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How Do You Make Long Island Iced Tea Drinks

How To Make A Long Island Iced Tea

How to Make a Long Island Iced Tea

May 16, 2014 By EricT_CulinaryLore

Since the legendary Long Island Iced Tea cocktail has so many ingredients, it is usually ordered out at bars. However, there is nothing exotic about the ingredients and you dont even need to buy expensive liquors. In fact, I would advise against using anything top shelf as the distinctions will be lost in the drink, as in anything with over three liquors in it! Of course, you dont want to go too cheap, so Ill make some suggestions in the recipe.

All the liquors should be clear colored. However, you should keep in mind that if you want to make a variety of different cocktails, both highly flavored and simple, and you dont want to have two of everything, it is best to stick with more premium brands, which will be more versatile. If you do use premium brands, it will probably be an awesome drink, dont get me wrong, you just wont taste the flavor nuances of the better spirits. Whatever liquors you choose, it is easy to shake one up at home.

Long Island Iced Tea Recipe


1/2 oz vodka 1/2 oz gin 1/2 oz tequila 1/2 oz light rum 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice1/2 oz triple sec 3/4 oz simple syrup3/4 oz fresh lemon juice3 oz Coca-Cola Lemon wedge for garnish, if desired


Fill the shaker about half to 3/4 full with ice. Small piece or cubes of ice work best. Mix together the vodka, gin, tequila, rum, Cointreau, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Do NOT add the Coca-Cola! Pour the mixture into the shaker put on the top, and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. Strain into a Collins or Highball glass or other tall glass filled with ice, and top with the Coke until full. Stir gently and garnish the rim of the glass with the lemon wedge.

After making your first Long Island Iced Tea, you can experiment to get the recipe just right for you. Some people like to use a mixture of juices like lemon, lime, and orange. Some people like to add a bit more vodka to give it more punch. Make it the way you like the best!

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Long Island Iced Tea Ingredients

The Long Island Iced Tea is a highball cocktail made with 5 liquors: vodka, tequila, rum, gin and orange liqueur. When mixed together with cola the drink has a brown color, just like iced tea . The modern version of this cocktail was most likely invented in 1972 by a bartender in Long Island, New York: hence the name.

The LIIT took off and became so popular that it made the list of the International Bartender Associations IBA official cocktails! This means that it has an official definition. Whats in a Long Island Iced Tea?

  • Vodka
  • Lemon juice
  • Cola

Yes, thats a lot of ingredients. Lets talk through why this makes the best Long Island Iced Tea recipe, and then whether there are substitutes!

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Do You Shake A Long Island Iced Tea

Yes, you will need to shake it if you want it to taste right. Most recipes on the internet just have you mix it all together in a glass, but while this is appropriate for a Martini, it is better to shake a drink like this. Just make sure not to add the Coca-Cola or another cola until the end, after the rest of the ingredients have been shaken.

And, for convenience, you might want a jigger. A jigger is a small measuring cup of a specific capacity. Cocktail shaker and jigger sets are available such as this Makur Shaker Set which comes with a double jigger, mixing spoon, and muddler. The jigger is 1 oz on one side and 1/2 oz on the other side.

Shaking is important to many cocktails. For example, if you want to make a perfect margarita, youll have to shake it. Stirring is just not going to do.

Why This Makes The Best Long Island Iced Tea Recipe

How to Make Long Island Iced Tea

We promise: this LIIT is nothing like the sweet and artificial flavor you might be used to. This is a classy Long Island Iced Tea recipe: full of bright citrus flavor. Heres how to make it the best:

  • Use real lemon, not sour mix. Thats right! Do not even think about using store-bought sour mix here. Real citrus brings the best zingy flavor.
  • Use Cointreau, not Triple Sec. Cointreau is an orange liqueur manufactured in France that has an orange perfume flavor. Its much tastier than your average Triple Sec.
  • Use good liquor. Sure, you can use low quality booze if its all you have. But the better the liquor, the better the drink!

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Ingredients You Will Need

Measurements and full ingredients list are listed in the printable recipe at the end of this post. This recipe makes an 8 ounce glass.

  • The spirits in this drink include equal parts of vodka, tequila, light rum, gin, and triple sec.
  • You will also need sweet and sour mix or equal amounts of lemon juice and simple syrup.
  • Cola is used to top it all off, and a lemon is added for garnish, part of the iced tea appearance.

Can I Make Long Islands For A Crowd

Yes! To make Long Islands for the whole group, first break out a pitcher or large punch bowl. Youll need the same ingredients and will want to follow the same steps. Just multiply each ingredient by the number of drinks you plan to make. For 10 Long Islands, youll need 10 ounces of vodka, and so on. Cheers to summer!

