The Real Long Island Iced Tea Recipe (2024)

It’s hard to know where and when the Long Island Iced Tea, perhaps one of the most infamous co*cktails in modern times, was truly invented.

Who Invented the Long Island Iced Tea?

The city of Kingsport, Tennessee, has claimed it as their own, with tourism officials stating it was created by moonshine distiller Charlie “Old Man” Bishop during the Prohibition era and named after a nearby island in the Holston River. This original version was said to include modern staples like vodka, gin, rum and tequila, but also included whiskey and maple syrup.

However, in an escalation of local tourism board public relations wars, New York’s Long Island disputed this account, claiming the drink was created much later in the 1970s by Robert “Rosebud” Butt, then a bartender at Jones Beach’s now-defunct Oak Beach Inn. That version hews closer to the Long Island Iced Tea made worldwide today. It includes triple sec and cola while omitting brown spirits.

What’s in a Long Island Iced Tea?

A Long Island Iced Tea consists of vodka, gin, tequila, white rum, triple sec, lemon juice, simple syrup and cola. Though the number of liquors in this co*cktail can seem staggering, one of the reasons for its enduring popularity is that it’s fairly uncomplicated to make. As an old bartender shorthand goes, just use all your clear base spirits plus triple sec, add in lemon juice and simple syrup, then top with cola.

What Is the Alcohol Content of a Long Island Iced Tea?

To bust one myth, when made to spec, a Long Island Iced Tea is not boozier than most other standard co*cktails. Four full-fledged liquors are used but in half-ounce pours, meaning that added all together they comprise a full 2 ounces, which tends to be the standard amount for most single-spirit co*cktails. There’s technically a fifth spirit here, too: Triple sec is a lower-proofed liqueur commonly used as a sweetening agent. Altogether, this makes your Long Island Iced Tea akin to a standard margarita, sidecar or even Cosmo in the alcohol-by-volume department.

The most notable achievement of the Long Island Iced Tea is that for a co*cktail that sounds disgusting on paper—vodka, gin, tequila and rum in the same glass—it actually comes together in a deceptively easy-drinking package. Perhaps this is why the perception of its strength persists, not because of the overall alcohol content of the drink, but how quickly and easily they can be chugged.

How to Make a Long Island Iced Tea


Total Time

1 min.

Serving Size



½ ounce vodka

½ ounce gin

½ ounce tequila

½ ounce white rum

½ ounce triple sec

½ ounce simple syrup

¾ ounce lemon juice

Cola, to top

Lemon wedge, for garnish

Technique #1: Like a Pro

Combine everything except cola and garnish in shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously until well chilled, 15–20 seconds. Strain into Collins glass over fresh ice. Fill with cola to top. Garnish with lemon wedge.

Technique #2: Like a Local

Combine all ingredients except garnish in a Collins glass. Give a few swirls with a straw and garnish if you want, or just drink.


What’s in a Long Island Iced Tea?

Our booze-forward Long Island Iced Tea has five different liquors in it: vodka, gin, tequila, white rum and triple sec. It also incorporates lemon juice and simple syrup, plus a splash of cola, which gives the drink its signature color.

How many calories in a Long Island Iced Tea?

According to the calorie-focused website, an 8.3-ounce Collins glass of Long Island Iced Tea clocks in 276 calories. That said, if you use a larger glass and, as a result, top with even more cola, expect that figure to rise.

How many shots are in a Long Island Iced Tea?

There are five spirits in equal parts in our classic Long Island Iced Tea, making for a total of 2.5 ounces of alcohol. This is equal to that of 1 ⅔ shots, assuming that the shot glass holds 1.5 ounces.(Keep in mind that the total includes a half-ounce of less-boozy triple sec.)

What does a Long Island Iced Tea taste like?

Though the drink’s color is reminiscent of an actual iced tea, there is no tea in it at all. It’s a little bit sweet, a tad sour and known to be an easy-drinking co*cktail, which is why it’s often called a “dangerous” drink.

How much alcohol is in a Long Island Iced Tea?

According to Drizly, canned versions can range from as low as 13.2% alcohol by volume (ABV) to as high as 21% ABV. Remember, however, that homemade versions might be more or less boozy depending on the generosity of your pour.

How many carbs are in a Long Island Iced Tea? states that an 8.3-ounce Long Island Iced Tea delivers 33.3 grams of carbohydrates.

This article was updated on October 10, 2022.

The Real Long Island Iced Tea Recipe (1)

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Last Updated: June 27, 2023

The Real Long Island Iced Tea Recipe (2024)


How many shots of alcohol are in a Long Island? ›

How many shots are in a Long Island Iced Tea? There are five spirits in equal parts in our classic Long Island Iced Tea, making for a total of 2.5 ounces of alcohol. This is equal to that of 1 ⅔ shots, assuming that the shot glass holds 1.5 ounces.

