After a high-profile crackdown last summer, nutcracker has made a return. But not necessarily on city beaches, where crowds have been sparse due to poor weather, a swimming ban, and concerns about public transportation. Instead, the highly potent fruit punches– sold in 8-ounce or 16-ounce bottles– have crept onto the menus of local drinking establishments. With restaurants now allowed to serve booze to-go, several licensed establishments have started appropriating a drink usually sold illicilty out of coolers on the beach, in the subway, or on street corners. To find out whether bar-bought nutcrackers and their frozen counterparts, phrosties, pack the same punch, we uncapped a few.
Banana Hammock at Rocka Rolla – $15
486 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg
This blend of banana rum, coconut rum, pineapple juice and coconut milk tastes like Curious George’s spin on a pina colada. It’s served frozen, “phrostie”-style, with a lifesaving mini-bag of Lay’s potato chips.
Blue Hawaiian at Boys Don’t Cry – $8
22 Orchard St, Lower East Side
Our taste-tester described this– another pina colada variant– as “super torelable [sic],” which speaks to both its smoothness and its potency.
Butterscotch at Skinny Dennis – $10
152 Metropolitan Ave,, Williamsburg
Loaded with RumChata, this one is creamy and dessert-like– as if you’d dumped high-proof booze and a few Werther’s Originals into an horchata from one of the nearby taco trucks. Served with a small bag of chips.
Purple Drink at Sweet Chick – $10
164 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg
If you prefer a smooth sipper over a mind-stripper, the grape juice in this one is definitely a cut above Little Hug Fruit Barrels and the gin is barely detectable.
Sour Apple at Lucky Dog – $15
303 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg
Asked what’s in this, the bartender at Williamsburg’s Lucky Dog said “couldn’t tell ya.” Our best guess: Jolly Ranchers and shame juice.
Pineapple Orange Creamsicle at Do or Dive – $10
1108 Bedford Ave, Bed-Stuy
“All of the nutcrackers have vodka and Everclear,” the bartender informed us at Bed-Stuy’s Do or Dive. You can definitely taste the rotgut in this tart, head-spinning take on a creamsicle. Served with a mini-bag of Cheetos.