Long Island Iced Tea

The Not-So-Long History of the Long Island Iced Tea I t’s basically a rite of passage in America that when one turns 21 years of age, the...


The Not-So-Long History of the Long Island Iced Tea

It’s basically a rite of passage in America that when one turns 21 years of age, they must head to the nearest bar and order a Long Island Iced Tea. The potent cocktail involves the mingling of five different types of alcohol, served on the rocks in a highball glass. It’s the kind of cocktail you order when you’re looking to get drunk. There’s nothing wrong with that of course, though please be sure when you order one or even make it at home that you don’t get behind the wheel.

Other cocktails seem to be shrouded in intensive mysteries and conspiracy theories as to how they came to be. There is not much to the tale of how this cocktail was concocted. True to its form, the Long Island Iced Tea puts it all out there, right up front. In 1972, a bartender named Robert Butt (nicknamed Rosebud) was said to have created it for a contest that involved using triple sec during his time working on Long Island at the Oak Beach Inn.

No one can say for sure, but it could be that the drink we know as the Long Island Iced Tea was based on one that was only slightly different than it that came from the Prohibition era in the 1920s. This creation was made by Old Many Bishop who hailed from a community named Long Island in the town of Kingsport, Tennessee. Tweaked by his son, Ransom, the difference was the use of whiskey along with maple syrup, plus the other liquors involved ranged in quantities unlike the version we drink today.

When you sidle up to the bar and order a Long Island Iced Tea these days, it’s best that you take a cab or decide on a designated driver for the evening. Long Island Iced tea is made with equal parts of tequila, vodka, gin, light rum, and triple sec, all poured over ice into a highball. A splash of cola completes the look, which makes it resemble iced tea.

But of course, this isn’t your grandma’s iced tea, and if it is, well, your grandma is cooler than ours. You may also see this drink with sour mix added in. Other modern-day twists on this classic include less triple sec or the use of other orange liqueurs, lemon juice instead of sour mix, diet cola instead of regular cola, or even a splash of real iced tea.

The high alcohol content of around 22% though if you really want to have a wild night, ask your bartender to make it extra long. That basically doubles up the alcohol involved in it. A couple of these and we’ll be surprised if you’re still standing on your own. Take it easy, and drink responsibly.

Have you ever ordered a Long Island Iced Tea? What was the wildest thing you ever did after drinking one?

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The Cocktails Portal: Long Island Iced Tea
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