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Who Invented Long Island Iced Tea

Long Island Iced Tea Ingredients

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

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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Where Does Long Island Iced Tea Come From

Like so many things associated with the drink, the origin of the Long Island Iced Tea is a bit hazy.

A bartender named Bob Rosebud Butt is usually credited with inventing the Long Island Iced Tea in 1972. As the story goes, Butt was working in a bar in Long Island, New York when a friendly competition compelled him to concoct the refreshing but strong iced-tea-colored beverage, hence the name.

In 2013, PBS even featured Butt on its video series Inventors for his contributions to society.

In the 2000s, however, the Kingsport, Tennessee tourism board claimed that the Long Island Iced Tea was created prior to Prohibition in that citys Long Island by a bartender named Old Man Bishop. The Kingsport version of the drink swaps out whiskey for Triple Sec and maple syrup for the cola.

Butt owned for a time, where he disputed the Old Man Bishop story as a myth.

The Long Island Iced Tea was already famous by the 1980s. In a 1984 novel, one character offers another glass of the drink, but with a warning. A 1986 Cosmopolitan article noted that the Long Island Iced Tea was one of the most popular drinks at the Hard Rock Cafe.

In May, 2018, a group of New York bartenders challenged Kingsport bartenders to a Long Island Iced Tea contest.

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Like all the best mixed drinks, however, the Long Island Iced Tea comes with its fair share of stories about where it was first created. One story attributes the cocktail to Robert Butts, a bartender at the Beach Inn, a bar situated in Long Island New York. It is thought that he made up the drink in the summer of 1972 as a competition entry. He had to create a drink that included triple sec. While he acknowledges that similar drink combinations may exist, he is insistent that he invented the cocktail. The Iced Tea part of the name came from the tea-like colour and sweet taste of the triple sec included in the ingredients.

The story above is believable enough, however, another story does have a little more credibility to it. A gentleman named only as Old Man Bishop is said to have invented the Long Island Iced Tea in the 1920s during prohibition, although then the drink was named after himself. Cocktails were extremely popular at this time, as the mixers were used to cover up the smell of alcohol in bars. This one was popular because drinkers could claim to be drinking tea, so long as the prohibition police didnt get too close!

Old Man Bishop lived in another location called Long Island, but this place was in Tennessee. It was his son, Ransom, that perfected the recipe some 20 years later, once his father had died. It is his version that has become the cocktail that we begrudgingly love today.

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In 2018, representatives of the two Long Islands even engaged in a public argument about who should take credit for the eponymous cocktail.

Long Island, New York bartender Butch Yamali wrote an open letter to Kingsport: “Not since the ‘Battle of Long Island’ in the Revolutionary War has Long Islands honor been so challenged. We on Long Island celebrate our beaches, our accents, and most of all, our booze.” Yamali concludes by challenging Tennessee to a “Battle for the Tea,” to be held in either state.

But Tennesseans didn’t take that sort of talk lying down. Visit Kingsport Executive Director Jud Teague responded, again in a public letter: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so thanks a bunch! You may claim youre the best but well always be the original and theres no getting around that. So, in the ‘Yall versus Yous Guys’ challenge, we graciously accept. Be sure to bring your momnem.”

Representatives from the two states met for “battle” in Washington in June 2019, after two taste tests conducted on each state’s home turf. Tennessee was declared the victor, but New York participants have disputed the results indicating that the contest was a fraud.

It seems that we’ll never really definitively know where Long Island iced tea originated and who makes it best.

Journeys Of Discovery: Legend Of The Tennessee Moonshiner Who Invented Long Island Iced Tea

Perfect Classic Long Island Iced Tea Recipe (Easy Recipe ...

Correspondent Tom Wilmer visits with Jamie Cyphers, the great-great-granddaughter of Kingsport, Tennessee moonshiner Charles Old Man” Bishop, who reportedly first concocted Long Island Iced Tea back in the 1920s.

Wilmer also stops in for a visit with two Kingsport professional bartenders, Shane Winegar and Randy Ashens, who challenged New York mix-masters to a competition to determine which region makes the best Long Island Iced Tea, irrespective of origin.

This show was originally broadcast October 17, 2018 and is reposted as a best-of-the-best podcast in celebration of Journeys of Discoverys 30th anniversary producing on-air and digital media podcasts featured on KCBX and NPR One.

