Cocktail Corner – Long Island Iced Tea

By on July 4, 2017

By Lucky G.


Hello and welcome to the second anniversary of Cocktail Corner. That’s right, it’s been another whole year, and again, it seems like it was only yesterday that I started writing this column; to say the absolute least, it’s been a stone cold blast. But there’s no way I would’ve been able to do it without all the dedicated people, here, at the Magazine. Their hard work in putting out issue after issue is truly inspirational, and I raise a drink to their efforts. This is especially true of our Editor, Vinson James, because it was his idea for Cocktail Corner, and he’s been nothing but supportive and encouraging in giving me the opportunity to write this column.

But even more important, I have to say THANK YOU to everyone who reads Cocktail Corner every month. It’s all of YOU who’ve supported me these past two years with all of your comments and feedback about all the stories and drinks I write about every month. And that includes all of you who randomly stop me in any of the clubs or lounges to ask me a question about something I’ve written. It’s all of your continuing interest that makes this effort so satisfying, because none of this would be possible without all of YOU. So, again, THANK YOU, and let’s get to some drinking.

To celebrate Cocktail Corner’s second birthday, I think we should create a tradition, and stay with the same drink we imbibed to celebrate our first birthday. And since we’ll once again be sitting poolside during our celebration, we’re not going to want to be constantly getting up to refresh our drinks, so a tall drink is definitely in order – and one that can also be easily adapted to our friends’ personal tastes. And in case anyone doesn’t remember what last year’s birthday drink was – and it’s pretty easy to forget when you drink enough of them – that drink is the one and only Long Island Iced Tea. This tall, refreshing drink has been around for quite awhile, and it’s as delicious today as when it was first invented – which some people say was way back in the 1920’s.

There’s a story that states the Long Island Iced Tea was originally invented by “Old Man Bishop” during Prohibition in the 1920’s, and later perfected by his son, Ransom Bishop. Their version contained vodka, gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, maple syrup, the juices of ½ a lemon and ½ a lime, and topped with cola. It was named after the community where the elder Bishop lived, which was called Long Island, and located in the town of Kingsport, Tennessee. But this is really difficult to verify, because no one was claiming to be inventing drinks during Prohibition; and this story didn’t even surface until someone else claimed to invent this now iconic drink.

This happened in 1972 when a bartender named, Robert “Rosebud” Butt (real name), claims he invented the Long Island Iced Tea while working at the Oak Beach Inn on Long Island, New York, for a contest that involved using triple sec; his recipe of vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec, sour mix, and topped with cola is the one everyone knows and uses. The only problem with Butt’s claim, though, is that the Long Island Iced Tea recipe actually appears in three different cookbooks throughout the 1960’s – including the 1961 New Picture Cookbook by none other than Betty Crocker. So it seems that no one can really say who actually invented this drink. But in the end, all that matters is that it’s a pretty tasty concoction, and perfect for a day of celebration. So with that bit of history out of the way, let’s get to the recipes – all served in a Collins or other tall glass.

Long Island Iced Tea … Equal parts vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec – fill with sour mix – top with a splash of Coca Cola … This is one we all know and love; but what if you don’t like carbonated soda and want something different? In that case, try this version …

Long Beach Iced Tea … Equal portions of the same liquors and sour mix – top with a splash of cranberry juice … A very refreshing drink that leaves out all that carbonation from the Coke; but what if you’re not crazy about cranberry juice? Then try this …

South Beach iced Tea … Equal portions of all the same liquors and sour mix – top with a splash of orange juice … A very nice combination of the lemon-lime sour mixed with the citrus of the orange; but why stop here? Let’s try another juice …

Hawaiian Iced Tea … Equal portions of all the same liquors and sour mix – top with a splash of pineapple juice … For you pineapple lovers out there, another refreshing version that’s perfect for your Hawaii 5-0 party. But there’s more …

Florida Iced Tea … Equal portions of all the same liquors and sour mix – top with a splash of grapefruit juice … Try using fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, because it’s way better-tasting than the stuff from the can or the carton. And just for good measure …

Old Man Bishop Iced Tea … Equal parts vodka, gin, rum, tequila, maple-flavored whiskey – fill with sour mix – top with Coca Cola … This is my modern-day version of the 1920’s recipe that should make whiskey drinkers happy.

Now that’s a really nice set of drinks. And even though they all use the same liquors, all of them will taste slightly different from each other, because of the final splash of juice or cola. And remember that all these variations take a lemon wedge garnish – just like a regular, non-alcoholic iced tea – if you feel like dressing them up a bit. But the garnish really isn’t important when you’re enjoying these drink variations, sitting poolside on a hot summer day, while celebrating a birthday, because at that point, only the drink matters; unless, of course, you’re celebrating poolside with some hotties. And speaking of celebrating with some hotties, Brooke and Amy need my opinion on which bathing suit they should wear for the pool party – yes! So until next month.


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