Introducing the favorite drink of Lagos' Science Students

Skoochies is one of those cocktails cut from the same cloth as monkey tail or that heinous thing known simply as ‘mixture’. The difference is that it has a lot more international exposure.

The options are too numerous; it could be something regular like coke and gin or something you’ve never heard of, like the mythical Omi Gutter.

Or it could just be skoochies.

Skoochies is one of those locally-made cocktails cut from the same cloth as drinks like monkey tail or that heinous thing known simply as ‘mixture’. The only difference is that it has a bit more class.

The red coloured drink is made by mixing gin, fresh lime juice, cranberry juice or zobo, depending on how lucky you are, and the juice from boiled marijuana.

It is sold for anything between 500 naira and 5000 naira per cup, depending on what side of Third Mainland Bridge you may find yourself on.

Like all things from Lagos, it is somewhat hard to distinguish between where it started and who is claiming responsibility for it.

Almost everyone agrees that it started in the same place where Afrobeat still lives on.

Afrika Shrine's signature drink

In Afrika Shrine, skoochies is the official drink of Fela’s sons and daughters. It is said that the drink was first made and sold in large quantities there. It would not be surprising.

In a place where everyone from Jamiu, the roadside mechanic to Dr Pascal from the University of Lagos smokes marijuana while facing a large sign that says “DRUGS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE SHRINE", you will find barmen carrying bottles around in trays offering you highness in a small cup.

From the strength of Afrika Shrine’s clientele, skoochies can now be found in most bars and spots around Lagos.

During its travels from Ikeja, the drink has dropped many ingredients and added some, depending on the location and the taste of the mixer.

Skoochies is a cocktail, so the basic ingredients are open to interpretation.

In Victoria Island, skoochies looks like it packed its bags for the weekend in 2015, went on a small break in the United Kingdom and refused to come back.

Highbrow bars sell the drink as a mixture of vodka or gin, cranberry, tropical flavourings, lime and anything else, as long as it was not made in Nigeria.

In some places like Ketu, marijuana is the most important member of the family. The quantity of juice from boiled marijuana overpowers everything else, so much that the drink has a very green shade.

Are you a Science Student?

Even that is a far cry from places like Oshodi or Mushin.

Like you would expect, people, especially students of chemistry and physics have found a way to spoil a perfectly good thing.

Whoever writes the chemical properties of codeine on medical websites must not have found it settled at the bottom of what is supposed to be a cup of skoochies, supported by other drinks like Bajinotu or Action Bitters.

This sort of deathly concoction could only be made by the people Olamide refers to as “Science Students”. A sip could drop you in an alternate universe, where science subjects are more important than life itself and you have to keep mixing to stay alive.

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Telling you what this drink can do to you would be futile, considering the fact that Wizkid has already said what needs to be said.

In an interview with Beats 1’s Ebro Darden, Wizkid told the radio host what he could expect to do on a trip to the city of his birth.

“We go to Fela’s shrine just to drink Skoochies…that shit is gonna knock you out men, that shit is gonna send you to sleep”., he laughed.

No lies here.

One drink, many uses

Even though it is doused with what could pass as soft drinks, skoochies packs a massive punch that makes it a favourite for many of the Lagosians that simply want to zone out and blur the lines between reality and what goes on in their heads.

Somewhere between the meeting of all that marijuana and the alcohol, some believe that a shot of skoochies improves sexual prowess.

“If you take one cup, guy, you go dey well”, says Dayo, an accountant who frequents Afrika Shrine on Saturdays, Sundays and anytime he gets the chance, “Na why I dey buy the bottle for house, I no fit dey rush go shrine everytime wey babe dey come”.

Some use skoochies because the high that it brings comes with a wave of aggressiveness. On street corners in Ojuelegba, you will find motor park touts cancelling cups of skoochies mixed with other substances that only them and God can identify.

Apart from the extra spring in their step, they use it to prepare for a day in a life where you can be filled with joy and merriment, until a well-built conductor slaps the happiness off your face for no real reason.

The wide range of people that use skoochies means that it is subject to different uses in the end. Among older people, it is not unusual to find a bottle of palm wine collaborating with the cocktail.

For some, skoochies is not enough to make them take them to the heights they want so they mix other alcoholic beverages like stout, lager beer or brandy.

That’s why science students like skoochies so much, because depending on how you’re feeling at any time of the day, you can mix it with anything you wantor just recreate the skoochies on your own terms, because there are no rules and even if there were, you’d be too intoxicated to make any sense of them.

It is weird that nobody, at least as far as we know, has considered putting skoochies in a well-branded bottle and selling it at prices we cannot afford but that may not even matter.

International Local

The drink is already widely consumed and like all things that can get you high, Nigerian musicians have paid tribute.

Olamide, ever the disciple of the streets he so fervently represents, has been singing about skoochies since he got high on the cocktail and Alomo and made “Stupid Love”.

In 2016, street-hop singer, Asha Gangali, also known as Ostopolos, released a song in honour of the drink, aptly titled “Skoochies”, off his #KalakutaStateOfMindEP.

Rapper Ms Chief also offered her own tribute in form of a song titled “Skushi” in honour of the drink (which everyone seems to spell in different ways).

On the other hand, musicians of international repute like Wizkid and BurnaBoy do not hesitate to mention it in the same breath as marijuana or Hennessy.

There have been reports of persons having seizures after drinking some variant of skoochies, and therein lies the risk.

Depending on where you go, you may be drinking something that the mixer only sees as a good idea but your liver and circulatory system do not really agree with.

There’s no real way, short of abstaining from this drink, to prevent such messy outcomes, besides getting the drink from trusted vendors or mixing it yourself.

The latter is riskier; except for certified mixologists, mixing alcoholic drinks can have disastrous consequences such as alcohol poisoning.

One second, you’re a responsible paragon of society, then you buy cranberry juice and gin, and Olamide’s Science Student starts playing in your head.

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