You are invited to subscribe to the Lowell Thomas Award-winning travel show podcast, Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, featured on the NPR Podcast Directory, Apple Podcast, iHeartRadio, the NPR One App & Twitter: TomCWilmer. Instagram: Thomas.Wilmer. Member of the National Press Club in Washington D.C. Underwriting support provided by Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, and the Society of St. Vincent De Paul.

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Other Ingredients For Long Island Iced Tea

  • Cranberry juice you can use cranberry juice instead of Coca Cola it will make the drinks taste a bit different, but cranberry juice mixes well with all the alcohol, so it is surely a great Long Island iced tea variation.
  • Lemon/lime soda if you want to add some sparkle to the drink, but youd avoid Coca Cola once again, try ordering/making you drink with lemon/lime soda. When using the lemon/lime soda you can also try leaving out the fresh lemon juice, just to avoid making the drink too citrusy.
  • Pineapple juice again, to avoid adding Coca Cola, you can try making the drink with some pineapple juice this will make your drink even more exotic and it will surely taste great.
  • Whiskey a popular addition for a Long Island iced tea variety, whiskey is a great choice to spice things up. You can replace any of the alcohols with whiskey, by adding ½ oz we recommend you use Jim Beam or Jack Daniels of course or even try using the whiskey sour mix.
  • Actual tea you can try replacing Coca Cola with actual tea we recommend you go with Hibiscus or Jasmine tea, or basically any other herbals or flavored tea blend. Just make sure that the tea has been cooled down, or even cold brewed so it fits the drink properly.

The History Of The Long Island Iced Tea

Back when I first started drinking, I was slightly shocked when I learned that Long Island Iced Tea isnt iced tea at all I had heard of its potent powers and knew it was an alcoholic drink, but I simply thought that it was a spiked iced tea. In search of getting the booziest bang for my buck as an undergrad, the LIIT quickly became my go-to at an average of 22 percent ABV.

A Long Island Iced Tea is traditionally made with vodka, tequila, rum, triple sec, gin and a splash of Coke the soda gives it the color of iced tea, and the sweetness of the triple sec calls to mind the flavor of sweet tea. Robert Rosebud Butt claims to have invented the powerhouse drink as a contest entry in 1972 the challenge was to make a mixed drink with triple sec . He entered the contest while working at the Oak Beach Inn on Long Island, hence the name.

A similar drink was created in the 1920s in Long Island, Tennessee and includes whiskey, four other types of liquor and maple syrup. Though not exactly the same, you get the idea a lot of liquor, a little sweetness. This drink, dubbed the Old Man Bishop, was mixed up by a man of the same name. Sources speculate that during the Prohibition era, people wanted their smuggled drinks to pack a punch, and its resemblance to iced tea would make it easy to sip in public.

Make your own at home with the traditional recipe below but be careful!

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Long Island Iced Tea Inventor Bob Butt Shows Us How It’s Done

“Hi, my name is Bob Butt — aka Rosebud. I invented the Long Island Iced Tea.” That is how this video begins, and it should be all you really need to know to make you watch it.

The Long Island Iced Tea: that unholy mix of every clear spirit on the bar with sour mix and Coke for color has been a bartending school staple for the last few decades. It was invented by Bob, who seems to dare you to giggle at his last name with every syllable, as a way for the Oak Beach Inn bar to use up their triple sec. The bar held an impromptu competition to see who behind the bar used the liqueur best, and thus, the drink that’s caused many a boardwalk argument was born.

The chuckle that Bob gets out of people loving this drink is absolutely our favorite part of this video.

We can’t really remember the last time we had a Long Island Iced Tea, but we’re also pretty sure that’s the point of the drink.

Recipe For Long Island Iced Tea

The stupidest and coolest cocktail I made – Classic Long Island Iced Tea cocktail vs Milk Clarified


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.

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Lets Go Retro With Long Island Iced Tea

Weve all drunk them. Maybe for some, more than theyd like to admit, but like Billy Joel, the Big Duck and Jones Beach, the Long Island Iced Tea can take its place in our culture and history here on Long Island. For all you trivia buffs out there, do you know where this smooth, yet potent, world-famous concoction originated from?

Weve all drunk them. Maybe for some, more than theyd like to admit, but like Billy Joel, the Big Duck and Jones Beach, the Long Island Iced Tea can take its place in our culture and history here on Long Island. For all you trivia buffs out there, do you know where this smooth, yet potent, world-famous concoction originated from?

