Long Island Iced Tea | Cotswold Cocktail School
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Long Island Iced Tea

Long Island Iced Tea

ABV 15.8% / 3 Alcoholic Units

Primary Spirit: Rum, Tequila, Gin, Vodka

A Brief History of a Long Island Iced Tea

The origin of the Long Island Iced Tea is somewhat disputed, but it is most commonly attributed to Robert "Rosebud" Butt, who claims to have created the drink in the 1970s as part of a contest to create a new mixed drink using triple sec at the Oak Beach Inn in Long Island, New York. Another version traces its origins to the 1920s Prohibition era, where a similar drink was said to be created in a community known as "Long Island" in Kingsport, Tennessee. Regardless of its exact origins, the Long Island Iced Tea gained widespread popularity in the 1980s and remains a popular choice for its strong, yet palatable, flavour.

Taste and Flavour Profile

The Long Island Iced Tea is a complex cocktail with a robust and slightly sweet flavour. The mix of spirits—vodka, rum, tequila, gin, and triple sec—melds together seamlessly, creating a balanced blend that is both refreshing and slightly citrusy, thanks to the addition of freshly squeezed citrus and cola. The drink’s sweetness and the hint of cola mask the high alcohol content, making it deceptively easy to drink.

Food Pairings

The Long Island Iced Tea pairs well with a variety of foods, making it a versatile choice for different occasions. Its robust and slightly sweet flavour complements spicy dishes, making it a great match for Mexican food like tacos, nachos, and enchiladas. It also pairs nicely with bar snacks like chicken wings, sliders, and fried calamari. For a lighter option, try serving it with a fresh salad or seafood dishes such as shrimp cocktail or grilled fish.

Bar Equipment

  • Cocktail shaker
  • Hawthorne strainer
  • Highball glass
  • Jigger


  • 15ml Vodka
  • 15ml Gin
  • 15ml Tequila
  • 15ml White Rum
  • 15ml Cointreau
  • 15ml Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 15ml Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 15ml Simple syrup*
  • Cola top
  • Ice
  • Garnish with lemon wheel 


  • Add all the ingredients except the cola into the shaker with a handful of ice and shake until cooled
  • Strain into the highball glass filled with ice
  • Top with cola and briefly stir
  • Garnish with a lemon wheel

*Simple syrup - 1 part sugar to one part water. Gently heat in a pan until sugar has dissolved and allow to cool.

What's the Best Spirits of a Long Island Iced Tea?

Choosing high-quality spirits for a Long Island Iced Tea can elevate the cocktail’s flavor profile. Here are some recommended options for each type of spirit used in this cocktail:


  • Absolut Vodka: Known for its clean, smooth taste, Absolut is a versatile choice that blends well with other spirits.

White Rum

  • Bacardi Superior: A classic choice with a light and balanced flavour, ideal for mixed drinks.


  • Espolòn Blanco: Known for its smooth, crisp flavor and excellent quality.


  • Tanqueray: Another classic gin, known for its balanced botanicals and smooth finish.

Tripple Sec

  • Cointreau: A premium triple sec with a robust orange flavor that stands out in cocktails.


  • Coca-Cola: The classic choice for topping off a Long Island Iced Tea, providing the right level of sweetness and carbonation.
  • Pepsi: Another option that adds a slightly different, but equally enjoyable, flavor profile.

Using these high-quality spirits ensures a more refined and enjoyable Long Island Iced Tea, highlighting the cocktail’s complexity and balance.


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