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Harlem Leaders Call For Crackdown On ‘Nutcrackers’

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) – On the streets of Harlem, everybody knows what “nutcracker” is — a powerful mix of hard liquors and fruit juices.

“People created their own drink,” one man told 1010 WINS Terry Sheridan. “Take one type of liquor, another type and you mix it together.”

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports

The drink was traditionally made in drums and with a base of 160 proof vodka and Bacardi 151 it packs quite the punch. Cordials, Kool-Aid and sometimes even candy was thrown in to the drink to give it some character.

While the drink, which some have compared to moonshine, has long been a staple of block parties, it has now become part of the underground economy. The sweet liquor drink is sold illegally on the streets in sealed plastic bottles or Styrofoam cups for $5.

Parents and pastors say they are worried about the drink’s potency, popularity with teens and easy availability. The summer heat and economic burn have increased its visibility in the area.

Police say officers have issued summonses to stores and individuals caught selling the drink. Also, people caught buying the drink have been issued summonses for having an open container of alcohol.

Though the drink can be found in neighborhoods in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, it has had widespread popularity this summer particularly in Harlem and Washington Heights.

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