Long Island Iced Tea – A Beautiful Mess

A Long Island Iced Tea is one of the most popular cocktails of all time. On television shows, people will often order this drink to signal to the audience that they want to get absolutely hammered—and when you read the ingredients list, you’ll understand why. This is definitely a “one and done” cocktail, meaning you only need one. 

A Long Island Iced Tea is made from mixing different liquors along with simple syrup, lemon juice and a splash of cola. Even though the ingredients list looks a bit unhinged, the resulting drink is very delicious. Today, I’ll teach you the perfect recipe for this at home cocktail.

More classic recipes: Mojito, Cosmo, Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Screwdriver, Aperol Spritz, Negroni.

Does a Long Island Iced Tea contain tea?

This drink does not contain even one drop of tea. Just like the Green Tea Shot and the White Tea Shot, the Long Island Iced Tea is named for its color and appearance, which looks like a tall glass of iced tea. Instead of brewing tea, you’ll be opening your liquor cabinet to mix this drink.


  • Vodka – A quality unflavored vodka is best.
  • Tequila – Choose a silver tequila, or tequila blanco.
  • White Rum
  • Gin
  • Triple Sec – Or any orange liqueur including Grand Marnier or Cointreau.
  • Simple Syrup – Learn to make your own simple syrup (it’s easy!)
  • Lemon Juice – Fresh squeezed if you can.
  • Cola – To top.
  • Lemon Wedge – To garnish.

The best glass to serve a Long Island Iced Tea in is a highball glass filled with ice.


You won’t need a cocktail shaker, you can mix this cocktail right in the glass. 

Add the different types of alcohol: vodka, tequila, rum, gin and triple sec to a highball glass filled with ice.

Next, add simple syrup and fresh lemon juice. Top with a generous pour of cola and stir. I recommend several ounces of cola. 

Garnish with a lemon wedge or lemon slice. Serve with a straw.

Tips for Making

  • This recipe is very forgiving for subbing or omitting ingredients. You don’t need all of the liquors to create a nice drink, so skip one or two if you don’t have them on hand. The essential ingredients for the flavor of this cocktail are the triple sec, lemon juice, simple syrup and cola. 
  • To make my drink prettier, I used thinly sliced lemon wheels on the outside of the glass (use the ice cubes to hold them in place). This presentation makes any basic drink a little more attractive. 
  • One Long Island Iced Tea is more than plenty. Always drink responsibly.

History of a Long Island Iced Tea

As with most popular cocktails, the history is a bit muddy, so I will tell you the popular theories of how the Long Island Iced Tea came to be. Some say the drink was created in Long Island in the 1970s, which makes sense given the name. Another story is that it was created during the Prohibition era when people liked to make drinks that looked and sounded like they didn’t contain alcohol.

Recipe Variations

  • Boston Tea Party – In this recipe variation, you use Blue Curaçao instead of triple sec and lemon-lime soda instead of cola.
  • Hawaiian Iced Tea – This variation replaces cola with pineapple juice for a more tropical flavor.
  • Long Beach Iced Tea – Substitute cranberry juice for cola to make a Long Beach Iced tea.
  • Tennessee Tea – Is created by swapping gin for Tennessee whiskey.
  • Tokyo Iced Tea – Replace cola with Sprite and replace triple sec with Midori for this fun, bright green cocktail. 
  • Big Batch Pitcher – Make a pitcher of Long Island Iced Tea by making 6x the cocktail recipe and serving it in a pitcher.

Serving Suggestions

We definitely recommend pairing this drink with a meal.


Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the strongest cocktail?

Many people think the Long Island Iced Tea is the strongest cocktail since it contains so much liquor and so few mixing ingredients. It’s not the world’s strongest cocktail (that is the Aunt Roberta, which contains 100% alcohol and no mixers). That said, the Long Island Iced Tea is stronger than most highball drinks and should be consumed responsibly.

Does the Long Island Iced Tea have tea in it?

There is no tea in a Long Island Iced Tea. It is named for having the appearance of iced tea.


get the recipe
Get the Recipe

Learn to make a Long Island Iced Tea

Yield 1 cocktail

Prep 5 minutes


  • You won’t need a cocktail shaker, you can mix this cocktail right in the glass.

  • Add the vodka, tequila, rum, gin, triple sec, simple syrup and lemon juice to a collins glass filled with ice.

  • Top with a generous pour of cola and stir.

  • Garnish with a lemon wedge or sliced lemon wheels.

  • Serve with a straw.


Nutrition Facts

Long Island Iced Tea

Amount per Serving

% Daily Value*

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated, using Spoonacular, for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.

Source link: https://abeautifulmess.com/long-island-iced-tea/




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