The Liquor Cabinet

The Fast Easy Cocktail for Summer: Long Island Iced Tea

It may have a lot of ingredients, but making a Long Island Iced Tea couldn’t be simpler. Here’s a guide to what’s in a Long Island Iced Tea, and how to make it.

long island ice tea

As far as easy yet refreshing summer cocktails go, the Long Island Iced Tea is a classic for a reason.


With five different spirits used in Long Island Iced Tea ingredients (vodka, rum, gin, tequila and triple sec) you’d think the cocktail would smack you in the face with alcohol, but it’s actually dangerously easy to drink.


And are Long Island Iced Teas hard to make? Not at all – the Long Island Iced Tea recipe couldn’t be simpler; you don’t even need to use a cocktail shaker if you don’t have one.


As we look back to some of the greatest cocktails that were popular in the ‘70s to celebrate our 50th birthday, here’s your perfect Long Island Iced Tea recipe, plus a few interesting variations to try.

How to make a Long Island Iced Tea



  • 15ml (or half a shot) each of vodka, gin, tequila, rum and triple sec
  • 15ml simple syrup, optional
  • Ice
  • 30-60ml Coca-Cola (to taste)
  • Juice of half lemon
  • Lemon slice, to garnish



  1. Pour the spirits and simple syrup (a blend of cane sugar and water stirred over low heat), if using) into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake well.
  2. Strain into a tall glass and add Coca-Cola to taste.
  3. Add fresh lemon juice, and garnish with lemon slice.

So, what is the best way to prepare a perfect Long Island Iced Tea? Some believe that classic is best, even foregoing a cocktail shaker, whereas others like to get creative with the Long Island Iced Tea recipe, using different combinations of spirits, mixers and garnishes.


One popular variation of the Long Island Iced Tea is the Long Beach Tea – just substitute Coca-Cola for cranberry juice to give the cocktail a fruitier flavour. Added bonus: it’ll have a pretty rosy hue.


If you’re wondering how to make a Long Island Iced Tea with Jack Daniels, try the Tennessee and Texas Teas. For the Tennessee version, just omit the vodka, gin, rum and tequila – then double up on Jack Daniels (about 60ml) and shake it with VOK triple sec, lemon juice and simple syrup, before straining into a glass and adding cola and a lemon slice.


If the five spirits in a normal Long Island Iced Tea just aren’t enough for you, try the Texas Tea – prepare as you would the classic Long Island Tea, but with the addition of 15ml of bourbon whiskey. In fact, if you’re looking for a recipe for Long Island Iced Tea without gin, you could swap out the gin for whisky.

How to drink a Long Island Iced Tea

Not too quickly! But if we’re talking about what types of glass to serve your Long Island tea in, the tall Collins or Hurricane glasses are great options. Mason jars have also become popular and add a nice homespun vibe to a party where you’re serving Long Island Iced Tea.


In fact, it would give an appropriately retro touch to the cocktail that was likely born in 1920s America, where a ban on alcohol in the Prohibition era led to the creation of the strongest drink possible in one glass – disguised as an innocent iced tea.


Quick, easy to make and refreshing – there are a few very good reasons why you should give this punchy cocktail a spin, and raise a glass to “50 years of cheers”!

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