Among the most famous cocktails, Long Island iced tea is at the top of the list. Despite the fact that it contains no tea, this cocktail is as refreshing as a tall glass of iced tea. The taste is surprisingly similar too, but it can pack a punch, and all that alcohol can quickly sneak up on you.

Since every bartender knows the recipe, you can order it pretty much anywhere, and it’s simple enough to make at home as long as you have all of the ingredients. Get ready to pour because the recipe requires five white distilled spirits (including triple sec), a shot of sour mix, and cola. Though it’s strong, if you use decent-quality ingredients and slip it slowly, you can enjoy this refresher without regrets.

What’s a Long Island Iced Tea Made Of? 

The Long Island iced tea recipe is a laundry list of spirits and mixers that seemingly should not play well together. But although this drink makes very little sense on paper it tastes remarkably cohesive, with a sweet and tangy flavor and a color that makes it appear very much like tea. Here’s what you’ll need.

Who Created the Long Island Iced Tea? 

The story of Long Island iced tea is as sordid as its ingredient list, and its true origin may be lost to history. One Prohibitionera story credits Charles Bishop, a 1930s moonshiner in then-dry Tennessee. Jump to the 1970s, and credit for the concoction’s creation could go to Robert Bott, a bartender from Long Island.

Then there is the tale that the Long Island was an original drink of the T.G.I. Friday’s franchise. It is entirely possible that Bishop made the drink and that it was forgotten for a few decades until Bott remade it and gave it the now-famous name. At some point, the restaurant probably caught wind of it and claimed it as their own (this is not unheard of).

Why is the Long Island Iced Tea So Notorious? 

The Long Island iced tea is notorious for getting people drunk. The problem is that it’s an easy drinker that’s often made too strong. Many bartenders (professional and amateur alike) will overpour the liquors. This not only makes the drink stronger, but it also knocks the taste out of balance.

To make a better Long Island iced tea, keep in mind that flavor is more important than potency. In total, this recipe contains 2 1/2 ounces of liquor. While it is on the light end of the Long Island’s spectrum, it’s still the same as drinking three or four beers.


  • 1/2 ounce gin
  • 1/2 ounce light rum
  • 1/2 ounce vodka
  • 1/2 ounce blanco tequila
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec
  • 1 ounce sour mix, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 to 2 ounces cola, to taste
  • Lemon wedge, for garnish



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