Long Island iced tea is a great drink; it has a perfect ratio and spirits combination, and the overall flavor is wonderful and reminiscent of a vacation somewhere exotic. However, if you do order a Long Island iced tea at a bar/club, chances are that the bartender won’t be happy with your order, and you will get a few looks. The reason for that lies in the fact that this is surely a strong drink that can get you inebriated very fast, and bartenders don’t really like this kind of trouble, ironically enough. Nevertheless, the boldest people among us won’t be ordering a Long Island iced tea at a bar. They know the real Long Island iced tea tastes much better when homemade than it does at clubs.
The reason you should also start making your Long Island at home lies in the ingredients, ratio and the quality of the spirits you use. You can control what you add, and play with the ratio. However, you should, of course, start with the standard Long Island recipe before you get all experimental. That is why in the following paragraphs we are going to take a look at the classic Long Island iced tea recipe.
The ingredients you will need to make a classic Long Island iced tea are the following;
- ½ oz or 15 ml. of vodka – you can use any vodka as long as it mixes well with other alcohol in the drink. Make sure that the vodka you use is at least a medium or standard quality, it doesn’t have to be too expensive.
- ½ or 15 ml. of tequila – just like with vodka, you can use any kind or your favorite tequila. We’ve discovered that the best tequila for mixing and cocktails is the Silver Blanco Tequila.
- ½ or 15ml. of gin – the gin you use for the Long Island iced tea should be dry and palatable, so it doesn’t disrupt the overall flavor profile of the drink. We recommend you use the London Dry gin or Sapphire Bombay gin. These are relatively inexpensive but high in quality.
- ½ or 15ml. of white rum – of course, you can use the golden rum, but the classic recipe calls for white rum. The rum you use should have a subtle but sweet aftertaste, just to balance out the drink. We recommend you go with the Plantation 3 Stars white rum or any white rum that fits your flavor preferences.
- ½ or 15ml. of orange liquor – orange liquor is there to add the sweetness and to balance out the drink. You can use the standard Triple Sec, but also other orange liquor like Dry Orange Curacao or the wonderful French Cointreau orange liquor.
- 1oz or 30ml of fresh lemon juice – one of the main distinctions between the Long Island iced tea you drink at the bar/club and the homemade one is the use of sour mix or lemon juice. The Long Island at the bar surely contains the sour mix and that usually makes the drink taste a bit weird (one of the reasons people avoid ordering this drink). The classic Long Island calls for freshly squeezed lemon juice, as it makes the drink 1000 times better.
- 1oz or 30ml. of simple syrup – now this ingredient can be omitted. Simple syrup is not usually added to the classic Long Island iced tea, but many would also disagree. Either way, if you want the drink to be sweeter than tart, then feel free to add some simple syrup as well.
- 1oz to 2oz, 30ml. to 60ml. of Coca Cola – this ratio varies, as some people like to have more Coke in their drink, and some people not so much. Either way, check with 1oz of Coke first and then build up the ration to meet your flavor preferences. Coke has the purpose to round the drink and give it that wonderful color.
Long Island iced tea is a pretty straightforward drink that is complete in only a few simple steps;
- Add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, you can use your coffee mugs as a substitute.
- To the ingredients, you can also add a little bit of ice which will cool down the drink while it mixes in the shaker.
- Once all ingredients added, make sure to shake everything thoroughly for a few seconds.
- Then, make sure to prepare a highball glass that is filled with ice.
- Pour the drink into the glass.
- Garnish with some lemon twists or a lemon wedge, and of course, don’t forget the metal straw.
- All you have to do now is enjoy the drink.
Tips for Making the Best Long Island Iced Tea
In order to make the best Long Island iced tea, you don’t have to follow blindly the classic recipe. There are many twists to the drink, as well as varieties that you can use to enhance your drink and make it even better. Here are some tips you can use the next time you go for the wonderful Long Island iced tea;
- Good quality ingredients – sometimes people don’t care about the quality of each individual alcohol they use to make their Long Island, when in fact, the quality of the alcohol can make or break the drink. Therefore, always make sure you use good quality alcohol; it doesn’t have to be expensive, and you don’t have to you Grey Goose or similar brands to make an outstanding drink. Simply make sure that the quality is there.
- Experiment with other ingredients – one of the reasons Long Island iced tea is such a great drink lies in the fact that it is forgiving when new ingredients are added. This makes it a perfect drink to experiment with. So, next time you make Long Island, try adding ingredients like whiskey, actual cold-brewed tea, pineapple or cranberry juice, lime or lemon soda, different types of tequila, etc.
- Avoid using the sour mix – by using the store-bought sour mix you can be sure that your drink will have a mediocre if not bad taste. To avoid such results, make sure to omit sour mix in your Long Island; instead, use freshly squeezed citrus (lemon/lime, etc.) and simple syrup as these will make your Long Island unforgettable.
- Change up the ingredient ratio – if you prefer your drinks to be bitter or tart instead of sweet, you can simply change up the ingredient ratio. Long Island is pretty easy to fit your own taste preferences, so don’t be afraid to add more of vodka or tequila, or even to add a splash of whiskey. You can adjust the ingredients to even make your own Long Island iced tea variation.
- Omit the Cola sometimes – of course, the Coca Cola is an indispensable ingredient when it comes to Long Island iced tea. However, this does not mean you cannot leave it out from time to time. Instead of Coke, you can try using actual cold-brewed tea, or tea syrup. Black tea syrup, in particular, is recommended as an excellent substitution for Coca Cola.
- If using, look for Mexican Coca Cola – now, if you want to leave Coke as an ingredient in your Long Island, make sure to look for the Mexican Coca Cola. It is always recommended to use Coke that contains actual sugar, instead of glucose syrup. Mexican Coca Cola is still made with cane sugar, so look for it in the local Mexican grocery shops or stores.
- Use big ice cubes – the problem with cocktails usually arises when we use small ice cubes, which quickly dissolve and alter the taste of the drink by watering it down. To avoid such unfortunate happening with your Long Island, make sure to use big use cubes. Big ice cubes melt at the right rate, without altering the drink. Chances are you’ll be done with the drink before the cubes even start to melt.
And that is it. This is all you need to know before making your own Long Island iced tea. We are sure it will be much better than the Long Island you drink at bars and clubs. Long Island iced tea is a straightforward drink, which doesn’t require fuss and unnecessary steps; you mix the ingredients, pour everything over some ice and there you have it. We hope you make it at the next gathering of your friends, and of they ask you how you made it so good, simply share this recipe with them.
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