The weather looks more promising with each passing day. It’ll soon be time to be outside, in the sun, cocktail in hand, catching rays. The perfect time, in other words, to show you how to make a Long Island Iced Tea.

Okay, so we know it isn’t Tea in the conventional sense. However, there can be no better infusion when the warmer months are just around the corner.

The following article will first explain, “What is Long Island Tea?” before diving into its history and, vitally, its ingredients. Those who’re health-conscious may also be interested to know its calorie content. Last but certainly not least, we’ll provide you with a guide on how to make a Long Island Iced Tea. It’ll then be up to you to treat yourself and indulge. What’s not to like?

What is Long Island Tea?

What is Long Island Tea?

The “official” history of Long Island Tea dates back to 1972. The story goes that a bartender named Robert Butt “Rosebud” created it at the Oak Beach Inn on - you guessed it - Long Island. According to the man himself, he had participated in a cocktail making contest. Suffice to say, it went well. By the 1970s, every bar on Long Island served it. By the 1980s, it was world-renowned.

However, even Rosebud Butt admits that, before his “invention,” similar drinks existed. One such concoction became popular in the 1920s during Prohibition in the United States.

The creator, known only as “Old Man Bishop,” lived in a community called Long Island in Kingsport, Tennessee. His son, Ransom Bishop, reportedly perfected the recipe. But what is in a Long Island Iced Tea?

What is in a Long Island Iced Tea?

What is in a Long Island Iced Tea?

There is no use in recounting its history without establishing what alcohol is in a Long Island Iced Tea. Allow us now to amend that. You’re going to need vodka, gin, tequila, rum and triple sec to begin (not much, then!).

You’ll also have to have lime, cola and plenty of ice in order to make it to its finest calibre. One thing NOT included, we’re sad to say, is “real” Tea from the Camellia sinensis (Tea) plant.

So, that means that the term “Long Island Iced Tea” is a misnomer - there’s our confession! What it lacks in authentic Tea, though, it makes up for in extraordinary flavour. Indeed, you’re probably wondering by now, “What does Long Island Iced Tea taste like?”

This is where things get interesting because many people say it tastes like regular Iced Tea except with a boozy, bittersweet kick!

How Many Calories in a Long Island Iced Tea?

How Many Calories in a Long Island Iced Tea?

You know what spirits are in a Long Island Iced Tea. You know, too, what the cocktail offers in terms of its character and profile. What we haven’t yet made clear is how many calories in a Long Island Iced Tea you can expect.

Brace yourself because it’s not pretty. The average serving will have approximately 260 calories, which, it’s fair to say, makes it somewhat of a treat.

Some of you might well be flinching - just try to remember that you, like anyone else, are allowed to let your hair down. The alternative is to do away with the alcohol and instead try one of our regular Iced Tea Recipes.

Each one is a guilt-free pleasure that, while lacking the buzz of booze, will enable you to be mindful of your calorie intake. Anyone else will want to learn how to make a Long Island Iced Tea.

How to Make a Long Island Iced Tea

How to Make a Long Island Iced Tea

We have finally reached the moment where we intend to address your most pressing question: “How do you make a Long Island Tea Drink?” The good news is that it’s relatively straightforward.

You’ll want a cocktail shaker for ease and, perhaps, a hurricane glass for style. A slice of lemon as a garnish at the end wouldn’t go amiss, either. Then all that’s left is to follow these instructions:

Ingredients: 50ml vodka, 50ml gin, 50ml tequila, 50ml rum, 50ml triple sec, 500ml cola, 50-100ml fresh lime juice, two lemons or limes (cut into wedges) and ice.

Serves Four.

1, Fill Cocktail Shaker with Ice, Alcohol and Lime Juice and Shake.

Pour in vodka, rum, gin, tequila, triple sec, lime juice and ice and shake thoroughly.

2, Transfer it to a Jug.

A large (1.5l) jug will be best for holding your cocktail until serving.

3, Time to Add Cola and Lemon or Lime Slices.

The next step is to pour in the cola, as well as lemon or lime wedges for a garnish.

4, Fill Four Tall Glasses with More Ice Cubes.

Consider getting hurricane glasses to look the part.

5, Finish by Pouring Long Island Iced Tea into the Glasses.

Impress your friends and family by serving this beloved cocktail.

Summary for How to Make a Long Island Iced Tea

This is a rare example of an article where, here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, we can provide only knowledge. Our parting comment is that, should you be suffering from a hangover the next morning, studies suggest that Pu erh Tea could help. That we do stock. We also have over 1,000 other types of Loose Tea and 70 types of Fresh Ground Coffee. These we pack fresh to order. 

Author: Richard Smith

Partner at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company

Richard Smith is a Tea expert, entrepreneur, and owner of The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company. Part of a family of renowned Tea planters dating back four generations, he was born in Calcutta (Kolkata), India, where he spent his childhood between Tea Estates in Assam and Darjeeling.

In the late 1970s, having accumulated years of knowledge in the industry, Mr Smith and his mother, Janet Smith, moved to Kent, South East England, to establish a Tea business in the village of Pluckley. Their early days of packing Tea Bags by hand from chests of 10,000 prompted the creation of the company’s flagship infusion known as Pluckley Tea. It remains our most popular product today.

Mr Smith, who studied economics at London Polytechnic, has since specialised in over 1,000 types of Loose Leaf Tea - in addition to around 70 varieties of Roast Coffee - from around the world. These are now available at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, where everything is still packed by hand and fresh to order, not only to honour tradition but to ensure the utmost quality and consistency.