A Long Island Iced Tea is a type of alcoholic mixed drink made with, among other ingredients, vodka, gin, tequila, and rum. A popular version mixes equal parts vodka, gin, tequila, rum, and triple sec with 1½ parts sour mix and a splash of cola, which gives the drink the same amber hue as iced tea. Most variants use equal parts of the main liquors but include a smaller amount of triple sec (or other orange-flavored liqueur). Close variants often replace the sour mix with lemon juice, replace the cola with actual iced tea, or add white crème de menthe; however, most variants do not include any tea, despite the name of the drink. Some restaurants substitute brandy for the tequila.
The drink has a much higher alcohol concentration (approximately 22 percent) than most highball drinks due to the relatively small amount of mixer. Long islands can be ordered “extra long”, which further increases the alcohol to mixer ratio.
There is some dispute as to the origin of the Long Island Iced Tea. However, numerous sources attribute the origin to one or both of two inventors in the 1970s or 1920s.
The Long Island Iced Tea appears in literature as early as 1961.
Robert “Rosebud” Butt claims to have invented the drink as an entry in a contest to create a new mixed drink including Triple Sec, in 1972 while he worked at the Oak Beach Inn on Long Island, NY. Various local New York references echo Butt’s claims. Local rumors also ascribe the origin to either Butt or another bartender at the Oak Beach Inn, Chris Bendicksen.
Alternatively, a slightly different drink is claimed to have been invented in the 1920s during Prohibition, by an “Old Man Bishop” in a local community named Long Island in Kingsport, Tennessee. The drink was then perfected by Ransom Bishop, Old Man Bishop’s son. This drink included whiskey and maple syrup, and varied quantities of the five liquors, rather than the modern one with cola and four equal portions of the four liquors.