Specialty Drinks: Long Island Iced Tea Plus 3 Variations

Long Island Iced Tea drink recipe

While there isn’t an actual picture of a Long Island Iced Tea when you Google “bad decisions”, there is a strong case to be made that the cocktail’s likeness should be included in the search results.

A staple at college bars and precursor to bad decisions and severe hangovers for decades, the Long Island Iced Tea continues to be a popular cocktail to this day.

A Long Island Iced Tea is a cocktail made with almost four ounces of clear liquor. Created in the 1970’s in Long Island New York, it combines vodka, rum, tequila, gin, and triple sec with simple syrup, lemon juice, and cola to create a decadent alcoholic beverage that resembles iced tea.

In this article, we’ll cover four drink recipes. First, we’ll look at the Long Island Iced Tea then we’ll look at three specialty drinks that put their own unique spin on the original!

There is some controversy over the origins of the Long Island Iced Tea but it’s a cocktail every bartender knows and it’s easy to make at home.

Specialty drink like Long Island Iced Tea

How to Make a Long Island Iced Tea

If the prominent connection between poor judgement and strong cocktails haven’t dissuaded you from wanting to make a Long Island Iced Tea, here’s the recipe.

Don’t say you haven’t been warned!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce of vodka
  • 3/4 ounce of white rum
  • 3/4 ounce of silver tequila
  • 3/4 ounce of gin
  • 3/4 ounce of triple sec
  • 3/4 ounce of simple syrup
  • 3/4 ounce of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • Cola, chilled
  • A lemon wedge to garnish

Steps

  1. Pour the vodka, rum, tequila, gin, triple sec, simple syrup, and lemon juice into a highball glass or beer mug over ice.
  2. Top up with cola and stir gently to combine.
  3. Garnish with a lemon wedge and serve.

Long Island Iced Tea Bartender, Robert “Rosebud” Butt

If you’d like to hear more about how the Long Island Iced Tea was conceived, here’s the backstory from the drink’s creator, Robert “Rosebud” Butt. He created the cocktail while working at Oak Beach Inn – “OBI” to the regulars on Long Island.

Long Beach Iced Tea

Like its cousin the Long Island Iced Tea, the Long Beach Iced Tea is a potent cocktail with a full 3.5 ounces of alcohol in it! The proportions of key ingredients are slightly different than the original, and this drink substitutes cranberry juice for cola.

My advice to anyone asking for a Long Beach Iced Tea is to proceed with caution. The citrusy flavors in this drink effectively mask the amount of alcohol it contains, and you might not realize how much you’ve had to drink until it’s too late!

Treat yourself to a Long Beach Iced Tea after a long week of work… but don’t plan on driving anywhere afterward. When it’s time to go home, you’ll definitely want to take an Uber or a taxi!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce of vodka
  • 3/4 ounce of white rum
  • 3/4 ounce of silver tequila
  • 3/4 ounce of gin
  • 1/2 ounce of triple sec
  • 1/2 ounce of simple syrup
  • 1 ounce of lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • Cranberry juice, chilled
  • A lemon wedge to garnish

Steps

  1. Pour the vodka, rum, tequila, gin, triple sec, simple syrup, and lemon juice into a highball glass or beer mug over ice.
  2. Top up with cranberry juice and stir gently to combine.
  3. Garnish with a lemon wedge and serve.

Blue Long Island Iced Tea

The Blue Long Island Iced Tea is perfect for anyone who enjoys a regular Long Island Iced Tea but secretly wished it was blue.

Blue Curaçao replaces the triple sec in this variation of the cocktail and instead of cola, it’s topped up with freshly squeezed lemon juice. The Blue Long Island Iced Tea’s predominant flavor notes are orange and lemon giving it a refreshing, light taste but it’s still boozy AF so be sure to pace yourself!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce of vodka
  • 3/4 ounce of white rum
  • 3/4 ounce of silver tequila
  • 3/4 ounce of gin
  • 3/4 ounce of Blue Curaçao
  • 1 ounce of simple syrup
  • Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • A lemon wedge to garnish

Steps

  1. Pour the vodka, rum, tequila, gin, Blue Curaçao, and simple syrup into a highball glass or beer mug over ice.
  2. Top up with freshly squeezed lemon juice and stir gently to combine.
  3. Garnish with a lemon wedge and serve.

Note: Feel free to experiment with how much lemon juice you add. Everyone’s tastes are different.

Hawaiian Iced Tea

This variation of the Long Island Iced Tea is one of my favorites!

If you’re tired of the regular LIIT, try a Hawaiian Iced Tea. The pineapple flavor in this recipe is a fresh, light-tasting change of pace. If you really want to elevate the presentation of this drink, garnish it with fresh pineapple chunks and pop in a paper drink umbrella for a tropical tiki vibe!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce of vodka
  • 3/4 ounce of white rum
  • 3/4 ounce of silver tequila
  • 3/4 ounce of gin
  • 3/4 ounce of triple sec
  • 1 ounce of sour mix
  • 2 ounces of pineapple juice
  • A lemon wedge to garnish

Steps

  1. Pour the vodka, rum, tequila, gin, triple sec, and sour mix into a highball glass or beer mug over ice.
  2. Top up with pineapple juice and stir gently to combine.
  3. Garnish with a lemon wedge and serve.

Time to Mix It Up!

Now that you know how to make a Long Island Iced Tea and several variations, it’s time to call a few friends and get the party started.

If you’re entertaining at home you can mix one drink at a time or make a large batch of LIIT to kick off an evening of lively conversation… or roll up the living room carpet and dance!

By Michael

Chief mixologist and cocktail enthusiast at Swizzle Club.