Long Islanders aren’t ashamed of their namesake drink. That’s probably because, like them, it simply isn’t messing around. That’s right — the Long Island Iced Tea is the kind of drink that eats its steak rare. It’s the kind of drink that can fix your car. Hell, it could probably go straight into the gas tank (read: don’t do this).
That’s because a Long Island Iced Tea is one beast of a beverage. It is an ill-advised experiment on paper: a mixture of five distinct liquors placed in a single glass and expected to get along nicely. And yet, somehow, they do.
That’s because these five spirits — vodka, rum, tequila, gin, and triple sec — somehow find the collective spirit within them all to work together in this cocktail. Maybe it’s the dulcifying effect of the cola and lemon juice. Maybe it’s the wild abandon with which the drink was conceived, somehow honored in an eternal peace treaty between these liquors.
Reasons You Need This Cocktail
Though it sounds more like a dare than a recipe, you probably understand that a Long Island Iced Tea is no joke.
We suggest prioritizing the addition of fresh-squeezed lemon juice when you’re preparing your very own Long Island Iced Tea. The drink is wildly popular in chain restaurants around the country, where failing to squeeze a lemon into it is treated as a Class A Misdemeanor. The sour, citrusy twang of lemon really works wonders on making this drink sing.
Long Island Iced Tea's Strain Pairing
If you’re looking to pair your Long Island Iced Tea with weed, may we suggest the Wedding Cake OG? Citrusy and tangy, this indica-heavy strain will help tamp down some of the drink’s potentially wilder side effects and put you in a calm, happy place.
History of the Long Island Iced Tea
The truth is that we don’t know exactly where the Long Island Iced Tea came from. The good news is that there are a couple of cool possibilities.
The first is a man with the spectacularly NSFW name of Rosebud Butt, who claims to be the inventor of this spectacularly NSFW drink back in the 1970s. Butt says he coined the drink while working at the Oak Beach Inn East on Long Island, where a contest was held to see who could create a new drink out of triple sec. Against 20 other bartenders, Butt won the day with the Long Island Iced Tea. He started with a shot of vodka, gin, rum, tequila, and triple sec, guided by his instinct and aesthetics.
A variation of Long Island Iced Tea may date back to the era of Prohibition. In the United States at this time, people were trying all kinds of things with bootlegged liquor. One such experimenter was Old Man Bishop in Kingsport, Tennessee. The Old Man combined the aforementioned coterie of liquors with maple syrup to sweeten the deal (during this era, booze was generally expected to pack a punch). His son, Ransom Bishop, was the one who supposedly perfected the drink.
Things to note here: both stories are awesome, and all three names are fantastic. Wherever it came from, our friend Rosebud Butt gets the credit in our book. He created a drink that’s strong as an ox but is purely there to show us all a good time.
Long Island Iced Tea Recipe
It’s a delicious, alright-let’s-do-this kind of drink. Its booziness makes it a drink for special occasions and can leave you a bit, well, hungover, as its alcohol-to-mixers ratio is over 4:2. It’s a great summer drink that, like an iced tea, can leave you feeling refreshed and cooled off.
- Prep Time 5 Minutes
- Cook Time 5 Minutes
- Total Time 10 Minutes
- Serves 1-2 People
- Calories 780 kcal
- ½ fl. oz. of vodka
- ½ fl. oz. of rum
- ½ fl. oz. of tequila
- ½ fl. oz. of gin
- ½ fl. oz. of orange-flavored triple sec liqueur
- 1 fl. oz. of sweet and sour mixer
- Around 1 fl. oz. of cola
- 1 lemon slice or fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- The Ice: fill a cocktail shaker to the brim with ice. Ice cubes are best- you want the ice to chill the drink without too much melting.
- The Liquors: pour in ½ fl. oz. of vodka, followed by ½ fl. oz. each of rum, gin, tequila, and triple sec. Pour in your sweet and sour mix, or squeeze a fresh lemon into the shaker. Shake this up to mix everything together. Adding in the sweetener and the lemon juice before you shake is critical.
- The Pour: pour the mix into a hurricane or Collins glass.
- The Color: now comes the cola. You can add just a splash for color and flavor, or you can dilute the drink a bit more for a more, shall we say, palatable taste if you’re not into strong alcohol. Garnish it with a slice of lemon. Note: you can always make a Long Island Iced Tea less strong by going heavier on the cola and backing off a bit on the liquors.