High school warns of kids getting wasted on vanilla extract

Photo: tycoon751 (iStock)

Given that vanilla extract is 35-percent alcohol, we guess it’s not too surprising to discover that some kids are finding uses for it other than baking. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Atlanta’s Grady High School points to Trader Joe’s Pure Bourbon Vanilla Extract in particular, which probably draws the kids because it has the word “bourbon” in it. Some kids, the school notes, are buying the vanilla at the nearby Trader Joe’s and then pouring large quantities of it into the coffee they buy at the Starbuck’s across the street from the school. In a statement, the school administration stresses:

This is not an indictment of Trader Joe’s at all, but parents please be aware that this product contains 35 percent alcohol and we have discovered that some students have consumed this intoxicant. Another thing to keep an eye out for.

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Since Trader Joe’s Bourbon Vanilla Extract retails at about $9, along with about $4 for the coffee, this is not an inexpensive underage cocktail. But drinking vanilla extract to get wasted isn’t exactly a new thing: Who among us could forgot Tom Hanks as Family Ties’ alcoholic Uncle Ned, announcing, “It may not be Miller Time, but it is vanilla time.” The AJC reports that at least least one Grady student has had to go to the ER “as a result of drinking the vanilla-spiked coffee,” so as the school says to parents of teens: add vanilla extract to the things to keep under lock and key.

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About the author

Gwen Ihnat

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.