Long Island Iced Tea

Long Island iced tea is the ultimate party cocktail. Mix a pitcher-sized batch with tequila, rum, vodka, gin, and triple sec. It packs quite the punch!

Long Island Iced Tea
Elise Bauer

Let’s clarify one thing I wish I had known when I was younger: there is no iced tea anywhere in the Long Island iced tea. It is simply the color of iced tea.

This is critical knowledge to have if you plan to drink one. Or three. Because not knowing this will get you in a whole heap of trouble.

Why Long Island Iced Tea Is So Good

The Long Island Iced Tea is a curious cocktail. Theoretically, it shouldn’t taste all that good considering how many different liquors are being mixed together.

Yet, it works!

Long Island Iced Tea
Elise Bauer

The triple sec (an orange-flavored liqueur), lemon juice, and cola bind everything just perfectly.

How To Serve Long Island Iced Tea

This cocktail is an easy one to throw together in a big pitcher for a party. I wait until just before the guests arrive, then mix everything together in a bowl with ice. Strain it into a pitcher and serve!

The step of mixing with the ice helps to quickly chill the drink and adds just the right amount of dilution to the finished cocktail.

Two glasses of long island ice deal on a patio table outdoors
Elise Bauer

Watch How to Make a Long Island Iced Tea

Ingredients in Long Island Iced Tea

When there are equal parts of five liquors in a cocktail, one liquor should not overpower any of the others. The goal is to achieve balance in the cocktail—even one that packs as much of a punch as the Long Island Iced Tea. To do that, you'll need quality spirits, but not necessarily high-end spirits.

Top shelf bottles, or small-batch artisanal spirits from the local distillery, can be used in this recipe, but their nuances will get lost in the mix. The LIT—as a bar server would call it—is perfectly happy with the tried and true middle shelf brands of these spirits. (Your pocketbook will be, too.)

  • Tequila: Tequila Blanco is an unaged tequila that's also known as silver or white tequila. Espolòn Tequila Blanco and El Jimador Silver Tequila are quality value tequilas that will work well in an LIT.
  • Rum: Captain Morgan White Rum or Bacardi White Rum work really well in a Long Island Iced Tea. They're good rums that don't break the bank.
  • Vodka: An LIT doesn't need your favorite vodka, just a well-made vodka like Tito's Handmade Vodka or New Amsterdam Vodka.
  • Gin: Standards such as Beefeaters or Tangueray are perfect for Long Island Iced Tea, as is New Amsterdam Gin.
  • Triple Sec: Triple Sec is a sweet, orange flavored liqueur. Cointreau is one brand of well-known triple sec, but feel confident using one that has a lower price tag such as DeKuyper. If Grand Marnier is all you have in your liquor cabinet, it's a fine alternative even though it's a blend of cognac and triple sec, not straight triple sec.

How To Make a Single Serving of Long Island Iced Tea

This super-sized cocktail recipe serves 8 to 12 people. If one cocktail is all you want, use 1 tablespoon each of tequila, rum, vodka, gin, and triple sec; 1 1/2 tablespoons each of lemon juice and simple syrup; and about 3 tablespoons of cola.

Variations on Long Island Iced Tea

Texas Tea: Add 1/2 cup of your favorite bourbon. It's best sipped outside while doing absolutely nothing.

Long Beach Tea: Substitute cranberry juice for the cola for a fruitier and more intensely tart version of this cocktail. It's a novel option for backyard cookouts.

More Cocktail Recipes To Try!

From the Editors Of Simply Recipes

Long Island Iced Tea

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Servings 8 to 12 servings

You can buy prepared simple syrup for this recipe, or make it yourself!

To make ahead: Mix the liquors, lemon, and simple syrup from the Long Island Iced Tea ingredients in advance. Right before serving, add the cola and the ice. If you add the cola too soon, it will go flat.


  • 1/2 cup tequila (silver, blanco, or white)

  • 1/2 cup white rum

  • 1/2 cup vodka

  • 1/2 cup gin

  • 1/2 cup triple sec

  • 3/4 cup lemon juice

  • 3/4 cup simple syrup

  • 1 1/2 cups cola

  • Halved lemon slices, for garnish


  1. Mix everything but the cola and chill:

    Fill a large bowl with ice. Add the tequila, rum, vodka, gin, triple sec, lemon juice, and simple syrup and stir until the mixture is well-chilled.

  2. Strain the mixture into a pitcher and add the cola:

    Finish with a quick, short stir.

  3. Serve:

    Pour individual drinks into highball or hurricane glasses filled with ice. Garnish with lemon wedges. Feel free to top off with an additional splash of cola, if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
148 Calories
0g Fat
16g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 148
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 5mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 6mg 29%
Calcium 4mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 29mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.