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Perfect Classic Long Island Iced Tea Recipe

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The perfect boozy drink to have with your friends will always be a Long Island iced tea. Almost every single type of alcohol is used to make it, with no tea in sight. The secret to that signature flavor is none other than cola!

Long Island Iced Teas have long-been a specialty drink found on almost every bar menu. They were invented in the 1920s during the prohibition-era. A man remembered only as Old Man Bishop created this tea-like beverage because mixers often covered up the smell of illegal alcohol, which is the reason for adding cola. When drinkers were questioned by authorities, they could claim that it was sweet tea in their glasses due to the brownish hue. Funnily enough, this all occurred in Long Island, Tennessee, not New York.

Old Man Bishop’s son has preserved this sacred recipe. He worked on this recipe for 20 years before perfecting it and releasing it onto the world. Today, it is one of the most popular drinks that every bartender must learn when attending bartending school. If you are a college student looking to get drunk for cheap, you may have a limit on how many Long Islands they’ll let you order.


A classic Long Island iced tea is made up of vodka, rum, tequila, triple sec (an orange liquor), gin, and is topped with cola. The combination of flavors tastes like tea in the end, especially when citrus is added, usually in the form of lemon juice or sweet and sour mix. Lemon or lime juice is much tastier and more natural than sweet and sour mix.

This perfect Long Island iced tea is sweetened even further with the help of homemade lemon simple syrup. Simple syrup is something most bartenders keep stocked in their bar. It is a mix of water and sugar, dissolved and boiled down on the stove. It is then cooled and added to many drinks to sweeten them up. This simple syrup has a lemony scent from the addition of fresh lemon zest, adding to the iced tea essence. If you love to mix drinks at home, keep some simple syrup on-hand at all times! So many flavor combinations can be made to flavor your bar drinks.

All Long Island iced teas have rum inside, but this recipe uses spiced dark rum for added richness and flavor. Dark spiced rum elevates the cola flavor, making this the most flavorful Long Island ice tea you have ever had! Why miss out on an opportunity to add lots of flavor to this drink?

Bartenders are typically apprehensive about making a few Long Island iced teas for one person due to the high alcohol content. Have a party at home, make these from your own bar, and there will be no judgmental eyes from the bartender! Unless you have a mirror over the bar and lack self-control.

How to Make It

  • Prep Time5 min
  • Cook Time5 min
  • Total Time10 min
  • Serving Size1
  • Energy326 cal


Simple Syrup:

Long Island Iced Tea:



Start by making your simple syrup. You can keep the leftovers in the fridge whenever you need to sweeten something.


In a small saucepan, add the sugar, water, and lemon zest. Bring to a boil and allow the sugar to dissolve completely. Remove to a bowl or cup and set aside. Store in an airtight container.


To a shaker with ice, add the vodka, dark spiced rum, gin, tequila, triple sec, lemon juice, and simple syrup. Shake vigorously until well combined.


Pour out into a glass filled with ice. Leave about 1 inch of space from the top of the glass. Top with cola and stir it with a drink stirrer or straw. Garnish with lemon and serve immediately.

  • Nutrition Facts

  • Serving Size1
  • Amount per serving
  • Calories326
  • % Daily Value*Standard DV
  • Total Fat0.3 g78 g0.38%
  • Saturated Fat0.2 g20 g1%
  • Sodium1206 mg2300 mg52.43%
  • Total Carbohydrate38 g275 g13.82%
  • Dietary Fiber0.3 g28 g1.07%
  • Total Sugars15.6 g
  • Protein0.3 g50 g0.6%
  • Calcium14 mg1300 mg1.08%
  • Potassium74 mg4700 mg1.57%
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