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Long Island Iced Teas You Should Know How To Make

Ahhhh, the Long Island Iced Tea.

As long as people have enjoyed vomiting in the bushes outside their neighborhood watering hole, theyve enjoyed sucking down Long Island Iced Teas.

Just ordering a Long Island sort of defines your night right from the start and makes a declaration to everyone around you: Im going to go from zero to humiliating just as quickly as I can.

Now, if you think people get excited by the Long Island, wait until you offer them a spin-off of the original and watch them jump around like a chimpanzee who got stung by a bee. Ive been serving these variations for years, and if you want to be loved as a bartender, learn to diversify your Long Islands and watch them clutch at their drink excitedly like a child clutches an Otter Pop on a hot summer day.

If youre not a bartender yet, and you want to learn how, you can check out TheRealBarCourse here, even if you have no experience or have no idea where to start.

But enough of that. What kind of teacher would I be if I didnt educate you on the beginnings of the Long Island and where it came from?


As with practically every cocktail with some time under its belt, the Long Island comes with debatable and uncertain beginnings. At first glance it appears as if it might have been inspired by the fruitcake: just throw anything you have in your cupboards into a container, mix it up and then ask yourself why in the hell you would ever ingest such a thing.

Whats up with that, Bob?

Why It Takes This Long To Make Island Iced Tea

How to Make The Long Island Iced Tea – Best Drink Recipes

Making Island tea will not take more than, 5 minutes. You just have to gather all the required ingredients to make the process smoother. The tea is made using ready-made ingredients, therefore the process is quite easy.

It wont take much time, as it will not require any cooking process. You can prepare island iced tea using very few ingredients. You can add lime juice to your island iced tea to increase the citrus flavor in your drink. You can always try out your creativity skills to make your island ice tea fancier.

Many people add maple syrup and many other syrups to make their island iced tea more eye-catchy. The tea would be a savior for people that love having different types of alcohol in one single glass.

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How To Make Long Island Iced Tea

You can build your Long Island Ice Tea in the glass: so you dont have to dirty a cocktail shaker or spend time shaking! The only time involved here is measuring out each liquorwhich does take a few minutes because there are so many components! Heres all you need to do to make this easy drink:

  • Stir: Pour the components into a highball glass. Add ice and stir.
  • Garnish: Add a lemon wedge if desired.

Keep in mind: this drink has only 2.5 ounces alcohol, so its not as boozy as you think! Its similar to many of our 200+ cocktails, especially the other highball cocktails.

Grateful Dead / Purple Rain / Black Superman

All these names constitute the same variation for a long island iced tea where the Triple sec is replaced with Chambord.

Chambord liqueur has a 16.5 percent alcohol volume and is a raspberry-flavored liqueur modeled after a liqueur made in Frances Loire Valley.

The cola of this version for this version of the long island iced tea is also replaced with lemon-lime soda.

These two ingredients give the cocktail a dark hue, and thus that is how the names were established.

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Do I Have To Use Premium Brand Alcohol

Its safe to say that you get what you give with a Long Island Iced Tea, meaning that the better the ingredients, the better the finished cocktail.

However, having said this, you dont have to break the bank here and weve created a middle shelf version.

Lets look at the alcohol ingredients.

  • Tequila weve used a silver tequila, not the most expensive but it works.
  • Vodka you probably want to avoid the store label brands, pick a vodka that you enjoy drinking.
  • Golden Rum weve used golden, but you could use a white rum if you prefer.
  • Gin just like the vodka, avoid store own brands, use you preferred gin but dont go high end.
  • Triple Sec Triple Sec is a sweet orange liqueur you could replace it with the slightly more expensive Cointreau but just know that Cointreau has a higher alcoholic content.

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The Long Island Iced Tea Standard Ingredients

Youre Making Your Long Island Iced Tea Wrong (But Heres ...

In the following paragraphs, we are going to take a look at the standard Long Island Iced Tea ingredients. Overall, Long Island iced tea contains five shots of alcohol, a sweet and sour mix, and fuzzy drink or juice, according to your preferences

  • Vodka When it comes to making Long Island iced tea, it is important to start with vodka. Now, you cannot use the standard vodka the vodka for this drink needs to be good for mixing and blending with other alcohol and ingredients. Therefore, you will need ½ oz of good, mixing vodka. We recommend you use the Finlandia vodka, which is excellent for mixing drinks. It is somewhat strong and has a bitter aftertaste, but in combination with other Long Island ingredients, it creates a perfect flavor.
  • Gin Another important Long Island iced tea ingredient is gin. You will need ½ oz of best-dried gin for this drink. Just like the vodka, the gin you use needs to be able to mix well with other alcohol and ingredients. Therefore, we recommend you use the Beefeater gin, which is great because it is both spicy and fruity, and creates a great balance in the drink. This gin is dry but has a wonderful herbal bouquet and a citrus aftertaste. This makes it perfect for the Long Island iced tea. You can also try using the Bombay Sapphire gin, which is also ideal for mixing gin in cocktails.

