Cocktail Recipe: Long Island Iced Tea

The Long Island Iced Tea has one of the worst reputations of any cocktail. For good reason, too. Served by the gallon at every TGI Fridays and Applebee’s across the land, it’s usually made with way too much bottom-shelf booze and chemical sour mix from a bar gun.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s actually not a bad drink when made right. It’s not a sophisticated or nuanced cocktail by any means. But that’s not always what you’re looking for.

I’m not the only one who still has a fondness for this potent party bomb. Rockstar bartender Jeffrey Morgenthaler enjoys them, too, and his recipe is basically the same as my own.

The key is to use high quality spirits and fresh lemon juice. If you make this with cheap triple sec or bottled sweet and sour, it’s going to taste like crap. (Just like you probably remember it.)

On the other hand, if you use the good stuff, it’s a surprisingly tasty and refreshing drink.┬áThe brands I used when I made this were: Stoli (vodka), Tanqueray (gin), Cruzan (rum), and Olmeca Altos (tequila). You don’t have to use those specific ones. Just make sure you reach for something good.

Long Island Iced Tea

Long Island Iced Tea


  • 1/2 oz. Vodka
  • 1/2 oz. London Dry Gin
  • 1/2 oz. White Rum
  • 1/2 oz. Blanco Tequila
  • 1/2 oz. Cointreau
  • 1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup


  1. Shake ingredients with ice and strain over crushed ice in a chilled Collins glass. Float 3/4 oz. cola on top and garnish with a lemon twist.