The Long Island Iced Tea is one of those cocktails most people have stumbled across at one time or another. It’s also one of those drinks where some bars are exceptional at making while others seem to offer a “watered down” variation. In truth it isn’t as much of a gin cocktail as it is a combination cocktail. With the number of ingredients used to make a Long Island Iced Tea the gin taste does not stand out, but it does play an important role. The drink in its current form is relatively new (at least when compared to other gin cocktails), with its origin dating back to 1972, when Robert Butt fix mixing up the drink at the Oak Beach Inn (located on Long Island, New York, of course). This cocktail is a staple for most bars, and it is important to know how to make it (and what goes in it), as the pre-made Long Island Iced Tea kits often leave out important ingredients.
The Long Island Iced Tea is a cocktail that requires a number of spirits. In fact, it uses basically every clear liquor found in a bar well. Most of the liquors mute out the taste of the other spirits within the cocktail, giving it a surprisingly smooth, yet strong, taste.
Long Island Iced Tea - The Perfect Classic Recipe
To make the Long Island Iced Tea you’ll need to have a number of ingredients, which are:
- 3/4 oz Gin
- 3/4 oz White Rum
- 3/4 oz Silver tequila
- 3/4 oz Vodka
- 3/4 oz Triple sec
- 3/4 oz Simple syrup
- 3/4 oz Fresh lemon juice
- Topped with Cola
- Garnish can alter from a lemon wedge to cherry
To make the Long Island Iced Tea you’ll want to fill a Collins glass with ice, then add in all of the ingredients. Top off the Collins glass with cola, then stir the mixture and serve with the garnish. Ideally, you’ll pour a few of the ingredients at the same time to ensure a proper mixture.
The cocktail should be made on the spot. There are “Long Island Iced Tea” mixes available, but these mixes often cut out some of the liquors and use more sugar and sweet and sour than what the recipe calls for. So for an authentic cocktail always avoid the pre-made mixtures.
Long Island Iced Tea Nutrition Facts
The Long Island Iced Tea is a large drink that uses a number of spirits. However, despite the large number of spirits, there isn’t much in the way of added sugar. So while it does have more calories than your standard spirit, for its size it doesn’t have as many calories as you might assume.
- 256 Calories
- 0.2g Total Fat
- 0g Saturated Fat
- 0mg Cholesterol
- 9.5mg Sodium
- 28mg Potassium
- 13g Carbohydrates
Best Gin For a Long Island Iced Tea
When making a Long Island Iced Tea, you’ll be best going for an inexpensive well gin. There simply are too may other ingredients for the gin to stand out. You might taste a slight juniper flavor if you really search for it, but with the rum, tequila, and the cocktail mixes, it will become lost in the cocktail combination, so there’s no reason to go top shelf (on any of the spirits, honestly). Gordon’s is a fine well gin to have on hand. It is made by the same company that makes Tanqueray, so you’re still receiving a fine product. If you wanted you could go with a Beefeater, but even then you’re probably paying too much for a gin you’re really not going to taste.
Long Island Iced Tea Variations
With so many ingredients found in a Long Island Iced Tea you probably aren’t surprised there are all kinds of variations as well. If you’ve had the original and are now looking for something a bit different, here are some of the best variations to consider.
- Top Shelf Long Island Iced Tea
In this variation, you find one major difference (which can obviously improve any gin cocktail recipe), using only premium ingredients and spirits. Don’t be surprised what a difference this can make!See More
- Long Beach Iced Tea
Here’s another variation that adjusts the taste just a touch but dramatically alters the overall appearance. The good thing about using all clear spirits is you can add just a splash of color and you’ll instantly have what appears to be a new drink. With the Long Beach Iced Tea you’re taking out the cola (or the Blue Curacao, in the case of the Blue Long Island Ice Tea), and using cranberry. With the cranberry, this cocktail has a decisively tarter taste to it, but if you’re a cranberry fan this is worth checking out.See More
- Caribbean Ice Tea
It becomes almost a guessing game as to what the mixture will be when you hear the name. However, if you’re going to someplace tropical and expecting a widely different drink from the regular Long Island you will be disappointed. That is because the Caribbean Ice Tea is exactly the same as the Long Island Ice Tea. The only difference here is there is no cola used on top (which means there usually is a bit more sweet and sour mix), and the cocktail is served in a hurricane glass instead of a Collins glass. Other than this, it’s the same cocktail.See More
- Blue Long Island Iced Tea
This Long Island variation doesn’t taste all that different from the regular. In fact, it is actually less sweet and a bit stronger (if you can imagine that). Many now have a tendency to look at blue cocktails and think of a sweet blue raspberry, but that is not the case with the Blue Long Island Iced Tea. Instead, you’re swapping out the cola for a Blue Curacao liqueur, which is an orange-flavored liqueur (it just happens to look blue). So it’s more of a cosmetic alteration than anything else. But it does look nicer than the muddled brown appearance of the regular version as you’re removing the cola.See More
- Miami Iced Tea
You’ve had a cocktail version from Long Island, New York, and a cocktail version from Long Beach, California, so naturally you’ll have one for Miami. This one does build off of what the Long Beach version has already done. However, it takes out the tequila and brings in peach schnapps. It also keeps the cranberry juice but is topped with a lemon-lime soda instead of the cola. As you can see with every variation you’re starting to move a little bit further away from the original taste. The peach and rum work exceptionally well with this one, and it does take out the vodka to make room for it, so you’re not just adding more and more liquors (although the peach schnapps has less alcohol so the kick is slightly reduced with the Miami Iced Tea).See More
- Hawaiian Iced Tea
Often when it comes to these variations of the Long Island Iced Tea you can guess where it is from based on the new juice added to it. The Hawaiian Iced Tea uses the same spirit combination but now swaps in pineapple juice for the lime juice. There is also no cola, so the cocktail has an orange-gold appearance. Of course, if you like the bit of carbonation in your cocktail you can add a splash of lemon-lime soda on top.See More
- Electric Iced Tea Cocktail
In terms of great looking cocktail, this might be the best of the bunch. It has just enough blue to give it a lightning appearance. In terms of taste, it is nearly identical to the Blue Long Island Iced Tea. The main difference with the Electric Iced Tea is it uses lemon-lime soda instead of cola. So minus the splash of soda on top, there isn’t any other difference between the cocktails.See More
- Texas Tea
Now you’re playing with fire when it comes to the Texas Tea recipe. This makes the first real bold spirit addition of any of the other cocktail variations. It keeps the sweet and sour and cola top, but now it brings bourbon into the cocktail. Now, if you wanted to you could go with the metal aged bourbon, which is clear, just like the other cocktails. Or, if you want to bring in some of the sweeter, oak taste of a barrel aged bourbon, you’ll be adding a shade of brown (which will mix with the cola topper). If you want the full flavor of bourbon in this variation, it’s best to go with the barrel aged option to make Texas Tea.See More