The Dangerously Delicious Long Island Iced Tea Cocktail

The Dangerously Delicious Long Island Iced Tea Cocktail
  • Notorious, yet not as dangerous as it seems

  • Easy cocktail to make at home or in the bar

  • 3 surprising recipe variations

The Long Island Iced Tea. A notorious cocktail that has endured the passage of time. Dangerous due to its mixture of many different spirits and best enjoyed when served ice cold. But if you use the right balance, your Long Island Iced Tea is not that risky as it seems. And it's actually a rather easy cocktail to make. Let us guide you on how to s properly prepare a Long Island Iced Tea cocktail that can be enjoyed without any harm.

How to make a Long Island Iced Tea?

As we use only very small volumes of each spirit in this Long Island Iced Tea recipe and the alcohol content is also somewhat diluted by the lime juice, sugar, and cola, this cocktail is safe to enjoy on a lovely summer evening. But of course, always in moderation. The Long Island Iced Tea cocktail is actually a long drink and it's one of the easier cocktails to make at home or in the bar.

Long Island Iced Tea ingredients

15 ml Bols Triple Sec
15 ml Bols Vodka
15 ml Damrak Gin
15 ml White Rum
15 ml Tequila
15 ml Fresh Lime Juice
5 ml Sugar Syrup
Top up with Cola

Long Island Iced Tea glassware and tools

Sling or long drink glass
Bar spoon

  1. Pour all the ingredients (except the cola) into a sling glass and stir. 

  2. Fill the glass with ice cubes and top it up with cola. 

  3. Stir briefly and garnish with a lime wheel.

History of the Long Island Iced Tea

There are many assertions about when the Long Island Iced Tea was invented, spanning different decades. But the most famous claimant is Robert 'Rosebud' Butt. The drink was created in 1972 when Butt was a bartender at the Oak Beach Inn Hotel in Long Island, New York. He participated in a cocktail contest in which contestants had to come up with a new cocktail using Triple Sec.

50 years prior to this, a similar cocktail was invented: the 'Old Man Bishop'. This was during the turbulent times of the prohibition in 1920s America. In a neighborhood called Long Island in Kingsport, Tennessee, an old man with the nickname 'Old Man Bishop' invented a drink containing whiskey, maple syrup, gin, vodka, tequila, and rum. In the 1960s, the first recipe published under the name of 'Long Island Iced Tea' appeared in Betty Crocker's New Picture Cook Book (1961).

The recipe that is now made and consumed worldwide is based on Robert 'Rosebud' Butt's recipe and combines equal parts Triple Sec, gin, rum, vodka, and tequila with lime juice, sugar syrup, and a splash of cola.

Amsterdam Iced Tea

The cocktail may have been invented in Long Island, most of the ingredients in this Long Island Iced Tea recipe have their roots in Amsterdam. Here Lucas Bols was one the first men to pick the best ingredients for its spirits, right upon their arrival in the port. So, we might as well call it this Amsterdam Iced Tea, right?

The 3 best variations of the Long Island Iced Tea recipe

When a cocktail has as many ingredients as the Long Island Iced Tea, there are many components you can potentially alter. Because of this, you would think it would be an easy cocktail to experiment with, but it's not quite as simple as it seems.

Recipe variation 1 – Change the base

Changing the base spirit is tricky because there are already so many different spirits in the cocktail. However, switching out the rum for Bols Barrel Aged Genever is a good option. Bols Triple Sec can be exchanged for Bols Ginger to give the cocktail a spicy edge. Or make a smoky version of the cocktail by replacing the whiskey with a peaty Scotch whiskey and switching out the tequila for the smoky agave spirit Mezcal: The Smoky Iced Tea.

Recipe variation 2 -Experiment with syrups

The sugar syrup can be replaced with vanilla syrup, passion fruit syrup, or elderflower syrup to give the cocktail a sweeter, fruity, or floral touch.

Recipe variation 3 – Go Asian

Try yuzu juice instead of the lime juice to give your Long Island Iced Tea an Asian twist. To go even further, you could also switch out the gin and vodka for shochu and sake.


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