Following in the esteemed, alcoholic tradition of Four Loko and the bootleg concoctions known locally as nutcrackers, the Phrostie became the latest illegal booze craze to hit New York City, available for the last few months via a 24/7 Instagram-based delivery service, not unlike a tech-era drug deal. It didn’t take long for wild tales of Phrostie-drinking to surface, the excitement stoked by its mysterious distribution mechanism, with people claiming they were “borderline hallucinogenic” and may or may not contain opiate cough syrup.
Right on cue, Senator Chuck Schumer railed against the illicit drink, and the State Liquor Authority pledged to investigate. (After going mainstream just in time for summer, the Phrostie account was disabled late last month.) Meanwhile, with its proprietors laying low, DIY recipes for the alcoholic slushie have popped up alongside accounts of wild parties fueled by the $10 “psycho juice.” Knockoffs have even started to appear on Bushwick bar menus. (Just last week, Anchored Inn was serving a “Cosmo Phostie.”)
But despite lawmaker’s outrage and the drunken Phrostie war stories, lab analysis commissioned by Daily Intelligencer shows Phrosties are not actually that alcoholic, nor do they seem to contain any weird drugs. Also, there’s a lot of sugar.
Last week, we sent a Phrostie sample to EuTech Scientific Services lab in Highland Park, New Jersey. Using a process of deformulation — high-tech reverse engineering — the scientists, led by Dr. Raghvendra Sahai, measured the sample for the percentage of alcohol, sugar, and codeine through chromatography, a technique used to separate and measure liquids.
EuTech found the sample was 12.3 percent alcohol, or 25 proof, approximately the same as wine, plus 5.9 percent sugar. The lab did not detect any Codeine. Here’s the proof:
The sugar results (it’s got all the good stuff):
And your alcohol content. No drugs! All placebo:
“This is a very clean alcohol, and very transparent,” Dr. Sahai said. “Vodkas, rums, and whiskeys are all very clean. I think the owner must be playing safe, and the safest thing is take Kool-Aid, or something like that, some standard alcohol, Bacardi, and then mix the two together, with ice. It seems like that’s what they’re doing.”
In other words, go ahead and try this at home.