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Deconstructing the Long Island Iced Tea


mbanu
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The Long Island Iced Tea was supposedly invented in the late 1970s at the Oak Beach Inn in Babylon, New York, a place known more for its wild nights than it's good drinks. [Edited for location]

It was probably invented the same way most people suspected it was invented, by mixing together a bunch of random liquors and adding coke and sour mix to blunt the burn. However, 9 times out of 10 this creates a terrible drink. In this case, judging by its popularity, it seems to have worked.

Here's my deconstruction of the fluke:

"The Long Island Iced Tea"

1 ounce gin

1 ounce vodka

1 ounce white rum

1 ounce triple sec

1 ounce white tequila

1 ounce Rose’s lime juice

4 ounces cola

Basically this drink is a light gimlet and a light margarita combined and then turned into a long drink with cola.

"Light Tequila Margarita"

1 ounce white rum

1 ounce white tequila

1 ounce triple sec

1/2 ounce Rose's lime juice

The rum and tequila mix to make a lighter version of the same, much like a mixto tequila that's been a bit more heavily "mixtoed" than the norm.

"Light Gin Gimlet"

1 ounce vodka

1 ounce gin

1/2 ounce Rose's lime juice

Here again, the vodka and the gin have been blended to create a lighter gin for the gimlet.

These two cocktails are combined together, and cola is added to turn it into a long drink. Now you have a Long Island Iced Tea. :raz:

It's most popular variant, the Adios Motherfucker, runs along essentially the same principles, simply substituting blue curacao for triple sec, and lemon lime soda for cola.

Edit: For purists who dislike the idea of using low proof triple sec and Rose's, despite the extra "authenticity", here's a Cocktail Snob's LIIT. :raz:

"Long Island Iced Tea - Snob Style"

1 ounce gin

1 ounce vodka

1 ounce white rum

1/2 ounce Cointreau

1 ounce white tequila

1 ounce lime juice

5 ounces cola

Edited by mbanu (log)
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I spent many a nite passed out in the parking lot at The Oak Beach Inn in the early 1970's. :biggrin:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Ditto, in the late '70s.

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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Oh winesonoma and Splificator, how come I can't find "classy" guys like you where I live? Got any brothers? :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin:

Seriously, :blink: I really agree with mbanu that this drink really works; at least I like it. However, I strongly recommend homemade sour mix (3 parts lemon juice/zest, 1 part lime juice/zest, simple sugar; refrigerate overnight) to do it right, using the "Long Island Iced Tea - Snob Style" recipe. Damn, I think I know what I'll be drinking this weekend. :cool:

Edited by divalasvegas (log)

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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Oof. :blink:

I have to admit that the only thing a Long Island Iced Tea seems useful for, to me, is to get very very drunk very very quickly.

The idea of a delicious taste never seemed to enter into the quotient. . .though I can see how psychologically, in a person who enjoyed the feeling of getting drunk that fast, it would take on a "delicious" taste for as long as they were tasting! :laugh:

Do you guys really like the taste?! Really?

(Go ahead, throw rotten apples at me. . .just don't throw a glass of Long Island Iced Tea. . . :biggrin: )

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Oof. :blink:

I have to admit that the only thing a Long Island Iced Tea seems useful for, to me, is to get very very drunk very very quickly.

The idea of a delicious taste never seemed to enter into the quotient. . .though I can see how psychologically, in a person who enjoyed the feeling of getting drunk that fast, it would take on a "delicious" taste for as long as they were tasting! :laugh:

Do you guys really like the taste?! Really?

(Go ahead, throw rotten apples at me. . .just don't throw a glass of Long Island Iced Tea. . . :biggrin: )

The problem is that a lot of bars botch the recipe. :wink:

A lot of places don't add enough cola. 4 ounces of liquor plus triple sec will get you plastered quick enough as it is, but when the abv of the finished drink starts to creep above maybe 15%, it starts tasting kinda weird. Plus a lot of places will skip out on the triple sec, which seems to be one of the things keeping the gin from killing all the other mixers. Plus a lot of places don't use fresh lime juice, don't even use Rose's, but use Finest Call sour mix or cheaper. Cheap sour mix generally ruins anything you put it in. Plus the occasional recipe for the Long Island Iced Tea throws in vermouth as well. In addition to not being part of the proper recipe, cheap vermouth kills a drink much the same way cheap sour mix does.

Edited by mbanu (log)
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Do you guys really like the taste?! Really?

I'd have to truthfully state that I haven't had an LIIT in at least 20 years. I guess that that's an answer in itself.

And, dear Divalasvegas, I guess that also means you'd find me a lot less fun than I was back in the day. Ah, well.

