Long Island Iced Tea (Rum as one of the spirits)


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Written By cocktailflavors.com
Long Island Iced Tea (Rum as one of the spirits)_001

Introduction to the Long Island Iced Tea

The Long Island Iced Tea is a cocktail that packs a punch with its blend of spirits and sweet, tangy flavors. Known for its high alcohol content, it’s a favorite at parties and bars alike. This classic highball is deceptively similar in taste to non-alcoholic iced tea, making it a unique and enjoyable drink.

Its history is as rich as its flavor profile, with several theories about its origin. The Long Island Iced Tea is a versatile cocktail that can be enjoyed on many occasions. Whether you’re hosting a gathering or simply looking to unwind, this drink is sure to be a hit.

Join us as we dive into the world of this beloved cocktail, exploring its flavors, history, and the best ways to enjoy it. Whether you’re a seasoned mixologist or a curious newbie, there’s something in the Long Island Iced Tea for everyone.

Key Facts About the Long Island Iced Tea

  • Alcohol Volume: Approximately 22% ABV (44 proof)
  • Calories: Approximately 220 kcal per serving
  • Glass Type: Highball or hurricane glass
  • Garnish: Lemon wedge

Interesting Facts about the Long Island Iced Tea

  • The cocktail is believed to have originated during the Prohibition era as a means to disguise alcoholic drinks.
  • Despite its name, there’s no actual tea in a Long Island Iced Tea.
  • It’s a popular choice for its ability to blend multiple spirits into a smooth, palatable drink.

Long Island Iced Tea Preparation

Tasting Notes

The Long Island Iced Tea is a symphony of flavors, with the sharpness of lemon juice balancing the sweetness of the sugar syrup. The combination of rum, vodka, tequila, gin, and triple sec creates a complex, yet harmonious taste. This cocktail is perfect for those who enjoy a strong, spirited drink with a sweet edge.

It’s a versatile drink that fits a variety of occasions, from summer barbecues to elegant parties. The Long Island Iced Tea is particularly popular among those who appreciate a cocktail that delivers both flavor and a potent kick.

History of the Long Island Iced Tea

The origins of the Long Island Iced Tea are somewhat murky, with multiple claims to its invention. One popular story attributes the creation to a bartender named Robert “Rosebud” Butt, who reportedly concocted the drink for a contest in the 1970s. However, there are also tales of a similar drink being mixed during the Prohibition era.

Regardless of its true beginnings, the Long Island Iced Tea has become a staple in the cocktail world. Its popularity soared in the 1980s and it remains a favorite to this day. The drink’s ability to disguise a high alcohol content behind a veil of sweetness has contributed to its enduring appeal.

Long Island Iced Tea Ingredients

  • White Rum: 1/2 oz (15 ml) – Adds a sweet and slightly fruity flavor.
  • Vodka: 1/2 oz (15 ml) – Provides a clean, strong alcohol base.
  • Silver Tequila: 1/2 oz (15 ml) – Contributes a smooth agave taste.
  • Gin: 1/2 oz (15 ml) – Infuses herbal and floral notes.
  • Triple Sec: 1/2 oz (15 ml) – Offers a citrusy sweetness.
  • Fresh Lemon Juice: 3/4 oz (22 ml) – Brings a zesty tang.
  • Simple Syrup: 3/4 oz (22 ml) – Balances with sweetness.
  • Cola: To top up – Adds color and a caramel-like flavor.
  • Lemon Wedge: For garnish – Enhances presentation and aroma.

Did you know? The Long Island Iced Tea can be considered a full bar in one glass due to its combination of five different spirits.

Long Island Iced Tea Ingredients

Long Island Iced Tea Method


Begin by filling a shaker with ice cubes to chill the spirits and enhance their flavors. Measure and pour the rum, vodka, tequila, gin, triple sec, lemon juice, and simple syrup into the shaker. This precise combination is crucial for achieving the signature Long Island Iced Tea taste.


Shake the mixture vigorously until the shaker feels cold to the touch. This not only chills the drink but also ensures that the ingredients are well-mixed, creating a smooth and even flavor profile.


Strain the chilled mixture into a highball or hurricane glass filled with ice cubes. Top up with cola for that classic iced tea color and gently stir. The cola adds the final touch of sweetness and effervescence, completing the drink.


Garnish with a lemon wedge on the rim of the glass. This not only adds a pop of color but also allows the drinker to squeeze in some extra citrus if desired.

Serving Suggestion

The Long Island Iced Tea is traditionally served in a highball or hurricane glass. These glasses provide ample space for ice and the necessary volume of liquid, ensuring a well-proportioned drink. The tall shape also showcases the layered effect when the cola is added.

