Iconic Long Island Iced Tea: Make the Ultimate Party Drink

Can't decide which spirit you want in your drink? The Long Island ice tea has them all, so it's perfect for people who don't want to choose.

Updated January 18, 2024
Two Glasses of Long Island Iced Tea Lime Wedges on Wooden Table Top

The Long Island iced tea is one bold drink, and if you've ever had one for yourself, then you know how sneaky this cocktail can be. 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, and it's been here to stay (maybe even until the next morning). 

How to Make a Long Island Iced Tea 

The ingredient list can make your head spin just reading it over, but for some unknown reason, 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.


  • ½ ounce vodka
  • ½ ounce gin
  • ½ ounce tequila
  • ½ ounce rum
  • ½ ounce orange liqueur
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Ice
  • Cola to top off
  • Lime wedge for garnish


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

Avoid diluting your cocktail by pre-chilling your spirits and other ingredients.

Long Island Iced Tea Variations and Substitutions

The ingredients in a Long Island iced tea (LIT) are 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.
  • Don't 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 lemon juice.
  • Experiment with different proportions of liquor, but keep the spirit total between 2 and 3 ounces.
  • Try a colorful raspberry variation of the Long Island iced tea, the Grateful Dead cocktail by using raspberry liqueur.
  • Beer lovers, try the boozy LIT relative, the Baltimore zoo cocktail, a boozy, beer take on the LIT.

Related: Long Island Limoncello Recipes: Irresistible Twists on Tea

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.

  • 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.

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 only thing that would be memorable is the hangover. 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.

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Iconic Long Island Iced Tea: Make the Ultimate Party Drink