How to make Long Island Iced Tea and some variations
Long Island ice tea

Who is brave enough to fancy a Long Island Iced Tea?

The Long Island Iced Tea has very little to do with tea (other than a vague resemblance in colour) and isn’t a cocktail for the fainthearted or the meek! With a 22% higher alcohol concentration than most highball drinks, the Long Island Iced Tea can easily turn a fun night out into feeling like a castaway the next morning!

Robert Butt, while working at the Oak Beach Inn on Long Island, claims to have invented the Long Island Iced Tea as an entry in a contest to create a new mixed drink with Triple Sec in 1972.

A slightly different drink is claimed to have been invented in the 1920s during Prohibition in the United States by an “Old Man Bishop” in a local community named Long Island in Kingsport, Tennessee.

The potent secret lies in the fact that it comprises five different spirits with very little mixer. A typical Long Island Iced Tea is made with vodka, tequila, light rum, Triple Sec (an orange-flavoured liqueur), gin, and a splash of cola (hence the amber hue resembling iced tea).

One of the more known versions of the cocktail mixes equal parts vodka, tequila, gin, rum, Triple Sec, with 1 plus 0.5 parts sour mix, and a splash of cola. The cocktail is then decorated with a lemon and straw.

How to make a Long Island Iced Tea

This is how you make a Long Island Iced Tea. You will need the following fresh ingredients:

  • 1 tot (25ml) lemon juice
  • 1 tot simple syrup
  • 1 tot Triple Sec orange liqueur
  • 1 tot 1st Principles Vodka
  • 1 tot white rum
  • 1 tot silver tequila
  • 1 tot 1st Principles Gin
  • 30ml cola
  • 1 cup of ice
  • Garnish: lemon slice
Long Island ice tea

Add the vodka, rum, tequila, gin, Triple Sec, simple syrup and lemon juice to a Collins glass filled with ice. Top up with a splash of cola for colour and stir briefly. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

Some Long Island Iced Tea variations

Here are some variations and suggestions to the Long Island Iced Tea:

  • The Grateful Dead (aka Purple Rain) uses the traditional mix, but replaces the Triple Sec with a shot of Chambord and the cola with lemon-lime soda.
  • The Adios Motherfucker sees the Triple Sec being replaced with Blue Curaçao, and lemon-lime soda substituting the cola.
  • The Long Beach Iced Tea sees the cola being replaced with cranberry juice, resulting in a reddish colour.
  • The Tokyo Iced Tea is the result when Triple Sec is replaced with Midori, and lemon-lime soda replaces the Coca-Cola, resulting in a greenish coloured cocktail.

This versatile drink offers a selection of interesting twists and turns, but be warned, although islands are fun destinations, the Long Island Iced Tea may potentially feel like someone dropped a coconut on your head, so always enjoy it with caution!