Long Island Iced Tea of my dreams?
November 13, 2005 12:03 AM   Subscribe

I had the Long Island Iced Tea of my dreams...Now how do I make it?

I was at a conference for work in Moscow, Idaho and one night while out with the coworkers I ordered a long island iced tea. I'm not much of a drinker, and I had never had one before. The glass arrived. I took a sip. Life was good. It tased smooth, slightly fruity, and had no nasty bite to it. Since then I have tried to make one of these wonderful drinks, but have failed every time. Does anyone have a good recipe for a long island iced tea? It would be great if you could specify what brands of each type of liquor, as I know that there are differences from brand to brand, but I don't drink much, so details would be helpful. Also, can this drink be made in advance? I know that some of it may settle to the bottom, but can't I just shake it back up, or am I missing something here?
posted by markblasco to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My recipe:

1 shot each of:
light rum
dark rum (2 shots light works)
lemon juice (freshly squeezed is best)

1/2 shot each of:
triple sec
light tequila (most recipes call for a whole shot, but tequila is the most apt to "stick out" in the mix, so going a bit easy on it can make the the net taste more neutral)

add cola to taste
ice as appropriate
garnish with a lemon wedge

The quality of the end result depends a lot on the quality of its constituents. Buy good liquors and it'll taste good. I haven't really found that many of the top shelf liquors are blatantly overrated, so just get the best you can afford. There is a bit of showmanship in the vodka category, I typically go for the marginally cheaper Ketel One in preference to the various designer brands with their own rap songs. I like to get everything really cold and forego ice cubes for a bit more Coke, but if there is any warmth to it at all squash it with some ice. I'd take virtually anything above store brand for the rum and triple sec, vodka is ketel, gin is bombay, tequila is cabo wabo (mostly because of Sammy Hagar, this is an area of much contention: plan to spend a lot of money on a good tequila if you want the definitive long island experience).
posted by moift at 12:24 AM on November 13, 2005

Also re: making it in advance: it shouldn't be an issue if you mean just mixing the liquor, but avoid adding the cola until the last instant as it obviously goes flat and doesn't give the same effect. It should be mixed well in any case since the various ingredients have varying densities.
posted by moift at 12:28 AM on November 13, 2005

Here's the recipe I use.
posted by madman at 12:28 AM on November 13, 2005

Cheap tequila ruins long island iced teas. If you have to choose wether to go cheap on the vodka or tequila, lean towards the vodka.
posted by Dean Keaton at 12:35 AM on November 13, 2005

This is one of the best justifications for having joined MeFi. Btw, wouldn't the dark v. light Rum in the above recipe make a stark difference?
posted by michswiss at 2:56 AM on November 13, 2005

"wouldn't the dark v. light Rum in the above recipe make a stark difference"
Use light rum. You want all clear liquors. You can add a little sour mix too to take the edge off and make it tangier.
OR. Take the first recipe plus a bit of sour mix, substitute Blue Curaco for the Triple Sec, leave out the Coke, and you have a bright blue, equally tasty Blue Motorcycle.
posted by smartypanties at 5:29 AM on November 13, 2005

Call me a philistine, but I'm in the same boat (don't drink much, but like a good Long Island) and I just buy the pre-made mix of spirits. You just add the Coke and lemon (double-strength canned lemonade) and mix it up. I'm not terribly discerning, but I find it as good as ones I've had in bars.

I'm afraid the brand escapes me right now, but the bottle is plastic and the label is mostly white and blue, with the suggestion to use double-strength lemonade in the recipe on the back.
posted by pocams at 11:26 AM on November 13, 2005

My recipe comes from the great Complete Home Bartender's Guide by Salvatore Calabrese.
1/3 oz light rum
1/3 oz vodka
1/3 oz gin
1/3 oz tequila
1/3 oz Cointreau
2/3 oz fresh lime juice
cola, chilled

Pour all ingredients, except cola, into a highball filled with ice. Stir. Top up with chilled cola. Garnish with a wedge of lime. Serve with a straw and stirrer.
Like others have said, use good ingredients. Mid-range vodka is fine, but Cointreau is far superior to triple sec. I find that lime juice tastes way better than lemon juice--and definitely squeeze it fresh.

Finally, I've found that you can leave out the tequila entirely if the drinker really doesn't like tequila (weirdos).
posted by hartsell at 11:56 AM on November 13, 2005

Oh yeah, like Calabrese says, always measure each spirit exactly to maintain the correct balance of flavor.
posted by hartsell at 11:57 AM on November 13, 2005

Let's see . . . all clear liquor (excepting the tequila). Equal parts light rum, tequila, and vodka, gin if you like it. (So, all 1/3 oz or all one whole shot, etc.) I hate gin so I generally skip it and make up the alcohol with tequila, but I really enjoy tequila. I generally used about half as much triple sec/Cointreau as I used of the main liqours. Top up with coke or diet coke, Coke Zero, whatever, but I contend that Pepsi makes it taste like ass, to taste. Sour mix, also to taste, ice.

Quality ingredients is really key. You will make a couple that taste really not good at all, but as long as you keep at the trial and error part of it, you will be fine. The pre-mix stuff isn't horrifying, either, if you just aren't a great bartender or if you can't be bothered, but making Long Islands from scratch, as it were, is quite tasty.
posted by Medieval Maven at 3:18 PM on November 13, 2005

all clear liquor (excepting the tequila)
Unless you happen to have a bottle of Patron silver, which is definitely quality.
posted by jmd82 at 6:09 PM on November 13, 2005

Am I the only one who thinks that LITs are great with shit liquor? I thought the whole point was to blend so many different flavors that it would conceal the flaws of each individual ingredient. I must admit, I've never made one with the good stuff (actually, I don't think I've ever made one at all) but whenever I've ordered them at bars they just use well liquor for every ingredient, plus bar mix and coke - always tasted good enough to me.
posted by rorycberger at 12:12 PM on November 14, 2005

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