LONG ISLAND ICED TEAS —

A 20TH CENTURY DRINK CLASSIC

On a time/space continuum, the Long Island Iced Tea falls somewhere between the Harvey Wallbanger and Silk Panties. The tall, sublime concoction originated in the late 1970s at the Oak Beach Inn in Babylon, Long Island. The drink’s construction is so unique that its creator—bartender Robert Bott—should be knighted and made to do something with the ozone layer. It takes a peculiarly bent mind to even contemplate combining four light liquors in one glass, no less proceed and make the combination work so well.

Potency notwithstanding, the Long Island Iced Tea is one of the great mixed drinks to emerge from the 20th century. The libation has given flight to a score of creative variations and remains enormously popular; just ask Marge Simpson, one of the drink’s legions of devoted followers. —RP


LONG ISLAND ICED TEAS AT A GLANCE

• DIFFICULTY OF PREPARATION: 5.2 OUT OF 10 — The preparation involved making these drinks isn’t difficult as much as it is time-consuming. They’re fabulous libations, but because of the large number of ingredients used, they require a lot of time to prepare. Long Islands are hand-shaken, strained into tall iced glassed and often finished with a lemon wedge garnish. For most, that’s about it. However, nowhere is it written that you can’t take the same ingredients, ice and give it all a good blending. Long Islands served tall, cold and slushy is a pretty good deal.

[Scale 1– 10: A drink with a value of 5.0 or lower means it’s quickly and easily prepared, while one with a value closer to 10 indicates that several days and an advanced engineering degree are required.]


• UP-SELLING POTENTIAL: 7.7 OUT OF 10 — For the most part these drinks are made using house brand liquors; however in each instance, there are premium brands that can be used instead of less expensive spirits. Featuring good liquor in Long Islands isn’t sacrilege, it’s creative genius. The better the ingredients you use, the better the results.

[Scale 1– 10: A drink with an up-selling potential of 5.0 or higher means it’s a financial thoroughbred, a cocktail tailor-made for top-shelf spirits. A cocktail rating below 5 signifies a drink in which the brand of spirits used are of secondary importance compared to the overall effect looking to be achieved.]


• ALCOHOL POTENCY — Most Long Island Iced Teas contain over two-ounces of mixed spirits, making them relatively potent drink. Although half-ounce liquor portions may seem small, they have a significant cumulative affect. Therefore resist upping the portioning. These drinks needn’t be combustible to be delicious.

[As a general rule, 1 1/4-ounces of distilled spirits is equal in alcohol to 4-ounces of wine and 10-ounces of beer.]


• PORTIONING CONSIDERATIONS — One of the keys to preparing great Long Island Iced Tea is using equal parts of each of the various spirits. That being the case, portioning Long Islands are typically prepared with 2.5 parts of alcohol— spirits and triple sec—and roughly 4 parts mix. When devising one of these specialties be conservative with the amount of alcohol you use. Making the drink more potent at that point then involves no more than a minor flick of the wrist. However, if you use too much alcohol relative to the size of the glass the drink is not as easily fixed.


• SEASONAL ORIENTATION AND TRADE PERIOD — Long Island Iced Teas have built a well-deserved reputation for fun in the sun. The warmer the weather, the better they seem to like it. So unless you’re throwing a summer beach party in the middle of December, these drinks are more promotable during the summer months.

As for trade periods, these drinks are in their element whenever the sun is over the yardarm, as they say, which loosely translates to anytime between brunch and the cocktail hour. The shank of the day is when they are at their delightful best.


• GLASSWARE OPTIONS — The choice of glassware is an important marketing consideration. Conventional wisdom contends that the better a drink looks and the better people look drinking it, the better the drink will sell.

Presenting a Long Island Iced Tea in a plain nondescript glass is like serving a filet mignon in a bun. These tall attractive drinks deserve to be presented in tall, equally attractive glasses. They should have minimum capacity of 16-ounces, although those with 18-ounce capacities offer more latitude when it comes to garnishing and adding a few creative twists.

• ALCOHOL-FREE OPTIONS: 1.0 OUT OF 10 — Try as we might, our brains couldn’t conceive of how to prepare an alcohol-free version of the Long Island Iced Tea. That said, we still gave it a rating of 1 out of 10 because we’re still thinking.

[Scale: The rating of 1.0 out of 10 indicates that alcohol-free variation of the Sidecar still eludes us.]


CREATING LONG ISLAND ICED TEA MAGIC

One of the principal features distinguishing one bar’s Long Island from another is the quality and vivaciousness of the mix used creating them. You can make these tall, icy drinks using the same brand of liquors and those prepared with a premium mix will clearly outshine the others.

At Finest Call, we’ve developed a lemon sour mix that makes creating Long Island magic effortless. Like canvas to a painter, our sweet & sour mix provides the ideal foundation for the drink. If the mix you’re using is less than wonderful, what chance do your Long Islands have? Don’t short-circuit your efforts. Starting with a world-class sour mix will greatly increase your odds for success.

