Try this classy Long Island Iced Tea recipe! Here are all the ingredients you need and how to make this classic cocktail…the best way.
Some cocktails have a strong image, and the Long Island Iced Tea is one of them, right? It’s boozy, low-brow, and sickly sweet, with strong chain restaurant vibes. But have you tried a classic Long Island Iced Tea? Mixed up as intended, this drink will blow you away. Ditch the sour mix and Triple Sec in favor of fresh citrus and top shelf liquor. One sip and it’s zingy, sweet tart, nuanced and sophisticated. This is one classy Long Island Iced Tea: and we’ll show you exactly how to make it!
Long Island Iced Tea ingredients
The Long Island Iced Tea is a highball cocktail made with 5 liquors: vodka, tequila, rum, gin and orange liqueur. When mixed together with cola the drink has a brown color, just like iced tea (and that’s where the similarities end). The modern version of this cocktail was most likely invented in 1972 by a bartender in Long Island, New York: hence the name.
The LIIT took off and became so popular that it made the list of the International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails! This means that it has an “official” definition. What’s in a Long Island Iced Tea?
- White rum
- Lemon juice
Yes, that’s a lot of ingredients. Let’s talk through why this makes the best Long Island Iced Tea recipe, and then whether there are substitutes!
Why this makes the best Long Island Iced Tea recipe
We promise: this LIIT is nothing like the sweet and artificial flavor you might be used to. This is a classy Long Island Iced Tea recipe: full of bright citrus flavor. Here’s how to make it the best:
- Use real lemon, not sour mix. That’s right! Do not even think about using store-bought sour mix here. Real citrus brings the best zingy flavor.
- Use Cointreau, not Triple Sec. Cointreau is an orange liqueur manufactured in France that has an orange perfume flavor. It’s much tastier than your average Triple Sec.
- Use good liquor. Sure, you can use low quality booze if it’s all you have. But the better the liquor, the better the drink!
How to make Long Island Iced Tea
You can build your Long Island Ice Tea in the glass: so you don’t have to dirty a cocktail shaker or spend time shaking! The only time involved here is measuring out each liquor…which does take a few minutes because there are so many components! Here’s all you need to do to make this easy drink:
- Stir: Pour the components into a highball glass. Add ice and stir.
- Garnish: Add a lemon wedge if desired.
Step it up with clear ice
Want to make a stunning looking cocktail? For the classiest of the classy Long Island Iced Tea, consider making a batch of clear ice! Clear ice is crystal clear artisan ice you can make at home: it’s not cloudy like normal ice. You can make it in just 24 hours and cut it into organic shapes, then store it in the freezer for all your cocktail recipes. For more, go to How to Make Clear Ice.
A few substitute ideas
What if you don’t have the entire laundry list of liquors on hand, but still want to make an LIIT? Here are a few ideas for some substitutions:
- Vodka, tequila, or gin: Leave one of these out and double one of the other liquors. For example, if you don’t have gin double the tequila. But try to have at least 3 of the 4 main liquors.
- White rum: Use another type of rum (aged or dark) if you don’t have white on hand. Aged adds a sophistication to the flavor. Or again, you can leave it out and double one of the other liquors.
- Cointreau: Want a Cointreau substitute? Use Triple Sec, Grand Marnier or Orange Curacao.
When to serve a Long Island Iced Tea
You can drink this classic drink anytime! It’s great for sipping in summer or warm weather, but it works anytime. Try it as a:
- Summer cocktail
- Happy hour drink
- Dinner party drink
- Late night drinks drink
- Guys or girls night drink
- Cocktail hour drink
Try this epic Long Island Iced Tea recipe! Here are all the ingredients you need and how to make this classic cocktail…the best way.
- 1/2 ounce* vodka
- 1/2 ounce tequila
- 1/2 ounce white rum
- 1/2 ounce gin
- 1/2 ounce Cointreau (or other orange liqueur like Triple Sec)
- 1 ounce lemon juice (fresh from a real lemon!)
- 3 ounces cola
- For the garnish: lemon wedge, fresh mint (optional)
- Ice, for serving (try clear ice!)
- Combine all ingredients in highball glass. Fill it with ice and stir. Garnish and serve.
*1/2 ounce = 1 tablespoon
- Category: Drink
- Method: Stirred
- Cuisine: Cocktails
Keywords: Long Island Iced Tea, Long Island Iced Tea Recipe, How to Make a Long Island Iced Tea, Long Island Iced Tea Ingredients, What’s in a Long Island Iced Tea
Related drinks: more highball cocktails!
The Long Island Iced Tea is one of the most famous highball cocktails, a style of cocktail that includes a larger percentage of mixer like fruit juice, soda water or ginger ale. Here are a few more classics to try:
- Go for a classic Tom Collins or Moscow Mule
- Go bubbly with a Gin Rickey, Lime Rickey, Vodka and Ginger Ale or Vodka Soda
- Grab ginger ale for a Whiskey Ginger or Rum and Ginger Ale
- Try the pretty pink Floradora
- Mix up cranberry highballs like the Sea Breeze or Vodka Cranberry
- Opt for a Dark and Stormy
- Pour up an easy Whiskey Highball
- Mix gin and grapefruit juice for a Greyhound
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.