Strong Long Island Iced Tea Recipe

Updated November 24, 2021
Two Glasses of Long Island Iced Tea Lime Wedges on Wooden Table Top



  1. In a highball glass, add ice, vodka, gin, tequila, rum, orange liqueur, and lemon juice.
  2. Top off with cola.
  3. Garnish with lime wedge.

Long Island Iced Tea Variations and Substitutions

The ingredients in a Long Island iced tea (LIT) is fairly standard, but don't let that keep you from pouring one. There are plenty of substitutions and swaps.

  • Swap in a flavored vodka, tequila, or rum. Compatible flavors include orange, lemon, coconut, or raspberry.
  • Do not alter more than one spirit flavor at a time. Despite the thrown-together look of the LIT, throwing several different flavors on top of each other could derail the drink entirely.
  • Add simple syrup, to taste, for a sweeter drink.
  • Swap freshly squeezed lime juice for the lemon juice.
  • Experiment with different proportions of liquor, but keep the spirit total between two and three ounces.
  • Try a colorful raspberry variation of the Long Island iced tea, the Grateful Dead cocktail by using raspberry liqueur.
  • Feeling blue? Try the blue Long Island iced tea or the bullfrog cocktail.
  • Beer lovers, try the boozy LIT relative, the Baltimore zoo cocktail, a boozy, beer take on the LIT.

Garnishes for the Long Island Iced Tea

There's no reason to stick to the rules if a simple lemon wedge garnish doesn't do it for you or you're looking for other ideas.

  • Go for a lemon wedge or slice to keep the lemon touch.
  • Instead of lemon, use a lime wheel, wedge, or slice.
  • Skip the whole citrus and opt for a peel, ribbon, or twist.
  • Make your LIT stand out with a dehydrated citrus wheel or slice.

About the Long Island Iced Tea

Although many may associate this cocktail with the 1990s and the "throw it all in a glass" attitude, the Long Island iced tea stormed the cocktail scene in the 1970s. Some accounts claim that it started to circulate during Prohibition, but there's little proof to back this up. The most accepted theory is that it did originate on Long Island at a bar.

The Long Island iced tea is one bold drink. The ingredient list can make your head spin just reading it over, but for some unknown reason, similar to sleight of hand magic, the Long Island iced tea comes together with a little bit of lemon juice and that splash of cola. It's better not to question some things in life.

Memorable--Up to a Point

The Long Island iced tea is a memorable cocktail. It's a loaded drink that isn't afraid to add a little bit of everything. But it's a drink that deserves respect; otherwise, the night won't be memorable, but the hangover will be. If you're bold enough to do a comparison with another strong drink, try a walk me down drink. Just don't try them both on the same night.

Strong Long Island Iced Tea Recipe