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If You Like This Drink

Before we get to the recipe: if you try this drink and like it, there are a few other drinks you should check out.

The C& T Cocktail features cranberry juice with gin, lime juice and orange flavored vodka. It has a very similar flavor to this one, but with less alcohol.

The Felicia cocktail pairs cranberry juice with apple flavored vodka. So simple, but so amazing.

The classic cocktail Sea Breeze blends grapefruit juice with cranberry juice and vodka.

Blue Long Island Iced Tea Drink Recipe

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You can just imagine how the Blue Long Island Iced Tea drink recipe came to be. Once upon a time, it must have occurred to someone that the Long Island Iced Tea was nearly perfect. Except for one thing: it wasnt blue.

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Recipe For Long Island Iced Tea


Step 1.

Take a Collins glass fill it with ice then pour vodka, rum, tequila, gin, triple sec, simple syrup, and lemon juice.

Step 2.

Add a dash of Coca cola to the top and stir briefly.

Step 3.

Now garnish it with a lemon wedge and serve it with a straw.

Heres A Video By Tipsy Bartender On How To Make A Long Island Iced Tea

The Iced Tea part of the name comes from the tea color and sweet taste of the triple sec. ~LongIsland.com

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How To Serve Long Island Iced Tea

How To Make A Perfect Long Island Iced Tea | Drinks Made Easy

Normally use Collins glass, Hurricane glass or a High-Ball glass to serve this great drink.

  • But if you donââ¬â¢t have a glass like that in your home, you can use any unique shaped glass you have in your cupboard.
  • Garnish the glass with a lemon wedge and a nice straw. If you want to get a bit fancier, you can use Cherry or a lemon spiral instead of a wedge for the garnishing.
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    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!

    What You Need To Make A Long Island Iced Tea

    To make a Long Island Iced Tea, youll need the right glass. Traditionally, the cocktail is served in a Highball Glass.

    We recommend:

    You cant make a Long Island Iced Tea without all the alcohol in the world. Here are the brands we recommend.


    Starting with Vodka, theres only really one brand on the list. Smirnoff Vodka. You cant beat it for price and its great quality too. For making cocktails, thats all we really need.

    Dont get me wrong, if I was looking for high-end vodka to sip our verdict would be a little different. Then wed probably look at Grey Goose or even Crystal Head Vodka.

    Our verdict:


    For Tequila, the decision isnt as clear cut.

    In our How to Make a Quick & Easy Margarita cocktail recipe, I examined just which Tequila is the best to use to make cocktails with.

    To summarise, we ruled out Fortaleza Reposado Tequila because it was a little too expensive to use as a cocktail ingredient. Its a perfect Tequila for sipping though.

    Ultimately, I went with either Olmeca Altos Tequila Plata or Sauza Silver Tequila. This is because these two brands of Tequila are of great quality for a reasonable price the perfect criteria for making cocktails with.

    White Rum

    We have the same situation with White Rum as we did with Vodka. Theres one clear winner here. Its a brand thats synonymous with White Rum and comes at a great price too.

    Triple Sec


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    Classic Long Island Iced Tea

  • 1Fill a highball, collins, or other tall glass with the broken ice or ice cubes. This will be your serving glass. For a super cold drink, put your serving glass in the freezer 1-2 hours before you want to make your cocktail, and when you take it out it will keep your drink extra cold.
  • 2Add ice to a cocktail shaker if available. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, you can improvise one by adding ice to a mason jar and using this to shake the drink.XResearch source Otherwise, you can simply mix the drink with a long spoon in the serving glass.
  • 3Add the spirits and lemon juice to your shaker. Add 0.75 fl oz of light rum, 0.75 fl oz of tequila, 1.5 fl oz of triple sec, 0.75 fl oz of vodka, 0.75 fl oz of gin, and 0.75 fl oz of fresh lemon juice to your shaker. Put the cap on the cocktail shaker or mason jar.
  • Do not add the cola to the shaker yet. If you shake it with cola inside, it will explode!
  • 4Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously for about 5 seconds. A Long Island iced tea should always be shaken, if possible, in order to incorporate the lemon and sugar.
  • As a rule of thumb, try to always shake drinks that are made with citrus juice.XResearch source
  • 5Pour the mixture into the serving glass. If using a cocktail shaker, strain the mix through the cocktail strainer to avoid adding the mixer ice to the serving glass. Otherwise, just pour slowly to avoid pouring in the ice.

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