Garnishes such as a lemon wedge or a twist can be used to enhance the visual appeal and aromatic experience. A straw may also be provided for easier sipping.

Elevating the Long Island Iced Tea

  • Use Premium Spirits: Opting for high-quality brands can significantly improve the taste of your Long Island Iced Tea.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Freshly squeezed lemon juice and homemade simple syrup can make a noticeable difference in flavor.
  • Proper Technique: Shaking the cocktail until properly chilled and diluting it just right is key to a balanced drink.

Experimenting with different types of cola can also add unique twists to the classic recipe. Some mixologists suggest a splash of orange liqueur or bitters to add depth.

Elevated Long Island Iced Tea

Substitutions and Alternatives for the Long Island Iced Tea

If you’re missing an ingredient, there are several substitutions that can be made without compromising the integrity of the drink. For example, Cointreau can be used in place of triple sec for a more refined citrus flavor.

Similar cocktails that share the spirit-forward and citrusy profile of the Long Island Iced Tea include the Zombie and the Hurricane. These drinks also offer a complex blend of flavors with a tropical twist.

Add a Twist

For a modern take on the Long Island Iced Tea, consider infusing the simple syrup with herbs like basil or mint. Another idea is to use flavored colas or craft sodas to introduce new dimensions to the drink.

Adding a splash of fruit juice such as pineapple or mango can transform the cocktail into a more tropical beverage, perfect for summer sipping.

Preferred Liquors for the Long Island Iced Tea

When it comes to selecting spirits for the Long Island Iced Tea, brands like Bacardi for rum, Smirnoff for vodka, and Jose Cuervo for tequila are reliable choices. For gin, a London dry style like Beefeater adds the necessary botanical notes.

Choosing a triple sec like Cointreau can elevate the drink, providing a smoother and more pronounced orange flavor.

Similar Cocktails to the Long Island Iced Tea

If you enjoy the Long Island Iced Tea, you might also like the Tokyo Iced Tea, which substitutes the cola with melon liqueur. The Adios Motherfucker (AMF) is another alternative that uses blue curaçao for a vibrant twist.

These cocktails share the same spirit base but offer different flavor profiles and visual appeal.

Food Pairings to go with the Long Island Iced Tea

The strong flavors of the Long Island Iced Tea pair well with hearty, savory snacks like sliders or nachos. For a more refined pairing, consider seafood appetizers like shrimp cocktail or calamari.

Spicy foods can also complement the cocktail’s sweetness, making dishes like buffalo wings or jalapeño poppers excellent choices.

Long Island Iced Tea FAQs

Can I make a Long Island Iced Tea without one of the spirits? While the classic recipe includes five spirits, you can omit one and still enjoy a similar flavor profile.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Long Island Iced Tea? Yes, you can create a “virgin” version by using non-alcoholic spirit substitutes and omitting the triple sec.

How can I make my Long Island Iced Tea less strong? You can reduce the amount of each spirit and increase the cola or add a splash of water for a milder drink.

What’s the best way to garnish a Long Island Iced Tea? A lemon wedge is traditional, but you can also use lime, orange slices, or a sprig of mint for a fresh touch.

Can I batch make Long Island Iced Teas for a party? Yes, you can mix the spirits and citrus in a large pitcher and add the cola just before serving to maintain fizz.

Long Island Iced Tea (Rum as one of the spirits)_001

Long Island Iced Tea

The Long Island Iced Tea is a potent blend of several spirits combined with the tangy flavors of lemon juice and the sweetness of sugar syrup, topped off with a splash of cola. It's a classic highball that has a reputation for its strong alcohol content while tasting deceptively non-alcoholic.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Cocktail
Servings 1 drink
Calories 220 kcal


  • Shaker
  • Jigger
  • Strainer
  • Highball glass


  • 1/2 oz White Rum
  • 1/2 oz Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Silver Tequila
  • 1/2 oz Gin
  • 1/2 oz Triple Sec
  • 3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
  • Cola to top up
  • Lemon wedge for garnish


  • Fill a shaker with ice cubes.
  • Add the rum, vodka, tequila, gin, triple sec, lemon juice, and simple syrup to the shaker.
  • Shake well until the outside of the shaker feels cold.
  • Strain the mixture into a highball or hurricane glass filled with ice cubes.
  • Top up with cola and gently stir to combine.
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge.


Always drink responsibly and be aware of local legal drinking ages. The cocktail's high alcohol content makes it a strong drink that should be enjoyed in moderation.
Keyword Classic Cocktail, Cocktail, cola, Gin, Highball, lemon juice, Long Island Iced Tea, party drink, Rum, sugar syrup, Tequila, Triple Sec, vodka

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