So how do you gauge if your sour mix falls into the world-class category? Start by tasting some over ice. It should be delicious and completely devoid of any bitter or artificial aftertaste. It should have a light fresh quality and be well balanced, meaning not too sweet or tart.


FINEST CALL SWEET & SOUR MIX is a blend of all-natural lemon, orange and lime extracts. Sweeteners are added to throttle back some of the citrus exuberance, resulting in a delectably flavorful drink mix. It’s designed to achieve the best possible results without any attendant hassle or worry. Just add the liquor, shake with ice and serve.

Its naturally tart character provides the all-important foundation for the following Long Island recipes:

Beverly Hills Iced Tea

Bimini Bay Iced Tea

Blue Tasmanian Iced Tea

Florida Iced Tea

Georgia Peach Iced Tea

Hawaiian Punch Iced Tea

Italian Iced Tea

Long Beach Iced Tea

Long Island Iced Tea

Strawberry Mango Iced Tea


• FINEST CALL TRIPLE SEC — Triple Sec plays an essential role in the Long Island Iced Tea. Specifically, it adds body to the drink, a touch of sweetness and an orange aroma and flavor. An added benefit is that our Triple Sec contains no alcohol and has a low cost per ounce. Two of the more prominent features of FINEST CALL TRIPLE SEC are its lightweight body and bouquet of freshly peeled citrus and lemon zest. Rounding out its qualifications for service are its brilliant orange flavor and crisp, clean finish. Great stuff!

You’ll find Finest Call Triple Sec featured in the following signature Long Island Ice Tea recipes.

Florida Iced Tea

Hawaiian Punch Iced Tea

Italian Iced Tea

Long Beach Iced Tea

Long Island Iced Tea

Strawberry Mango Iced Tea


• FINEST CALL BLUE CURAÇAO — There is something intriguing about sipping on a blue cocktail. It’s like something out of a Star Trek episode. Whatever the reason, blue drinks are like a weekend pass to Funsville and FINEST CALL BLUE CURAÇAO is the surefire way to get there. 

Triple Sec and Blue Curaçao are quite similar in taste and aroma. Both have delightful, semi-sweet orange characters. Yet the Curaçao brings something singularly compelling to the table. If you’re looking for a little inspiration on how create Long Island magic, consider the BIMINI BAY ICED TEA and the BLUE TASMANIAN ICED TEA.


• FINEST CALL FRUIT PUREES — Created to deliver a concentrated blast of fresh fruit flavor, FINEST CALL FRUIT PUREES are indispensable when preparing creative Long Island variations. Our purees are made entirely with premium varieties of fruit sourced from preeminent growing regions. Exacting specifications are maintained throughout the process to ensure uncompromised quality and that the fruit is at peak ripeness.

Finest Call’s unbeatable range of premium purees includes RASPBERRY, MANGO, STRAWBERRY, BANANA, PEACH and PASSION FRUIT.

The GEORGIA PEACH ICED TEA is an excellent example of a signature drink owing much of its identity to the added splash of peach puree.


• FINEST CALL DRINK INGREDIENTS — We’ve made it our business to develop the finest, highest quality drink ingredients possible. As a result, our products have tremendous versatility. For instance, the flavor of the HAWAIIAN PUNCH ICED TEA is enhanced with a Finest Call Hurricane Mix.


LONG ISLAND ICED TEAS — TIPS FOR PROS

Aside from having one of the longest drink names in the business, the Long Island Iced Tea is an inexplicably brilliant creation. Anyone who tells you that they’ve fathomed why the drink tastes like iced tea is…well, clearly mistaken. When made properly, the Long Island Iced Tea should taste nearly identical to its brewed, alcohol-free counterpart. That is with one not so minor exception; it packs a bona fide wallop.

The drink is concocted with half-ounce of gin, vodka, light rum, tequila and triple sec, two ounces of sweet & sour and roughly the same amount of cola. The ingredients are then shaken, which thoroughly mixes them and dissipates the carbonation from the cola. The drink is served in a tall iced glass with a lemon wedge garnish.

The drink is a tailor-made heat buster, a perfect elixir for the dog days of summer. One note of caution — their affect is markedly increased in the summer heat with the sun pounding down. Long Island Iced Teas and UV rays — they’re great when taken in moderation.

Here is our best advice on how to achieve your goal of creating the definitive Long Island Iced Tea.


• LIQUEUR ESSENTIALS — While its unusual assortment of spirits tends to grab most of the attention, let’s not lose sight of the role triple sec has played in the drink’s phenomenal success. The liqueur adds body, flavor and sweetness, all things that contribute to the overall effect. Similar in taste and aroma to triple sec, Blue Curaçao also brings something singularly compelling to the table. The admonition about only using quality brands in Long Islands also holds true for the triple sec.

In the premium realm, there is no finer Curaçao liqueur than Cointreau. A variation on the theme is to craft specialty Long Islands with Grand Marnier. It brings a great deal of character to the equation, namely a vibrant palate of orange and brandy flavors.

Another lesson learned along the way is that Long Islands taste great modified with liqueurs. Popular examples include adding a float of Midori, Disaronno Amaretto and Chambord. Each is thoroughly delicious and satisfying.