Edited by Splificator (log)

aka David Wondrich

There are, according to recent statistics, 147 female bartenders in the United States. In the United Kingdom the barmaid is a feature of the wayside inn, and is a young woman of intelligence and rare sagacity. --The Syracuse Standard, 1895

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Do you guys really like the taste?! Really?

I'd have to truthfully state that I haven't had an LIIT in at least 20 years. I guess that that's an answer in itself.

I've never had one. I was commenting on the Bar, which it seems is now gone. Edited by winesonoma (log)

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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...However, I strongly recommend homemade sour mix (3 parts lemon juice/zest, 1 part lime juice/zest, simple sugar; refrigerate overnight) to do it right, using the "Long Island Iced Tea - Snob Style" recipe...

Very cool, that sounds like a great idea.

I used to experiment with this -- a lot. I found that the "snob" version with Cointreau instead of plain Tripple Sec had little effect, and even that using a "normal" tequilla worked as well as using a light/clear one.

But I found a huge difference when I subbed the sour mix for a freshly squeezed orange-lemon mixture.

LIIT:

Mix equal parts of vodka, gin, rum, tequilla, tripple sec, freshly squeezed orange juice, freshly squeezed lemon juice in a shaker with ice, and shake violently. Pour into a glass filled with ice, and top with Coke. Stir gently.

Then, have a friend pin a $20 bill and a note with your address on it, to the back of your coat. Wish for the best.

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when i tended bar I mad a ton of these things and all I can say is it is a way to deliver lots of alcohol to people who do not care for it. Cola is one strong flavor, I dare anyone to taste the liquors in this concoction. I always considered this an abomination. I hated making them. I worked with a guy who drank Jack Daniels. If somone ordered a Jack and Coke he refused to make it. I should have been the same with this mess.

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Suffolk County purchased the Oak Beach Inn property in 2001 and razed the building in Spetember, 2003. They're going to create a park, including an upscale restaurant, on the 8.2 acres.

-- Jeff

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." -- Groucho Marx

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Do you guys really like the taste?! Really?

I'd have to truthfully state that I haven't had an LIIT in at least 20 years. I guess that that's an answer in itself.

And, dear Divalasvegas, I guess that also means you'd find me a lot less fun than I was back in the day. Ah, well.

On the contrary Splificator I'm quite confident that you as well as winesonoma, like fine wine, have only improved with age. :smile:

But back to the subject at hand, I was wondering if what also made for a poor, Godawful LITT was the use of rail liquor. I'm not saying that I would use the most expensive gin, tequila, vodka and rum, but would you say taking a step or two above the usual suspects would make a difference? And what specific brands would constitute a cut above? For instance, should one use Smirnoff for the vodka portion of the drink or should one venture further and use Absolut, which I'm sure many here would say is a waste?

Finally, my apologies Grub. I meant to say simple syrup, not "simple sugar" as previously posted.

Inside me there is a thin woman screaming to get out, but I can usually keep the Bitch quiet: with CHOCOLATE!!!

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Do you guys really like the taste?! Really?

I'd have to truthfully state that I haven't had an LIIT in at least 20 years. I guess that that's an answer in itself.

And, dear Divalasvegas, I guess that also means you'd find me a lot less fun than I was back in the day. Ah, well.

On the contrary Splificator I'm quite confident that you as well as winesonoma, like fine wine, have only improved with age. :smile:

But back to the subject at hand, I was wondering if what also made for a poor, Godawful LITT was the use of rail liquor. I'm not saying that I would use the most expensive gin, tequila, vodka and rum, but would you say taking a step or two above the usual suspects would make a difference? And what specific brands would constitute a cut above? For instance, should one use Smirnoff for the vodka portion of the drink or should one venture further and use Absolut, which I'm sure many here would say is a waste?

Finally, my apologies Grub. I meant to say simple syrup, not "simple sugar" as previously posted.

I only know of Gin, Pastis, Campari and wine these days. Not a bad combo. Over the course of the weeks , no doubt. :laugh::laugh: Edited by winesonoma (log)

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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But back to the subject at hand, I was wondering if what also made for a poor, Godawful LITT was the use of rail liquor.  I'm not saying that I would use the most expensive gin, tequila, vodka and rum, but would you say taking a step or two above the usual suspects would make a difference?  And what specific brands would constitute a cut above? For instance, should one use Smirnoff for the vodka portion of the drink or should one venture further and use Absolut, which I'm sure many here would say is a waste?

Finally, my apologies Grub.  I meant to say simple syrup, not "simple sugar" as previously posted.

Using high end rum and tequila would probably be a mistake, as generally the thing that makes them more expensive is more time in oak. Here you want white spirits. (Can't say if using unaged straight tequila instead of unaged blended tequila would make any difference as I haven't tried switching them out.) High end vodka and gin usually aren't necessary for long drinks, assuming you're not starting out with rotgut. Gordon's gin and Smirnoff vodka should be fine.

