Ah, the Long Island Iced Tea.

While it may not be the classiest drink, it has its purposes and today we’re sharing our favorite classic version of the cocktail.

The story behind this boozy beverage is hazy, but most signs point to it being created during prohibition. If the drink was created during prohibition, it hails from Long Island, Tennessee, and was created by Charlie “Old Man” Bishop and improved by his son, Ransom Bishop. Another origin story comes from Long Island, NY and a cocktail competition entry by a Robert “Rosebud” Butt.

Regardless of where and how it was made, the Long Island Iced Tea has become a bar staple, here’s our favorite recipe.

long island iced tea, cocktails with lemon garnish

Long Island Iced Tea

Photo by Brent-Hofacker/Shutterstock

Classic Long Island Iced Tea

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 oz. Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. Tequila
  • 1/2 oz. Rum
  • 1/2 oz. Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Triple Sec
  • 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
  • Cola (to Top)
  • Cucumber Ribbon or Lemon Wedge (for Garnish)

Preparation: Combine all ingredients, except for the cola and garnish, in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled and diluted. Strain into a highball glass and fill with fresh ice, then top with cola and garnish.


There isn’t too much you can do to riff on a Long Island Iced Tea, it’s a hard drink to make into a craft cocktail. That said, here are two bartender recipes worth mixing up for yourself.

Long Island Iced Tea

Long Island Iced Tea

Photo Courtesy of Nino Andonis Photography

Long Island Iced Tea

Adapted by Dan Sabo, Ace Hotel, Los Angeles, from the original 1972 recipe by Robert Butt, Oak Beach Inn, Long Island NY. (Created for the Museum of the American Cocktail’s “Touring the Cocktail.”)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 oz. Absolut Vodka
  • 1/2 oz. Beefeater Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Olmeca Altos Tequila
  • 1/2 oz. Myers’s Platinum White Rum
  • 1/4 oz. Cointreau
  • 1/4 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 oz. Lime Juice
  • 1/4 oz. Simple Syrup
  • Float of Coca Cola Mexicana
  • Lemon Wheel, for Garnish

Preparation: Add all ingredients (except Coca Cola) to a mixing tin, add ice and shake. Strain into a highball filled with crushed ice. Float Coca Cola on top. Garnish with a lemon wheel and a straw.


POT Long Island Iced Tea

Long Island Iced Tea

Photo Courtesy of Sweet Leaf Tea

Long Island Lemon Tea

Courtesy of Sweet Leaf Tea

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 part Vodka
  • 1/2 part Gin
  • 1/2 part White Rum
  • 1/2 part White Tequila
  • 1 dash Triple Sec
  • 1 part Sweet Leaf Tea Lemon Iced Tea

Preparation: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add all ingredients and shake it up. Pour into a glass.