The Long Island Iced Tea is a heady cocktail made with tequila, rum, vodka, gin, triple sec, lime and lemon juice topped with a splash of cola. Learn how to make the classic Long Island drink plus a few fun variations.
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Ahhhh the famous The Long Island Iced Tea… For many of us it’s probably our first introduction into cocktails. And what an intro it was… Because despite the innocent name there’s no actual tea in this popular drink – it is simply the colour of iced tea.
The LIIT is not a sophisticated drink and it won’t win any mixology competitions. In fact is a little bit of a guilty pleasure cocktail – much like the Pornstar Martini. If you feel slightly embarrassed to order one in a bar then why not make it at home? 😉
So what IS in a Long Island Iced Tea? Brace yourselves… This cocktail contains the better part of your drinks cabinet, no fewer than FIVE spirits. Like, is this for real?
It doesn’t sound like it should work and yet it does, in major way! It is mega refreshing and the simple ratios of the Long Island Iced Tea recipe make it perfect for scaling up to serve at parties and barbecues.
Long Island Iced Tea Ingredients
You only need a tablespoon (15ml/ 1/2 oz) of each of these spirits for a single serving, plus some ice-cold Cola to top and lime or lemon slices to garnish.
For a lighter version use only a teaspoon of each of the spirits. Some versions also contain simple (sugar) syrup, I don’t think it is needed. By all means taste your drink and add if you prefer it on the sweet side.
- Light Rum
- Silver Tequila
- Triple Sec (orange liqueur)
- Lemon juice
- Lime Juice
Let’s do some cocktail math
With no less than five spirits, a LIIT contains about 2 1/2-3 shots of alcohol, approximately 22 percent. Let’s do the math: 60ml/2oz of high proof spirits plus 15ml/ half an ounce of Triple Sec.
Long Island cocktail has a reputation for ‘packing a wallop like a donkey kick‘ (to quote the Gilmore Girls). This could be down to the fact that some bartenders pour very generous measures when making a LIIT.
But the real reason is that this drink is so darned drinkable, so addictive, that you finish it quickly and want a second one the minute the glass is empty. You have been warned!
How to Make a Long Island Iced Tea
The traditional way is to add all the ingredients apart from the Cola into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake for 30 seconds and strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Top with the coke , stir and garnish with lime or lemon slices.
I prefer to simply pour all the spirits into a glass filled with ice, stir and top with coke. If you want to dilute the spirits more then use the shaken not stirred method.
How to make Long Island Pitcher
If you are scaling the cocktail to serve at a party then add all the ingredients apart from the coke into a pitcher and chill. Add ice to the pitcher just before serving and give everything a good stir. Pour into glasses filled with ice and top with cold soda.
This is an simple drink to scale up – simply multiply 15 by however many servings you want. To serve a crowd of 8 for example you will need 15x 8= 120ml (½ cup) of each of the spirits, lime and lemon plus ice and coke.
It’s easy to pour very generous measures if you are making a pitcher so be careful when serving – your party could get out of hand very quickly!
How many calories in a LIIT?
There’s approximately 220 calories in a single serving of Long Island Iced Tea without any sugar syrup. The calories are reduced to about 200 if you top with Diet Coke.
Long Island Iced Tea Variations
Making variations of the classic ‘Tea is almost as much fun as drinking one. These are some of the best-known variations plus one of my own.
- Long Beach Tea: Replace the cola with cranberry juice – very refreshing and eye catching with a beautiful pink colour.
- Hawaian Iced Tea: Replace the cola with pineapple juice.
- Texas Tea: Add another spirit into the mix – bourbon! Needless to say this IS stronger than the original.
- Hipster Iced Tea: This is what my husband and I call our version which replaces some of the spirits with more trendy equivalents. A mix of Pisco, Mescal, Grand Marnier, Gold Rum and whatever else is lurking in the back of our drinks cabinet 😉
- Take a look at my other variation – the Long Island Iced Coffee (it really does have coffee in it).
Take a look at my Cocktails archive for more refreshing drinks ideas – there’s something there for everyone 🙂
Long Island Iced Tea
Long Island Iced Tea – single serving
- 1 tbsp vodka
- 1 tbsp gin
- 1 tbsp light rum
- 1 tbsp silver tequila
- 1 tbsp triple sec or any other orange liqueur
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 80 ml | ⅓ cup cola or to taste
- lime or lemon slices to garnish
Long Island Iced Tea – Pitcher (serves 8 minimum)
- 120 ml | ½ cup vodka
- 120 ml | ½ cup gin
- 120 ml | ½ cup light rum
- 120 ml | ½ cup silver tequila
- 120 ml | ½ cup triple sec
- 120 ml | ½ cup lemon juice or to taste
- 120 ml | ½ cup lime juice or to taste
- Cold cola to top up
- lime or lemon slices to garnish
Long Island Iced Tea – single serve
- Add all the ingredients apart from the Cola into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Alternatively simply pour all the ingredients into a tall glass filled with plenty of ice.
- Shake and strain into a tall glass filled with ice and top with the coke.
- Add a couple of lime slices and a straw to serve.
Long Island Iced Tea – Pitcher
- Add all the ingredients apart from the coke into a pitcher and chill.
- Add ice to the pitcher just before serving and give everything a good stir.
- Divide into 8 (or more) glasses filled with ice and top with cold soda.