Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Nutcracker

I took a trip down to Coney Island with Momma-san and the kids for a day of fun in the sun and surf. We had a very good time and decided to have a few impromptu cocktails on the beach. Now keep in mind that it is illegal to drink alcoholic beverages on NYC beaches and public places but that never stops those intrepid to drink and sell said beverages from trying. So while I was in the water, Momma-san bought what was known as a Nutcracker. Now here's a little back history when it comes to the Nutcracker.

As late as September of 2010 the New York Times had published an article from Trymaine Lee entitled In Harlem, a Hint of a Previous Era as Peddlers Stealthily Quench a Thirst in which Lee describes what Nutcrackers are and what is their purpose as a throwback to the old bootlegged liquor of Prohibition. Now keep in mind, this isn't quite bathtub gin but the drinks are being made with a variety of unknown liquors and flavors to make a drink that is being sold illegally on the streets and in my case the beaches. It can be quite dangerous and you choose to purchase and consume these at your own risk. Given that disclaimer, here is a quick description of what Nutcrackers are from the article:
“It's definitely a summer drink, and I try to serve them as cold as possible,” said a regular nutcracker seller, a man in his early 30s who goes by the name of Kool-Aid and asked that his full name not be published. “It's a fruity drink, so you don’t have to sip it with your face all scrunched up; you feel really nice without getting totally bombed out.”

The man said he made six gallons at a time in a big plastic water cooler jug, mixing 160-proof Devil’s Springs vodka, 151-proof Bacardi 151 rum, Amaretto, whatever sweet liqueur he had on hand and a variety of juices depending on the desired flavor, including cranberry, mango, pineapple and peach nectar.
After reading that I cringed. LOL. Luckily for me I ignorance was bliss as I drank the Nutcracker. On a side note, as told to me by Kelli, the Nutcracker resembles her River Elixer. Based on its consistency actually resembles the one I made since it is very light in color and it's not very "fruit punchy". But no doubt it is probably just as silent but deadly in its potency as hers. In the little plastic bottles, it reminded me of the quarter water drinks we used to get on our way to and from school back in the late 1980's and early 1990's. For those of you who don't know what quarter waters are check out the picture below. So what did I think about the Nutcracker?


Like Kool-Aid says in the article it was a definitely a fruity drink that I didn't quite have to sip and did get me bombed out. LOL. You can't even tell that there was booze in there and it snuck up on me. What's funny is that I went to sleep at 10:30 p.m. and woke up the next day at 10:30 a.m. For those of you who know me, no way do I ever sleep for 12 hours straight. Why do I think that it's funny?

When we bought the Nutcrackers on the beach, a woman named Jackie who was sitting next to us told us that she thinks they put Ny-Quil in the drink. The last time she drank them on the beach, she said she fell asleep on for about two hours straight and was only awoke by some guys who wanted to talk to her and her friend. My friend Elizabeth up in the Pac NW of the previously posted Good Morning shot also mentioned if it had Ny-Quil in it. Based on my slumber I guess Ny-Quil is the secret ingredient. LOL. Any other Nutcracker stories out there you all want to share? Let me know.

Until Then Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla