The Ultimate Long Island Ice Tea Recipe: How to Make the Perfect Cocktail

Welcome to the world of Long Island Iced Tea! The popular cocktail concoction is not only delicious, but it also packs a punch. If you’re looking for a refreshing and simple cocktail to make at home, Long Island Iced Tea is the perfect drink for you. In this article, we will take a step-by-step approach on how to make the perfect cocktail.

Long Island Iced Tea Cocktail

Most people often mistake this cocktail for being tea-based. However, it’s far from it! Long Island Iced Tea is a mixture of several types of alcohol. The combination includes rum, vodka, gin, tequila, triple sec, along with a dash of lemon juice and cola. It may seem like a complicated mix, but trust us when we say that it’s effortless to prepare. Just a few simple steps, and you’ll have a drink that is perfect for a night in with friends or a summer barbeque in the garden.

Long Island Ice Tea Recipe

Origin and Background

The Long Island Ice Tea cocktail has a long and colorful history. Despite its name, it did not originate on Long Island, but rather on the West Coast of the United States, in the 1970s. Its inventor is a matter of some debate, but the most widely accepted story is that Robert Butt, a bartender at the Oak Beach Inn in Long Island, was tasked with creating a new drink by the restaurant’s owner.

Butt played around with various spirits, eventually blending together vodka, gin, rum, tequila and triple sec, topped with cola and lemon juice. The resulting cocktail was strong, but surprisingly smooth and refreshing, despite its high alcohol content. It quickly became a hit with patrons at the Oak Beach Inn, and soon spread to other bars and restaurants along the East Coast.

Over the years, the Long Island Ice Tea has become a classic cocktail, found on menus around the world. Its deceptively simple recipe has spawned countless variations, and its popularity shows no signs of waning.


The classic Long Island Ice Tea recipe calls for equal parts of vodka, gin, rum, tequila and triple sec, along with a splash of lemon juice and a generous pour of cola. The exact proportions can be adjusted to suit personal tastes, but the key is to balance the flavors of the different spirits.

For a more flavorful Long Island Ice Tea, try swapping out one or more of the spirits for flavored variations. For example, a raspberry vodka or jalapeno tequila can add a new dimension to the cocktail. Alternatively, use a different type of cola or lemon juice for a subtle twist on the classic recipe.

Preparation and Serving

Making a Long Island Ice Tea is relatively simple, but there are a few tricks to ensure the perfect balance of flavors.

To start, fill a highball glass with ice. Add the spirits and lemon juice, and stir well to combine. Finally, top the glass with cola, and give it one last stir.

For a visually stunning presentation, try garnishing your Long Island Ice Tea with a lemon wedge, a sprig of mint, or even a slice of peach. Be sure to serve it in a tall glass, so its depth of flavor and hint of sweetness can be fully appreciated.

In conclusion, the Long Island Ice Tea may have humble origins, but it has become a classic cocktail enjoyed by drinkers around the world. Whether you stick with the classic recipe or add your own twist, this potent and flavorful beverage is sure to impress any crowd. So why not mix up a batch at your next party or get-together, and see why the Long Island Ice Tea has stood the test of time.

Variations and Twists to Long Island Ice Tea

The classic Long Island Ice Tea recipe is a popular cocktail that combines five different types of alcohol with sweet and sour mix and a splash of cola. But did you know that you could add a unique twist to the drink by experimenting with different syrups, juices, and liqueurs? Here are some variations and twists to the classic recipe that you can try out:

Adding Color and Flavor

One way to add color and flavor to the Long Island Ice Tea is by using different syrups and juices. For instance, you can add raspberry, blueberry, or peach syrup to give the drink a fruity twist. Alternatively, you can use grapefruit or pineapple juice to add a citrusy kick. You can also experiment with different liqueurs such as blue curacao, triple sec, or Chambord to enhance the flavor and color of the drink.

Mocktail and Low Calorie Versions

For those who prefer non-alcoholic drinks or are watching their weight, there are mocktail and low-calorie versions of Long Island Ice Tea that you can make. To make a mocktail version, swap the alcohol with soda water or lemonade and skip the cola. For a low-calorie version, use a sugar-free sweet and sour mix, and replace the cola with a diet soda or sparkling water. You can also use fresh fruit juice instead of syrups to give the drink natural sweetness without adding calories.

International Versions

Long Island Ice Tea is a popular drink all over the world, and different countries have adapted the recipe to suit local ingredients and tastes. In Australia, for instance, they use lemon-lime soda instead of cola and call it the Adelaide Ice Tea. In Greece, they add Ouzo, a traditional Greek liqueur, to the recipe and call it the Rhodian Ice Tea. To make these international variations at home, all you need to do is replace some of the ingredients with local substitutes and adjust the proportions to suit your taste.

Pairing Long Island Ice Tea with Food

The Long Island Ice Tea is a popular cocktail made with equal parts of vodka, gin, rum, triple sec, and sour mix, topped with a splash of cola. This mix of spirits is potent and can be paired with various types of food. The following are some suggestions for pairing Long Island Ice Tea with food.

Savory Pairings

The Long Island Ice Tea has a tangy and sweet taste that pairs well with salty and savory appetizers. These foods help to balance out the sweetness of the drink and enhance its overall flavor. Some of the best savory pairings for Long Island Ice Tea include:

  • Chicken Wings – The salty and spicy flavor of chicken wings complements the sweetness of the Long Island Ice Tea and enhances its citrusy notes.
  • Cheese and Crackers – The tangy and salty flavor of cheeses like cheddar, gouda, and brie pairs well with the sweetness of the cocktail and gives it depth.
  • Popcorn – The salt and buttery flavor of popcorn contrast well with the sweetness of the Long Island Ice Tea and makes a great snack for movie nights or parties.

Sweet Pairings

The Long Island Ice Tea has a sweet and tangy flavor that pairs well with desserts and sweets. These foods help to enhance the sweetness of the drink and create a harmonious balance between the flavors. Some of the best sweet pairings for Long Island Ice Tea include:

  • Cakes and Pastries – Dense cakes and pastries like chocolate cake, brownies, and pecan pie make for excellent pairings with the Long Island Ice Tea. Their bold flavors and textures complement the cocktail and make a perfect dessert combo.
  • Fruit Salad – The refreshing and tangy flavor of fruits like pineapple, mango, and strawberry pair well with the sweetness of the Long Island Ice Tea. This pairing makes for a light and refreshing dessert after a heavy meal.
  • Ice Cream – The cold and creamy texture of ice cream helps to counterbalance the strong alcoholic content of the Long Island Ice Tea. Try pairing it with your favorite ice cream flavors like vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry for a decadent treat.

Brunch Pairings

The Long Island Ice Tea is a versatile cocktail that can also be paired with brunch dishes. These dishes have a light and refreshing taste that complements the flavor profile of the cocktail. Some brunch pairings for Long Island Ice Tea include:

  • Frittata – A light and fluffy frittata made with vegetables and cheese pairs well with the Long Island Ice Tea. The tangy and savory flavors of the frittata help enhance the citrus flavors of the cocktail.
  • Pancakes and Waffles – The sweet and buttery taste of pancakes and waffles makes for an excellent pairing with Long Island Ice Tea. The cocktail’s sweetness helps to balance out the rich flavors of the dish.
  • Avocado Toast – The creamy and buttery flavor of avocado toast pairs well with the citrusy and sweet flavors of Long Island Ice Tea. This pairing is perfect for a light and healthy brunch.

These are just a few of the many dishes that pair well with Long Island Ice Tea. Experiment with different types of food to find the pairings that work best for your taste.

Long Island Ice Tea: Tips, Tricks and Common Mistakes

If you’re a fan of cocktails, then you would know that Long Island Ice Tea is one of the most popular drinks out there. It packs a punch with its potent mix of ingredients, including five types of liquors: gin, rum, vodka, tequila, and triple sec. But making a Long Island Ice Tea is not an easy task. Here are some tips, tricks, and common mistakes to avoid to make the perfect Long Island Ice Tea.

Tips for Beginners

Making a Long Island Ice Tea can be intimidating for beginners. However, following a few tips can help you ease into this cocktail making process with ease.

1. Use High-Quality Spirits:
Since Long Island Ice Tea is a combination of five alcohols, it is essential to use good quality ones. Always invest in top-shelf spirits to achieve the perfect balance of flavors.

2. Choose the Right Glass:
Long Island Ice Tea looks best in a highball or a hurricane glass. The shape of the glass enhances the presentation of the drink, making it more appealing to the eyes.

3. Follow the Recipe:
When it comes to Long Island Ice Tea, following the recipe is crucial. Measure the ingredients properly to get the right balance of flavors. Use simple syrup instead of granulated sugar to save time and effort.

4. Let it Chill:
After shaking the ingredients, let the cocktail rest in the shaker or mixing glass for a few seconds. This not only helps in allowing the flavors and aromas to blend properly, but it also chills the cocktail, providing a refreshing beverage for all to enjoy.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Making a Long Island Ice Tea is no walk in the park. Here are some common mistakes that people make while making this cocktail and how to avoid them.

1. Using Inferior Liquor:
Low-quality alcohol can ruin the taste of the Long Island. Always use high-quality spirits like top-shelf rum, tequila, gin, vodka, and triple sec for a flavorful cocktail.

2. Too Much of a Single Ingredient:
Maintaining a good balance between the ingredients is crucial while making a Long Island. Too much of a single spirit can overpower the drink and lose the balance of flavors.

3. Skipping Simple Syrup:
Often people opt for sugar instead of simple syrup while making Long Island Ice Tea, leading to a grainy texture. Use simple syrup as it mixes with the cocktail better and saves time while stirring.

4. Not Shaking It Well:
The proper mixing of ingredients is essential for the perfect Long Island. Shake the cocktail for a minimum of ten seconds to blend the flavors well.

Advanced Techniques

For the seasoned Long Island Ice Tea makers out there, here are some advanced techniques to take your cocktail making to the next level.

1. Garnish with Fruits:
Add a touch of elegance to your Long Island Ice Tea by garnishing with fruits, like a slice of lemon or lime. It not only imparts a pop of color but also adds some fresh flavors to the drink.

2. Swap Glassware:
Experiment with different glassware options to present your Long Island Ice Tea in a unique way. Use a martini glass or a mason jar to give it a personalized touch.

3. Add Cola Syrup:
Give your Long Island Ice Tea a fizz by adding cola syrup instead of the regular cola. Mix it properly to achieve a delicious and bubbly cocktail.

4. Unique Flavored Tea:
Incorporating a unique flavored tea like green tea or raspberry adds an exciting twist to your Long Island Ice Tea. Make sure to infuse it in the mix and add a new layer of taste to the cocktail.

In conclusion, making the perfect Long Island Ice Tea is all about balance and patience. Follow these tips, tricks, and common mistakes to avoid to get the perfect taste and presentation that will leave your guests impressed. Experiment with advanced techniques to give your cocktail a personal touch and achieve the perfect beverage for any occasion.

Thanks for Reading!

We hope this ultimate Long Island Ice Tea recipe enables you to make the perfect cocktail and impress your guests at your next party or gathering. Remember, the key is in the proportion and quality of ingredients. Don’t forget to experiment and find your own personal twist to this classic drink.

Don’t hesitate to visit again for more exciting recipes and tips on cocktails, food, and beyond. Cheers to good times and even better drinks!


What is a Long Island Ice Tea?

A Long Island Ice Tea is a cocktail that includes several types of spirits (gin, vodka, rum, triple sec, tequila) mixed together with lemon juice and Coke.

Why is it called a Long Island Ice Tea?

Although it has no actual tea in it, the cocktail was named after its resemblance to iced tea due to its brown color.

What does a Long Island Ice Tea taste like?

The Long Island Ice Tea is a potent cocktail with sweet and sour flavors, a little bit of fizziness from Coca Cola, and subtle hints of different spirits.

Can I make a virgin Long Island Ice Tea?

Yes, you can! Leave out the alcohol and add more lemon or lime juice, simple syrup, and Coca Cola to replicate the flavor.

How strong is a Long Island Ice Tea?

A Long Island Ice Tea is a powerful cocktail with multiple types of spirits, so it usually packs a punch with an alcohol content between 22-30%.

Can I use different spirits in a Long Island Ice Tea?

Yes, you can substitute the spirits for your favorite ones. However, keep in mind their strength and flavor profile to achieve the perfect balance and taste.

What is the best glass for a Long Island Ice Tea?

The best type of glass for a Long Island Ice Tea is a tall, narrow glass such as a Collins glass. This glass will showcase the cocktail’s layered appearance.

Can I make a Long Island Ice Tea pitcher?

Yes, you can definitely make a Long Island Ice Tea pitcher by increasing the proportions of the ingredients based on the number of servings you want to make.

Can I store Long Island Ice Tea in the fridge?

It’s better to prepare and serve Long Island Ice Tea fresh and immediately after mixing. However, if you have leftover cocktail, you can store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

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About the Author: David Dunlap

Worked in restaurants for years before turning to food writing and has won multiple awards for the work, including more than a dozen awards.

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