What is the best rum for Long Island Iced Tea? ›

Rum: Captain Morgan White Rum or Bacardi White Rum work really well in a Long Island Iced Tea. They're good rums that don't break the bank. Vodka: An LIT doesn't need your favorite vodka, just a well-made vodka like Tito's Handmade Vodka or New Amsterdam Vodka.

How many different liquors are in a Long Island? ›

Get ready to pour because the recipe requires five white distilled spirits (including triple sec), a shot of sour mix, and cola. Though it's strong, if you use decent-quality ingredients and slip it slowly, you can enjoy this refresher without regrets.

How many drinks are contained in this Long Island Iced Tea? ›

Standard drinks in some popular co*cktails that contain more than one shot: One Long Island Iced Tea is about 4 standard drinks.

Can you get drunk off one Long Island Iced Tea? ›

Long Island Iced Teas have about 5–7.5 ounces of liquor. Two of them - 10 - 15 oz. - in a short time can get someone very drunk unless alcoholism is in play.

What alcohol gets you drunk the fastest? ›

Hard liquors can get you drunk faster than beer or wine, as they have a higher alcohol content. Doing shots can be particularly useful, as you'll be absorbing high alcohol products very fast. Vodka in particular has been shown to increase the speed of intoxication.

What is the cheapest liquor for Long Island Iced Tea? ›

We used white rum here but you could also use dark or even spiced rum for a slightly different flavor. Orange liqueur. Gran Gala was used for this recipe because its less expensive than some other orange liqueurs and tastes just as good. You could also use triple sec which is even more budget friendly.

Which is stronger margarita or Long Island Iced Tea? ›

Long Island Iced Tea — (19.35%, 6.4oz in volume, 1.24oz alcohol) Margarita — (22.5%, 5.33oz in volume, 1.2oz alcohol) Cosmopolitan — (16.5%, 6.67oz in volume, 1.10oz alcohol) Sidecar — (25%, 4oz in volume, 1oz alcohol)

Is Long Island Iced Tea the strongest drink? ›

Many people think the Long Island Iced Tea is the strongest co*cktail since it contains so much liquor and so few mixing ingredients. It's not the world's strongest co*cktail (that is the Aunt Roberta, which contains 100% alcohol and no mixers).

What is the strongest co*cktail? ›

While Hemingway suggests drinking “three to five of these slowly”, we would definitely have to disagree. And last on our list, but certainly not the least (amount of alcohol, that is), we have the Aunt Roberta. This co*cktail contains 100% liquor and is widely regarded as THE strongest co*cktail in the world.

What is the most drinked liquor? ›

Vodka continues to be the most consumed spirit in the US and has been since 1970. Around 78.1 million cases of the spirit were sold in America in 2021 and by 2022, 28.1 million 9L cases were sold globally.

What is the difference between Texas tea and Long Island Iced Tea? ›

The Texas tea is really just a Long Island iced tea with a shot of bourbon. It's a simple twist on a popular mixed drink and one that you're sure to enjoy. Better yet, you can make it as a single drink or mix it up for a party.

Which part of the body absorbs the most alcohol? ›

Approximately 20% of alcohol is absorbed through the stomach and most of the remaining 80% is absorbed through the small intestine. Alcohol is metabolized by the liver, where enzymes break down the alcohol.

How much alcohol is in 2 Long Island Iced Tea? ›

How many shots of alcohol are in a Long Island Iced Tea? Made with five different spirits, the Long Island Iced Tea contains 3.75 ounces of alcohol, which amounts to two and a half shots.

How many beers equal a Long Island Iced Tea? ›

If you're drinking 24oz. cans of beer, one can would equal 2 drinks. Another example, one Long Island iced tea has 3 shots of liquor, and is thus equal to 3 drinks. Accredited by Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc.

How much alcohol is in a LIIT? ›

If you're making an LIIT at home, Add a refreshing touch by squeezing some fruit into the mix. To tone down the boozy parts of the drink, you can reduce the alcohol content from 75 ml to 15 ml and replace it with cola.

Is a tall drink 2 shots? ›

When a customer asks for a “Tall” drink, make sure that they are not accidentally misnaming a “double.” Whereas a double contains twice the amount of alcohol, a tall contains the same amount of alcohol, but increases the amount of non-alcoholic mixer.

How many drinks is 1 shot? ›

One drink = 1.5 ounces of liquor (40% alcohol or 80 proof). This is how much whiskey, vodka, gin, tequila, brandy, cognac, etc. is in a measured mixed drink or in a standard-size shot glass. Remember that mixed drinks may not be measured and often contain far more than 1.5 ounces of alcohol.

How many shots are in a typical drink? ›

Of course, the answer to how many shots or standard drinks are in a normal mixed co*cktail is that it varies by the recipe, but there is a general range you can usually rely on. Most classic co*cktails like the old fashioned or a margarita use a baseline of 2 ounces of the main spirit, which translates to 1.33 shots.

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