainz. He’s far stronger than me not only physically, but mentally. I’ll likely continue to consume both protein powder and whiskey, but they’ll remain separate from now on. The hotein shake is real, and while I was impressionable enough to try it, I am simply not hoe enough to continue.