It was back in the summer of 1972 at the ever-popular Oak Beach Inn East in Hampton Bays. OBI owner Bob Matherson created a contest using triple sec as the main ingredient. Triple sec is a strong, sweet and colorless orange-flavored liqueur made from dried orange peels found on Curaçao, an island in the Caribbean. Matherson placed the bottle on the bar, and then asked 20 bartenders to come up with a refreshing new drink.

Robert Rosebud Butt just happened to be working that day and started mixing all kinds of liquors together. He started with a shot of vodka, then a shot of gin, some rum, tequila, a little sour mix, triple sec, of course, and then finished it off with a little bit of Coke to give it some color. Thus, the Long Island Iced Tea was born.

Variations On The Long Island Iced Tea

The Long Islands popularity has generated its own family of highballs. Many drinks have now become popular in their own right in many parts of the United States, thanks to the success of the original Long Island Iced Tea. Here are some variations:

  • The Grateful Dead is a variation on the Long Island that uses the same ingredients as a Long Island but replaces the Triple Sec with a shot of Chambord and the cola with lemon-lime soda.
  • The Adios Motherfucker is a Long Island Iced Tea variation made with Blue Curaçao instead of Triple Sec and lemon-lime soda instead of cola. It has a striking blue tint that resembles a Blue Hawaiian.
  • When cranberry juice is used instead of cola, the outcome is a reddish-colored Long Beach Iced Tea. When Midori is swapped for Triple Sec, and lemon-lime soda is substituted for Coca-Cola, the result is a greenish Tokyo Iced Tea.

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Best Long Island Iced Tea Recipe 2021

After hundreds of Long Island Iced Tea recipes tested by our expert team, we chose the best Long Island Iced Tea recipe of 2021! Learn how to make in 3 easy steps! Long Island Iced Teas are one of the quickest and easiest cocktails to make. Served in a pitcher, this is the ultimate party cocktail. Made with tequila, rum, vodka, gin, and triple sec. The Long Island Iced Tea is likely the strongest one you can mix up, but make sure you sip these babies slowly they sure do pack a punch!

Long Island Iced Tea is an easy-gulping, one-and-done stiffy.

Why This Makes The Best Long Island Iced Tea Recipe

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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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Old Man Bishops recipe, which predates Rosebuds by about 50 years, called for a half ounce each of rum, gin and tequila, plus a full ounce each of vodka and whiskey. The edge was taken off of this less-than-savory brew by topping the five liquors with maple syrup.

This recipe was also a hit, according to legend, but it wasnt until the 1940s that it really took off. Thats when Old Man Bishops son, Ransom, modified the original recipe by adding lemon, lime and cola.

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So who really invented the drink? Was it bootlegging Old Man Bishop or bartender Rosebud Butt? While its worth noting that neither recipe is quite the version that we encounter today, which is made by also including bottled sour mix, both Long Islands appear to have a legitimate claim to the cocktail.

What Is Long Island Iced Tea

Long Island Iced Tea is a strong alcoholic beverage and one of the all-time great highball cocktails. And, this is in the top 5 most requested cocktails in the world. Ã It is typically made with Vodka, Tequila, Light Rum, Triple Sec, Gin and a splash of cola.

This drink is boozy but delicious and refreshing. This drink has a much higher alcohol concentration than most highball drinks with a relatively small amount of mixer.

Long Island Iced Tea was given its name because it looks like a traditional iced tea by its colour due to the added Cola. There is no actual tea in this drink. It mostly tastes like cola with added orange and lemon juice. So, due to its high alcohol content, it can sneak up on you because it doesnââ¬â¢t taste the alcohol so much when drinking it.

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Long Islanders: Stick To Your Whiskey

The people of Freeport, New York, are not having it.

This is a declaration of war its more than a challenge, Yamali said.

“We on Long Island celebrate our beaches, our accents, and, most of all, our booze,” Yamali wrote. “An insult against one is an insult to all!”

According to Long Islanders, the drink was invented in 1972 by “Rosebud” Butt, a bartender at the Oak Beach Inn in the Hamptons.

“They should stick to their Jack Daniel’s,” Yamali said of Tennesseans.

The Nautical Mile in Long Island serves over 1 million Long Island Iced Teas each year.


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