The phrase "drinking the Kool-Aid" refers to the 1978 Jonestown massacre, in which more than 900 people committed mass suicide by drinking a flavored drink mixed with Valium, chloral hydrate, cyanite, and Phenergan....Since Vox is well-known for creative sponsored content, do you think this is maybe a sponsored news story by Kraft Foods? It does seem odd to me that the article spends a sizable amount of time discouraging readers from using the phrase, "drink the Kool-Aid." Anyway, as my label, "don't drink the tea" indicates, I think the phrase is useful as a way to call into question group-think.
The surprising thing is that all the sources on the massacre say the powder was the grape variety of another drink brand, Flavor Aid. Made by Jel-Sert, Flavor Aid appeared in one of the first newspaper reports on the massacre. The claim is repeated in the 1982 book Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People. And surviving witnesses said that Flavor Aid was the drink used, not Kool-Aid.
With the evidence so clear, why did the phrase "drinking the Kool-Aid" emerge? Mental Floss suggests Kool-Aid's role as being a genericized name for all flavored drinks, the popularity of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and other factors made it easier to remember "Kool-Aid" than "Flavor Aid."