Our version of homemade Long Island Iced Tea is cola free and instead made with actual brewed black tea. It’s a bit less sweet (in a good way!), citrusy and NOT for the faint-hearted. With four types of liquor, this is definitely not a standard weeknight drink, but it’s perfect for end-of-summer parties with friends and family.
Funny enough, I’m sitting here in my in-laws kitchen in Long Island (New York) as I write this post. It’s purely coincidental that we’re sharing this post – we’ve had it planned for quite a while – but a funny anecdote all the same!
While we’re on the subject, if you’ve never been to Long Island, I highly suggest making a visit. Of course, the Hamptons are great and all, but there are so many gorgeous small towns covering the entire island.
My husband grew up in Glen Cove (where his parents still live), and every time we come to visit we’re so impressed by how beautiful it is here. Despite being less than an hour from NYC, there’s so much greenery and uninhabited land.
We just got back from a beautiful, long walk at a local arboretum. We’re planning on spending most of the rest of the day by the pool – reading, relaxing, and hopefully sipping on some refreshing cocktails!
If you’ve never made (or had) a Long Island Iced Tea, there are a few things you should know…
What is Long Island Iced Tea?
If you’ve never had Long Island Iced Tea, please don’t be scared off by this description:
Long Island Iced Tea is a very strong cocktail typically made with four different liquors, triple sec, lemon juice and cola. The alcohols in question traditionally consists of white rum, vodka, silver tequila and gin. Yes, all in one cocktail.
Best known for its ability to leave you with a horrific hangover (and a very slippery path towards blackout territory), Long Island Iced Teas are no joke. That being said, they’re actually quite good, especially when made with a bit of extra fresh citrus juice to tame the liquor.
While you won’t – and shouldn’t – be knocking these back by the glass, they’re a fun sipping cocktail. They’re especially fun for an end-of-summer party. Our family & friends tend to be a rowdy bunch, so it’s kind of tradition to mix up some strong cocktails and enjoy one last gorgeous summer evening before it’s back to real life. (By real life, I mean the end of summer!)
Cola-Free Long Island Iced Tea
As we mentioned above, traditional Long Island Iced tea is made with cola. We don’t really ever drink cola, and quite honestly I hate the sickly sweet taste, even when it’s mixed into a cocktail.
To make a cola-free Long Island Iced Tea, we simply sub cola with brewed black tea instead. To compensate for the loss of sugar, we add some agave nectar to the mix to sweeten things up. Alternatively, you could use sweetened black iced tea – it’s up to you!
I don’t mind the lack of carbonation without the cola – I actually think this tastes great without carbonation. However, if you’d like, you can top off your drink with soda water, or even one of our favorite Lemon Spindrift Sparkling Waters. (P.S. – check out these super easy vodka cocktails made with Spindrift – so good!)
Why you should use fresh citrus juice
Okay, hear me out. I know it’s convenient to buy pre-squeezed lemon and lime juice, but stop what you’re doing and throw that sh*t away.
Apologies for the language, but seriously. Nothing – and I mean nothing – compares to freshly squeezed citrus juice. That bottled stuff contains all sorts weird preservatives and tastes more like lab-manufactured “essence of lemon” than actual lemon juice.
This cocktail (and literally any other cocktail, ever) will benefit greatly from fresh citrus juice. I promise, it’s well worth the extra 30 seconds of effort! This handheld citrus juicer is one of our most-used kitchen tools. It’s easy to clean and makes juicing citrus a breeze. We use it at least once a day, and I’d highly suggest purchasing one if you use a lot of citrus in your cooking!
How to make Long Island Iced Tea at Home
Once you’ve gathered all four types of alcohol – white rum, vodka, gin and silver tequila – get out your cocktail shaker, a jigger, and your favorite highball glasses.
Load up your cocktail shaker with plenty of ice, then add all of the liquids and give it a vigorous shake. As a general rule of thumb, we typically shake for about 15 seconds, until the entire cocktail shaker is cold to the touch.
Pour over ice into a glass, garnish with fresh citrus (optional) and start sipping! Note: truly, take your time with this drink. I’d suggest eating a meal before enjoying one, or eating very soon after having one of these!
More of our favorite summer cocktails
Now that you know how easy it is to mix (or shake) up a cocktail at home, test out your mixology skills with a few of our favorite summer drink recipes:
- Blackberry Cucumber Vodka Cocktail – super refreshing and light!
- Strawberry Peach Sangria – one of our favorite options for a big crowd.
- Bourbon Peach Smash – another slow sipper. This one is full of flavor, but definitely not light on alcohol.
- Frozen Watermelon Jalapeño Margaritas – enjoy this one while watermelon is still (kind of) in season!
- Strawberry Peach Frosé via The College Housewife. I saw this a few weeks ago on Instagram and couldn’t get over how good it looks!
- Balsamic Peach Spritz via Half Baked Harvest – LOVE the sound of this. Such a unique cocktail!
Remember – drink responsibly, but enjoy these Long Island Iced Teas!Print
Our version of homemade Long Island Iced Tea is made with actual brewed black tea instead of traditional cola. It’s a bit less sweet (in a good way!), citrusy and NOT for the faint-hearted. With four types of liquor, this is definitely not a standard weeknight drink, but it’s perfect for end-of-summer parties with friends and family.
- 2 oz orange juice, freshly squeezed or store bought
- 1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 oz agave nectar
- 3/4 oz gin
- 3/4 oz white rum
- 3/4 oz vodka
- 3/4 oz silver tequila
- 1/2 oz Cointreau or Triple Sec
- 1/2 cup unsweetened black iced tea
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Add all liquids to the cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
- Pour into a highball glass filled about halfway with ice.
- Optional: garnish with fresh citrus and sip slowly!
Feel free to use freshly brewed or store-bought black tea.
To make a pitcher version, multiply each ingredient serving size by 4-6.
Keywords: long island iced tea