How to Make a Perfect Long Island Iced Tea

How to Make a Perfect Long Island Iced Tea

How to Make a Perfect Long Island Iced Tea

The Long Island Iced Tea is one of the most popular drinks among younger people who like to be, shall we say, efficient with their drinking. It is named because it looks quite similar to a regular iced tea. However, the Long Island Iced Tea usually contains no tea at all and is, in fact, quite a potent cocktail made with vodka, tequila, rum, triple sec, and a bit of cola which gives the drink the amber-hued color reminiscent of iced tea. 

The cocktail is said to have been invented by Robert “Rosebud” Butt, who worked at the Oak Beach Inn on Long Island, New York and entered the cocktail into a contest in 1927. The contest called for original mixed drinks containing triple sec.  This drink’s main ingredient is, in fact, triple sec as well as many other hard liquors. 

If you’ve got a hankering to try Butt’s concoction, you’re in luck: Long Island iced teas are among the simplest mixed drinks to make. The bad news? There isn’t any other than the fact that this drink is really strong, so no matter how good your cocktail turns out, it’s probably best not to go for seconds. Read on for a step-by-step guide to mixing up what may just be one of the most potent cocktails around.


1. Chill your glasses

Stick your glasses in the fridge or freezer for a while, so they are cold when you serve the drink. This will keep the drink cool and prevent the ice from melting too quickly once you serve the cocktail. If you do not have enough time to cool the glasses in your refrigerator, try filling them up with ice water and then emptying them out before serving your cocktail. Beer mugs tend to make great Long Island Iced Tea glasses, but any glass should do. (That said, you want to make sure the ice cubes fit, and this mixed drink tends to be on the more generous side, so wine glasses and champagne flutes are probably too small and not recommended.)


2. Gather the necessary ingredients and appliances

For two glasses of Long Island iced tea, you should have an ounce of vodka, an ounce of tequila (preferably white tequila), an ounce of light rum (preferably white rum), an ounce of triple sec, an ounce of gin, half a cup of cola (i.e, Coke), two cups of ice cubes, two tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice, two lemon wedges, and a cocktail shaker. The classic version of the Long Island iced tea uses equal amounts of all the liquors. Most variations of the cocktail use equal amounts of the main liquors but reduce the amount of triple sec. You might want to try including just half an ounce of triple sec instead of a full ounce.

How to Make a Perfect Long Island Iced Tea

3. Mix your ingredients in the shaker, pour, and serve

Place the ice cubes in a cocktail shaker and pour in the vodka, tequila, rum, triple sec, and gin. Shake vigorously, but not so vigorously that you break the ice. Pour the entire mixt, ice and all, into your chilled glasses. Add the cola to taste (note: many people prefer just a splash of cola rather than a quarter glass). Garnish with the lemon wedges and serve.


4. Variations on the Long Island Iced Tea

There are lots of ways to play with the recipe above to create variations of the cocktail. For a sweet and sour Long Island iced tea, add five ounces of sweet and sour mix and two dashes of Blackstrap bitters to the ingredients above. You can also use Seven-Up or another light soda instead of Coca-Cola or grapefruit tea in lieu of the sweet and sour mix for yet other variations — and finally, one that actually uses tea! For a sweeter and fruitier drink, you can try adding peach schnapps, use orange juice in place of the cola, and garnish with grenadine instead of lemon wedges.


Given how many hard liquors go into a Long Island iced tea, it should come as no surprise that the drink is quite strong, and will get you drunk pretty fast. So enjoy it with caution!

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