How To Make A Long Island Iced Tea

Posted on 16 May 2014 17:14

Since the legendary Long Island Iced Tea cocktail has so many ingredients, it is usually ordered out at bars. However, there is nothing exotic about the ingredients and you don't even need to buy expensive liquors. In fact, I would advise against using anything "top shelf" as the distinctions will be lost in the drink, as in anything with over three liquors in it! Of course, you don't want to go too cheap, so I'll make some suggestions in the recipe.

All the liquors should be clear colored. However, you should keep in mind that if you want to make a variety of different cocktails, both highly flavored and simple, and you don't want to have two of everything, it is best to stick with more premium brands, which will be more versatile. If you do use premium brands, it will probably be an awesome drink, don't get me wrong, you just won't taste the flavor nuances of the better spirits. Whatever liquors you choose, it is easy to shake one up at home.

Yes, you will need to shake it if you want it to taste right. Most recipes on the internet just have you mix it all together in a glass, but while this is appropriate for a Martini, it is better to shake a complicated drink like this. And for convenience you might want a jigger. A jigger is a small measuring cup of a specific capacity. Barware styles offers a great stainless steel cocktail shaker and double jigger. The jigger is 1 oz on one side and 1/2 oz on the other side. Shaking is important to many cocktails. For example, if you want to make a perfect margarita, you'll have to shake it. Stirring is just not going to do.


Before we get to the recipe, let's dispense a little smear that has long been attached to this popular happy hour drink: It has tons of alcohol and will knock you on your derriere. A well-made Long Island Iced Tea has 2 1/2 ounces of alcohol in it from liquors and triple sec. That's pretty much the same as many other cocktails. The problem is that many inexperienced bartenders put a full ounce of each of the spirits in a glass and just top it with a little cola, ending up with 5 ounces of liquor in a nasty drink. The other thing, and you will see this in many recipes on the web, is the use of sour mix. You don't need it. Stick with fresh lemon juice and simple syrup so you can control the balance.

Long Island Iced Tea Recipe

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1/2 oz vodka (Svedka, Smirnoff, Skyy1)
1/2 oz gin (Beefeater, Bombay Dry, Tanqueray2)
1/2 oz tequila (just use white, blanco, or silver - Jose Cuervo, Sauza, El Jimador, Juarez)
1/2 oz light rum (light, white, or silver - Barcardi Light, Castillo White)
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz triple sec (generic "triple secs" or "orange liqueurs" are often completely unpalatable. Go with Cointreau3)
3/4 oz simple syrup
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
3 oz Coca-Cola
Lemon wedge for garnish, if desired


Fill the shaker about half to 3/4 full with ice. Small piece or cubes of ice work best. Mix together the vodka, gin, tequila, rum, Cointreau, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Do NOT add the Coca-Cola! Pour the mixture into the shaker put on the top, and shake vigorously for about 15 seconds. Strain into a Collins or Highball glass or other tall glass (8-10 oz) filled with ice, and top with the Coke until full. Stir gently and garnish the rim of the glass with the lemon wedge.

After making your first Long Island Iced Tea, you can experiment to get the recipe just right for you. Some people like to use a mixture of juices like lemon, lime, and orange. Some people like to add a bit more vodka to give it more punch. Make it the way you like the best!

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