Anatomy of a Cocktail: Long Island Iced Tea
The drink we just can't quit
The Long Island Iced Tea is the ultimate guilty-pleasure cocktail.
Countless drinkers who’ve come of age since the leisure-suit era have obliterated their memories of Saturday nights with help from this efficient beverage.
Containing more alcohol than seems wise to mix in one drink (tequila, vodka, gin, rum and triple sec), and enough soda and sweetener to make it go down dangerously easy, the Long Island acts as cocktail training wheels for many. Lately, the drink has been re-embraced by craft bartenders, nostalgic for the simple pleasures of a misspent youth. See our handy guide to this unwavering drink.
The Long Island Iced Tea seems like a creation that may have originated in a sozzled moment of frat-party resourcefulness, but the cocktail is actually the brainchild of bartender Bob “Rosebud” Butt, who created the drink in the mid-1970s while working at the Oak Beach Inn in the Hamptons.
Today, bartenders from Boston to Los Angeles are tinkering with the basic Long Island. We’ve seen versions containing artisanal mezcal and Italian amari, as well as barrel-aged and even carbonated examples (learn more here).
Welcome back, Long Island.