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Long Island Ice Tea

Long Island Ice Tea is an alcoholic drink that looks and tastes just like regular ice tea. It’s been popular on Long Island for a long time and if you've never had one before it's worth trying just for the wow factor.

But be careful, this drink packs a punch that can put you out of commission fast.


I don't know if anyone knows for sure who, when, where or how Long Island Ice Tea was invented.

Some say it was during the 50's by proper Long Island house wives mixing a little from each bottle in the liquor cabinet. (Sounds a little far fetched, but maybe.)

Since the result looked like ice tea, that's what everyone thought they were drinking. I suppose that's possible, but it sounds a little far fetched to me.

Others claim it was created during prohibition when bartenders were trying to disguise alcoholic drinks to avoid the law. This apparently was a common practice at the time and since ingenuity knows no bounds I wouldn't be at all surprised if that is indeed how this drink came to be.

Author JS Moore makes an interesting claim about the drink originating in Tennessee and provides the actual recipe. Another reader claims it was invented at Jones Beach.

The generally accepted story is that it was invented in 1972 by a bartender at the Oak Beach Inn in the Hamptons named Robert (Rosebud) Butt. I haven’t had the time, but it should be easy enough to check this out just by finding some old bartender books. If there are no recipes in books published prior to 1972, then Mr. Butt wins the prize.

Long Island Ice Tea reached its height of popularity here in early 90's and is a well known drink nationwide. Although not quite as popular now as it was back then, this drink is something of a legend among those of us who remember the craze a decade or so ago. (Seems like yesterday...)

There is a certain amount of pride felt about something invented in one’s home town and the Long Island Ice Tea is no exception. It's still a specialty drink on menus all over the Island and is especially popular during the summer.

If you have any information that can help unravel the Long Island Ice Tea origins mystery, please contact me so we can get the story straight.

Long Island Ice Tea Recipes

1 part Gin
1 part Rum
1 part Tequila
1 part Triple Sec
1 part Vodka
1 ½ parts Sour mix
A little Coca-Cola for color

Mix ingredients with ice in a Collins glass then transfer to shaker. Shake once or twice then pour back into glass. Garnish with lemon then brace yourself.

Add 1 part raspberry liquor to the original recipe. That's it. Enjoy!

Georgia Peach Iced Tea - submitted by Michael Elflein of Farmingville

If you substitute PEACH SCHNAPPS for TEQUILLA you will make my favorite drink, the GEORGIA ICED TEA. It goes down sooooo smoooth. I don't know if it is a real drink name but at every bar, I ask for a GEORGIA ICED TEA and when the barkeep looks at me funny I say just swap peach snapps for tequilla.
Additional Information

See how I learned how to make a Long Island Ice Tea

If you like hot tea as well, check out the Tea Time Cottage in Jamesport.

Loving Long Island Home

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