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TIP OF THE DAY: Make A Long Island Iced Tea

June is National Iced Tea Month, and June 10th is National Iced Tea Day. So enjoy a tall, cold iced tea.

If you prefer something with a kick, you can add lemon or orange liqueur, some tequila or vodka, or your favorite whiskey.

Or, you can make a Long Island Iced Tea, which contains no iced tea but is an homage. It gets its name because it resembles an iced tea.

Long Island Ice Tea first surfaced—according to the leading story—in the late 1970s. It was concocted by a bartender at the Oak Beach Inn, which had two locations on the east end of Long Island, New York.

Another claim is that the drink dates back to the 1920s during Prohibition,* invented in a river island community called Long Island in Kingsport, Tennessee (details).


Long Island Iced Tea, so named because it looks just like…iced tea! Photo by A41cats | Dreamstime.


*Prohibition Trivia: Prohibition began with the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which outlawed the manufacture and sale of liquor from January 17, 1920 until the amendment was repealed in 1933 (the only instance in U.S. history of a full repeal of a constitutional amendment). Drinking itself was never illegal, just manufacture and sale; and there were exceptions for medicinal and religious uses.

For 13 long years of Prohibition, which saw the rise of organized crime and bootlegging, it was common to disguise cocktails as non-alcoholic drinks, lest neighbors or law enforcement officials catch you enjoying a cocktail.


Long Island Iced Tea is a highball made with equal parts of gin, rum, tequila and vodka, combined with sour mix and a splash of cola. Some popular variations use equal parts of the main liquors but include a smaller amount of triple sec or other orange liqueur. Others replace the tequila with brandy, the sour mix with lemon juice (which we prefer), add white crème de menthe—and even replace the cola with actual iced tea.

Sometimes, changing the ingredients changes the name. See the numerous variations below.

Long Island Iced Tea has a much higher alcohol concentration than most cocktails (about 22%) due to the combination of five spirits and the relatively small amount of mixer. Some hardy souls order it “extra long,” which can double the alcohol to mixer ratio. Whew!


Long Island Iced Tea. Photo by Caartic | Wikimedia.



Ingredients For Two Drinks

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce rum
  • 1 ounce tequila
  • 1 ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur (Cointreau, triple sec, etc.)
  • 5 ounces sweet and sour mix (we prefer to substitute 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice)
  • 2 ounces cola
  • Garnish: 2 lemon or lime wedges

    1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add spirits and sweet and sour mix. Shake well.

    2. Add a few fresh ice cubes to a highball glass and strain in the drink.

    3. Top with the cola, and garnish with the wedge of lime.



    Here’s a list of variations, from Wikipedia, many of which substitute something else for the cola:

  • Alaskan Iced Tea: Blue Curaçao is substituted for cola.
  • Beverly Hills Iced Tea: Champagne is substituted for cola.
  • Black Opal: Popular in Seattle and Portland, Oregon, lime soda is substituted for cola, and Chambord raspberry liqueur is added.
  • Bondi Iceberg or Electric Iced Tea: Blue Curaçao is substituted for triple sec, Sprite is substituted for cola.
  • California Iced Tea: Orange juice is substituted for cola.
  • Clean Tea: Lemon-lime soda is substituted for cola and sweet and sour mix.
  • Flint, Michigan Iced Tea: Vernor’s Ginger Ale is substituted for cola.
  • Grateful Dead: Chambord is substituted for cola.
  • Harvard Iced Tea: Champagne is substituted for cola, tequila is substituted for gin.
  • Langøyene Iste: Norwegian akvavit is substituted for tequila.
  • Lesbos Iced Tea: Canadian whiskey and ouzo are substituted for cola.
  • Long Beach Iced Tea: Cranberry juice is substituted for cola.
  • Jersey Tea: A shot of Jägermeister is substituted for cola (in California, the drink can be called a Darth Vader).
  • Peach Long Island: Peach schnapps are substituted for tequila.
  • Pittsburgh Tea: Tequila is substituted with Wild Turkey.
  • Tennessee Iced Tea: Tequila is substituted with Jack Daniel’s.
  • Texas Tea: Gin is substituted with tequila.
  • Tokyo Iced Tea or Three Mile Island: Triple sec is substituted with Midori and cola with lemon-lime soda.
    Imagine a party where you could taste them all!


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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