Most of the important improvements are just making sure you don't take any shortcuts, like making sure to use Rose's (or fresh sour mix) instead of lower-end sour mix (and not substituting margarita mix for the sour mix and triple sec, and not adding or substracting ingredients at random, etc.), and of course remembering to add enough cola.

The trickiest part of the whole drink really (for me anyhow) is the gin. I believe the gin is what makes the end product taste enough like tea that it was given the name it has. However gin as a rule hates all the stuff you're mixing it with in a LIIT besides the vodka, triple sec and lime juice. Why these three ingredients calm the gin down enough to play well the other ingredients I don't quite understand, and whenever you don't understand why a recipe works exactly, fooling around with it tends to lead to disaster. :)

Edited by mbanu (log)
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I have to say--and by that, I mean that I can't believe that I'm saying it at all--but up in this here New England, the ART of the LIIT has either been lost, forgotten or it's time for the Rosetta Stone to turn up in a potato patch.

TOWIT: I fully expected my new fellow 'tenders to have trouble gathering fresh juice into their Margiarita kits, and even anticipated a couple of overly sour 'Sours' once we de-constructed sourmix. But the flummoxification of the LIIT, I was not prepared for.

As it turns out, up in this here New England, the LIIT is finished off with 3oz Sour mix and a SPLASH of Cola. I was, as you may have guessed, Flummoxed!

As soon as I turned those inside out over-hauls back into a drink, it was too late. "Gimme one of those LIIT's that tastes like Iced Tea!" was all I heard.

"And give the other one a Cosmo".

I hate being good....

myers

(Tip o' the Hat to Beans)

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I did an "all out" one for the Ritz in London a couple of year ago, making it intentionally excessive in a fun, elaborate way. Instead of using coca cola, I went with champagne: I found that when using the champagne, it was nice to have the headiness of the anejo rum, grand marnier, and the intensity of Tanqueray. Add a dash of bitters & maraschino. Garnish with gold leaf, and think back to the 80's. Dynasty, baby!

The Full Monte

1/4 oz vodka

1/4 oz Tanqueray

1/4 oz Bacardi 8 Yr

1/4 oz Herradura Silver

1/4 oz Grand Marnier

1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur

1/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice

Dash Simple Syrup

Dash Angostura Bitters.

Shake and strain into a champagne flute, and top

with a high-quality champagne

Garnish: 24 Karat Gold leaf flecks

Audrey

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Edit: For purists who dislike the idea of using low proof triple sec and Rose's, despite the extra "authenticity", here's a Cocktail Snob's LIIT.  :raz:

"Long Island Iced Tea - Snob Style"

1 ounce gin

1 ounce vodka

1 ounce white rum

1/2 ounce Cointreau

1 ounce white tequila

1 ounce lime juice

5 ounces cola

After some tinkering with the recipe, I came up with a second version that's sweeter, to better replicate the use of sour mix and cheap triple sec. I also realized that in the recipe I listed (after all that harping about not adding enough cola) I didn't add enough mixer myself. :) (I think I forgot about that stray ounce of tequila) so I adjusted the cola ratio a bit as well. Drink mixing is a work in progress, eh? :)

"Long Island Iced Tea - Snob Style (Mark 2)"

1 ounce gin

1 ounce vodka

1 ounce white rum

1 ounce white tequila

1 ounce simple syrup

1/2 ounce Cointreau

1/2 ounce lime juice

6 ounces cola

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The Full Monte

1/4 oz vodka

1/4 oz Tanqueray

1/4 oz Bacardi 8 Yr

1/4 oz Herradura Silver

1/4 oz Grand Marnier

1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur

1/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice

Dash Simple Syrup

Dash Angostura Bitters.

Shake and strain into a champagne flute, and top

with a high-quality champagne

Garnish:  24 Karat Gold leaf flecks

Nice! :) How do you manage a drink like this with so many 1/4 ounce pours? It seems like it would be a terrible pain in the neck to make...

I hadn't thought of adding bitters to a LIIT, it seems like something that might improve it... I'll have to add a bittered LIIT to my big list of random drinks to try. :)

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The Full Monte

1/4 oz vodka

1/4 oz Tanqueray

1/4 oz Bacardi 8 Yr

1/4 oz Herradura Silver

1/4 oz Grand Marnier

1/4 oz Maraschino Liqueur

1/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice

Dash Simple Syrup

Dash Angostura Bitters.

Shake and strain into a champagne flute, and top

with a high-quality champagne

Garnish:  24 Karat Gold leaf flecks

Nice! :) How do you manage a drink like this with so many 1/4 ounce pours? It seems like it would be a terrible pain in the neck to make...

Just make four at a time. That seems appropriate to the occasion, and to the cocktail. At least a 1:1:1:1:1:1 formula is easy to remember!

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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