Long Island iced tea

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Long Island Iced Tea
IBA official cocktail
The Long Island iced tea was named for its visual resemblance to non-alcoholic iced tea.
Base spirit
ServedOn the rocks: poured over ice
Standard garnishlemon slice (optional)
Standard drinkware
Highball glass
IBA specified
PreparationAdd all ingredients into highball glass filled with ice. Stir gently. Optionally garnish with lemon slice.[1]
Long Island Iced Tea recipe at International Bartenders Association

The Long Island iced tea, or Long Island ice tea, is an IBA official cocktail, typically made with vodka, tequila, light rum, triple sec, gin, and a splash of cola. Despite its name, the cocktail does not typically contain iced tea, but is named for having the same amber hue as iced tea.[1]

The drink has a much higher alcohol concentration (approximately 22 percent)[2] than most highball drinks due to the relatively small amount of mixer.


There are two competing origin stories for the Long Island iced tea, one from Long Island, Tennessee, and one from Long Island, New York.[3]

Robert "Rosebud" Butt claims to have invented the Long Island iced tea as an entry in a contest to create a new mixed drink with triple sec in 1972 while he worked at the Oak Beach Inn on Long Island, New York.[2][4][5][6]

A slightly different drink is claimed to have been invented in the 1920s during Prohibition in the United States by an "Old Man Bishop" in a local community named Long Island in Kingsport, Tennessee.[3][7] The drink was then tweaked by Ransom Bishop, Old Man Bishop's son, by adding cola, lemon, and lime. Old Man's version included whiskey, maple syrup, varied quantities of the five liquors, and no triple sec, rather than the modern one with cola and five equal portions of the five liquors. It was prepared in the following way:[3]

  • Squeeze 12 a fresh lemon and 12 a fresh lime into a 16 US fl oz (470 ml) glass
  • Add 12 US fl oz (15 ml) rum, 12 oz. gin, 12 oz tequila, 1 US fl oz (30 ml) vodka, 1 oz. whiskey, and 12 oz. maple syrup
  • Mix, then add 4 US fl oz (120 ml) of cola

While some sources say there was a recipe for Long Island iced tea in the 1961 edition of Betty Crocker's New Picture Cook Book,[2] no such recipe can actually be found there.[8]


The cocktail has been criticized for its large number of ingredients, making it cumbersome to prepare in busy bars.[9] It is considered a favorite of university students in the United States and it has thus garnered negative connotations as "an act of mixological atrocity favored by college students and wastrels", in the words of one food critic.[10]

The drink is a polarizing choice between bartenders, with some favoring the drink and others disliking it.[11] However, the variety of spirits needed to prepare the drink also mean that one can prepare many other types of cocktails if they have the ingredients for a Long Island already.[12]

The cocktail's flavor has been described as "bright and refreshing".[13] It is easy to drink,[2] making it "dangerously boozy".[14]

Recipes and variations[edit]

The International Bartenders Association (IBA)'s recipe calls for equal parts vodka, tequila, white rum, cointreau, gin, 2 parts lemon juice, 1+13 syrup topped with cola. After stirring gently, the drink may also be garnished with a lemon slice.[1] Robert Butt's recipe uses sour mix instead of lemon juice and simple syrup, and he has stated that only a small amount of Coke is used, to give color.[4][5] A more complex recipe published by The New York Times differs from the IBA recipe in that it uses maple syrup instead of simple syrup, uses both lemon and lime juice, and adds salt.[13]

Adios Motherfucker, made with blue curaçao.

However, there are many similar cocktails due to the popularity of the cocktail and the large number of ingredients that can be substituted with alternatives.[2][5] Some variations include:

  • Boston tea party,[2] also called a Walk Me Down or an Adios Motherfucker,[15] is a variation of the Long Island iced tea with blue curaçao substituting for the triple sec, and with lemon-lime soda substituting for the cola.[2]
  • Grateful Dead (also known as the black widow), which uses the same mix as a Long Island but the triple sec is replaced with raspberry liqueur and the cola with lemon-lime soda.[2]
  • Hawaiian iced tea is made by replacing the cola with pineapple juice.[2]
  • If cranberry juice is substituted for cola, the result is a Long Beach iced tea.[16]
  • If Midori is substituted in for the triple sec and lemon-lime soda replaces the Coca-Cola the result is a Tokyo iced tea, and has a greenish color.[2]
  • Tennessee tea replaces the gin with Tennessee whiskey and does not use tequila.[2]
  • Texas tea is created by adding whiskey.[2]


  1. ^ a b c "Long Island Ice Tea". International Bartenders Association. April 29, 2021. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Strong, Rebecca. "How to make a Long Island iced tea and all its variations". Insider. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  3. ^ a b c Osborne, J. H. (May 13, 2018). "Kingsport reclaims status as Long Island Iced Tea birthplace". AP.
  4. ^ a b Robert Butt. "The Official Website of the Original Long Island Iced Tea". Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c Thomson, Julie R. (August 2, 2017). "You Can Thank A Guy Named Bob Butt For The Long Island Iced Tea". HuffPost. Archived from the original on August 4, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  6. ^ "Long Island Iced Tea". INVENTORS. PBS Digital Studios, InventorSeries. Archived from the original on July 6, 2017. Retrieved May 3, 2017.
  7. ^ Moore, J. S. (October 13, 2006). Understanding Apples. Outskirts Press. p. 48. ISBN 1598007467.
  8. ^ Betty Crocker (1961). Betty Crocker's New Picture Cook Book. McGraw-Hill.
  9. ^ Applebaum, Ciara. "Bartenders reveal the drinks you should never order at a bar". BusinessInsider. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  10. ^ Wija, Tantri (August 21, 2019). "The randomly alcoholic Long Island Iced Tea might get a bad rap, but high-end mixologists can raise the bar considerably". The Seattle Times. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  11. ^ Jeunesse, Marilyn La. "Bartenders reveal what they really think of 16 popular drink orders". Insider. Retrieved January 9, 2022.
  12. ^ Teclemariam, Tammie (December 10, 2021). "Ask Tammie: What is a Good Party Cocktail?". Gawker. Archived from the original on January 1, 2022. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  13. ^ a b Kim, Eric. "Long Island Iced Tea Recipe". NYT Cooking. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  14. ^ Hinds, Alice. "Saturday Kitchen's Olly Smith on his favourite festive cocktails". The Sunday Post. Retrieved January 1, 2022.
  15. ^ "Adios Motherfucker Cocktail (AMF) Recipe". cocktail-society.com. October 7, 2022.
  16. ^ "Long Island Iced Tea". Tablespoon.com. Retrieved July 23, 2019.

External links[edit]