Last year, even the New York Times took note of the illegal booze that gets sold uptown in New York City. In an article titled "In Harlem, a Hint of a Previous Era as Peddlers Stealthily Quench a Thirst" Gray Lady reportage illuminated the booze black market we've all been indulging in for years. Not everyone can be first to a story.

They're called nutcrackers—a sweet, highlighter-colored blend of alcohol and juice—and if you've drank one,  you've been twisted. Probably you were twisted when you passed the crumpled fiver to the dude peddling the drink. Imagine that you're riding the train after a night out. It's nearly 5 a.m. but you're still wide awake, wild-eyed, thirsty. You're very drunk and when a man comes through the train doors with a loud voice and a small rolling suitcase full of bright drinks, you take notice.

His spiel is simple: It's a quarter to five (Your cell phone, which you clumsily remove from your pocket, confirms this). Your liquor store is closed. If you have five dollars, I'll be your liquor store.  (He holds out a drink, Limited Too pink and in a sealed plastic container. Later, you'll wonder how he sealed the bottles so professionally.)

Fast-forward to you raising savage hell, your roommate waking up with sleep-congested eyes, nothing but squints and mussed hair. You're thumbing the volume on the stereo louder by spinning the dial on your mp3 player. "Look at Me Now" gets stupid loud. You finish shouting Wayne's verse, you finish your nutcracker, but your drunk isn't finished with you and neither is your roommate. You exchange words you won't remember. Unprecented is one word for this condition.

In the morning, all that's left is the empty plastic bottle and orange cap. You can't find your pants. Your roommate loudly prepares a breakfast that you won't be invited to partake in.


Complex spoke with some uptown insiders for a nutcracker recipe. Here goes:

1 part Bacardi 151

1 part Bacardi Gold

Devil's Springs Vodka


Southern Comfort

Pineapple Juice

Rose's Lime Juice


Typically these drinks are prepared in the large blue jugs businesses stock filtered water in. This explains why the directions are so vague. Also, everyone makes the drink in a different way. There are reports of lean and other interesting substances finding their way into recipes. Be careful out there. This is just one recipe. Experiment, and hit us back with advice on perfecting the mixture. We're listening.

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Photos via New York Times and Eater.