Sipping the Classic Long Island Iced Tea

jack daniels whiskey with cola on wooden board

Long Island Iced Tea, despite its name, doesn’t hail from the sandy shores of Long Island. Instead, this potent and popular cocktail originated in the 1970s in the heart of America. Despite its misleading moniker, this drink has captured the hearts of many with its unique blend of spirits and flavors. Join us as we dive into the history, ingredients, and variations of this classic cocktail.


Contrary to what its name suggests, the Long Island Iced Tea did not originate in Long Island. Its exact origins are a bit murky, with several stories claiming its creation. One tale credits a bartender named Robert “Rosebud” Butt, who allegedly invented the drink in the 1970s at the Oak Beach Inn in Hampton Bays, New York. Another story traces its roots to a contest in the 1920s held by a community social club in Long Island to create a new cocktail, with the winning entry resembling the Long Island Iced Tea we know today.


The Long Island Iced Tea is notorious for its potent mix of spirits, often referred to as a “suicide cocktail” due to its high alcohol content. The classic recipe includes equal parts vodka, tequila, rum, gin, and triple sec, mixed with sour mix, simple syrup, and a splash of cola. Despite its intimidating lineup of liquors, the blend creates a surprisingly smooth and refreshing drink.

Flavor Profile

Despite its strong alcohol content, the Long Island Iced Tea is surprisingly smooth and easy to drink. The blend of spirits, combined with the sweetness of the cola and sour mix, creates a balanced and refreshing flavor profile. The citrusy notes from the sour mix complement the hints of caramel and vanilla from the cola, making it a perfect summer sipper.


Like any classic cocktail, the Long Island Iced Tea has inspired numerous variations over the years. Some popular adaptations include the Texas Tea, which replaces the cola with sweet tea, giving it a Southern twist. Another variation is the Long Beach Iced Tea, which swaps the cola for cranberry juice, creating a slightly sweeter and fruitier version of the classic.

Whether you’re sipping it on a hot summer day or enjoying it as a nightcap, the Long Island Iced Tea is a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time. Its blend of spirits and flavors creates a unique drinking experience that is both refreshing and satisfying. So, next time you’re in the mood for a cocktail with a kick, why not mix up a batch of Long Island Iced Teas and transport yourself to a beachside bar, no matter where you are.