Food by VICE

Are Oakland's Black Market Summer Cooler Cocktails the New Phrosties?

Authorities in California have cited an Oakland resident for selling candy-topped, booze-filled mason jars called "Summer Coolers" out of her home without a liquor license.

by Munchies Staff
Mar 12 2015, 7:59pm

Photo via Summer Coolers Instagram.

You may have heard tell of the Phrostie—the short-lived, homemade booze creation that was available for purchase (illegally, of course) for a few short months in New York City last summer. One undiscerning drinker who managed to taste them before the operation shut down described them as "like drinking frozen Kool-Aid, mixed with Red Bull and spiked with 150-proof Everclear."

Now comes news from the opposite coast, where a similar operation may have just met its end. According to SFGate, authorities in California have cited Oakland resident Waynesha Stroman for selling candy-topped, booze-filled mason jars called "Summer Coolers" out of her home without a liquor license.

Shortly before the crackdown, a team of journalists from a local CBS affiliate decided to buy a round of the cocktails to see for themselves what was in them. "After ordering four vodka coolers, a KPIX 5 crew drove over to pick them up at an address on Mcintyre street in East Oakland, and our production assistant was sent in. Minutes later, she came out carrying four mason jars filled to the brim," reporter Cate Cauguiran writes. "And these are no Shirley Temples. Under all the candies each jar is full of Ciroc Vodka. We tasted them, before pouring them out."

After the police arrived, Stroman's mother said that the whole thing was merely a mix-up. "We don't sell alcohol in our summer coolers, our summer coolers are complete fruit candy juice," she told the KPIX 5 crew.

Much like Phrosties, Summer Coolers have been advertised through social media, though the Instagram account supposedly associated with Stroman looks like it's been scrubbed since the cops and a state liquor regulators paid her a visit on Friday. KPIX 5 notes, "Following the police sting the summer coolers Instagram site has undergone a magical transformation. It now features tons of little kids drinking coolers and smiling."

But a look back at a Twitter account named @Summercoolers—which hasn't been updated since October—suggests that the drinks have had booze in them all along. "Yess We also have Virgin Drinks for the kids #TeamSummerCoolers" says one from July of last year. "Top Of the Line Liquor ONLY!!!" says another.

And even though Summer Coolers' Instagram account only features smiling kiddies and zero references to alcohol now, other Instagram users have posted photos of alarmingly similar-looking, candy-topped drinks to their own accounts. In the comments of one image, a user describes her drink: "Lol it's like a slushy with alcohol and candy."


A photo posted by @mayraww_ on

Another user posted a photo of a drink that looks almost exactly like one posted by the @Summercoolers Twitter account, with a "shot in the cup, shot in the straw."

Shot in the cup , shot in the straw ♡. @summer_coolers #onpoint #onlock . A photo posted by JANE DOE (@jaaaaymamas_) on

Yet another mentions in the comments of her post that she got her beverage at the exact Oakland address listed in SFGate's report.

Taste like candy #summercoolers @summer_coolers

A photo posted by Ashley Tolliver (@ashtea_) on

In the end, it doesn't matter if these candy-filled jars of alcohol are the same or not. With the operation presumably on hold for the time being, we'll have find another way to drink enough to sound like Diane Sawyer this season.