• MODIFYING THE MIX — Long Islands are made with a base of sweetened lemon juice and cola. Change the composition of that base mix and you’ll alter the flavor of the finished drink. For instance, if you use equal parts of cranberry juice and sweet & sour the drink is converted into the Long Beach Iced Tea. The Florida Iced Tea is made with the addition of orange juice.

As one might expect, adding a healthy splash of regular iced tea to the drink is a natural. The cola provides the drink with color and flavor, but several contemporary variations of the Long Island have replaced cola for other types of sodas, such as lemon-lime soda, root beer, grapefruit (Squirt) or Dr. Pepper.


FINEST CALL LONG ISLAND ICED TEA RECIPE

LONG ISLAND ICED TEA

House specialty glass, ice

Pour into an iced mixing glass

1/2 oz. Gin

1/2 oz. Vodka

1/2 oz. Light Rum

1/2 oz. Tequila

1/2 oz. Finest Call Triple Sec

2 oz. Finest Call Sweet & Sour

2 oz. cola

Shake and strain

Garnish with a lemon wedge


FINEST CALL SIGNATURE LONG ISLAND ICED TEAS

BEVERLY HILLS ICED TEA

House specialty glass, ice

Pour into an iced mixing glass

1/2 oz. Tanqueray Gin

1/2 oz. Absolut Vodka

1/2 oz. Bacardi Light Rum

1/2 oz. Sauza Hornitos Tequila

1/2 oz. Cointreau

1 oz. cola

1 oz. grapefruit juice

1 oz. Finest Call Sweet & Sour

Shake and strain

Garnish with a lemon wedge


BIMINI BAY ICED TEA

House specialty glass, ice

Pour into an iced mixing glass

3/4 oz. Finest Call Blue Curaçao

1/2 oz. Gin

1/2 oz. Vodka

1/2 oz. Light Rum

1/2 oz. Tequila

1 1/2 oz. pineapple juice

1 1/2 oz. cola

1 1/2 oz. Finest Call Sweet & Sour

Shake and strain

Garnish with a lemon wedge


BLUE TASMANIAN ICED TEA

House specialty glass, ice

Pour into an iced mixing glass

1 oz. HPNOTIQ

3/4 oz. Light Rum

1/2 oz. Gin

1 oz. cola

1 oz. Finest Call Blue Curaçao

2 oz. Finest Call Sweet & Sour

Shake and strain

Fill with lemon-lime soda

Garnish with a lemon wedge


FLORIDA ICED TEA

House specialty glass, ice

Pour into an iced mixing glass

1/2 oz. Gin

1/2 oz. Vodka

1/2 oz. Light Rum

1/2 oz. Tequila

1/2 oz. Finest Call Triple Sec

1 oz. cola

1 1/2 oz. Finest Call Sweet & Sour

1 1/2 oz. orange juice

Shake and strain

Garnish with an orange and lemon slice


GEORGIA PEACH ICED TEA

House specialty glass, ice

Pour into an iced mixing glass

1/2 oz. Peach Schnapps

1/2 oz. Gin

1/2 oz. Vodka

1/2 oz. Light Rum

1/2 oz. Tequila

1 oz. iced tea

1 oz. Finest Call Peach Puree

1 1/2 oz. Finest Call Sweet & Sour

Shake and strain

Garnish with a lemon wedge and peach slice


HAWAIIAN PUNCH ICED TEA

House specialty glass, ice

Pour into an iced mixing glass

1 oz. Light Rum

3/4 oz. Coconut Rum

3/4 oz. Citrus Rum

1/2 oz. Finest Call Triple Sec

1 oz. cola

1 1/2 oz. Finest Call Sweet & Sour

1 1/2 oz. Finest Call Hurricane Mix

Shake and strain

Garnish with a lemon wedge and cherry


ITALIAN ICED TEA

House specialty glass, ice

Pour into an iced mixing glass

1/2 oz. Gin

1/2 oz. Vodka

1/2 oz. Light Rum

3/4 oz. Finest Call Triple Sec

2 oz. Finest Call Sweet & Sour

2 oz. cola

Shake and strain

Float 3/4 oz. Amaretto

Garnish with a lemon wedge


LONG BEACH ICED TEA

House specialty glass, ice

Pour into an iced mixing glass

1/2 oz. Gin

1/2 oz. Vodka

1/2 oz. Light Rum

1/2 oz. Tequila

1/2 oz. Finest Call Triple Sec

1 oz. cola

1 1/2 oz. cranberry juice

2 oz. Finest Call Sweet & Sour

Shake and strain

Garnish with a lemon wedge


STRAWBERRY MANGO ICED TEA

House specialty glass, ice

Pour into an iced mixing glass

1 oz. Gold Rum

3/4 oz. Brandy

3/4 oz. Finest Call Triple Sec

1 oz. cola

1 1/2 oz. orange juice

1 1/2 oz. Finest Call Sweet & Sour

Shake and strain

Garnish with a lemon wedge and strawberry

Difficulty of
Preparation

Upselling
Potential

Alcohol-Free
Options