Craig Howe's Slurp Juice recipe is pretty simple. One part Gatorade (“Glacial Blue” flavor), one part milk, one part toothpaste. Stir together in a mason jar, and set it on top of a pair of LED lights for that nutritious, ultra-luminescent glow.
Slurp Juice is one of the more useful power-ups a player can pick up in Fortnite, the ridiculously popular shooter game that's taken over every middle school playground across the galaxy. When consumed in the game, the juice will slowly grant you health and boost your shield over the course of 75 seconds, making you far less vulnerable to attack in battle. Obviously, Howe's concoction did not magically boost his vitality, but he did do a good job of mirroring the brew's frothy, aquamarine aesthetics.
"It didn't actually taste that bad," says Howe, over a Skype call from his native United Kingdom. "It tasted like when you eat something sweet after brushing your teeth."
Howe runs a small YouTube show called Howesenberg, where he publishes a variety of content that covers the breadth of the gaming industry. For the most part, his videos earn a measly 100-or-so views, which is a familiar reality for the many, many anonymous channels bouncing around the darkened seas of that platform. Naturally, the lone exception is his Slurp Juice instructional, which resembles one of those Tasty Facebook videos in format, and has gathered a comparatively astronomical 64,000 clicks since it hit the web last December. It was Howe's first taste of virality, and served as fundamental proof that Fortnite mania knows no bounds, even when it requires a grown man to drink toothpaste-spiked Gatorade.
Of course, the internet being the internet, Howe's success spurred up a legion of imitators, eager to gin up their own adoptive Slurp Juices for eager preteens and their iPads. A hypebeast named Dylan Hawkins made his melange with coffee creamer and a blend of teal and dark blue Gatorade; RNJ Cocktails created an alcoholic version of the drink, which looks like it could create some truly nightmarish hangovers; and massive channels like The King of Random have done their own spin with much higher production values. Howe was peeved enough by the ingrates to edit the description on his original video with a disclaimer stating, "THE ORIGINAL CREATOR OF REAL SLURP JUICE." He tells me that sometimes he sees people repurposing his image of his homebrew Slurp Juice wholecloth for their thumbnails, which is about as frustrating as it is predictable.
"I was obsessively refreshing YouTube to see how many people were using the image," remembers Howe. "At first, I was getting mad, because it's not nice to feel credit given to someone else for something you made. But then I got over it, because that's YouTube in its essence."
I don't know what it says about 2018, and online content in general, that a genuine cutthroat rat race can be summoned up through YouTubers who are trying to replicate a potion from a video game IRL.
It's a bit shocking to consider just how much influence Fortnite holds, and the strange, cottage industry of hucksters it's left in its wake. But god bless Craig Howe; I hope he continues to come up with perfectly calculated SEO schemes long after his Slurp Juice tribute fades into history.
At the end of our call, I ask him if he has any warnings he'd give to the kids who might be watching his video, and who decide to alchemize their dairy products and energy drinks on their own time in order to boost their own organic Shield Meters. Clearly, this is something best left to the professionals.
"The only thing you'll get is a brain freeze," laughs Howe. "Unfortunately, it didn't improve my Fortnite gameplay—I'm still doing just as bad as I did before."
This article originally appeared on Munchies US.