Pina colada recipes: Long Island Iced Tea Recipe

Long Island Iced Tea Recipe

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!


Garrett McCord

Garrett McCord

Garrett has been writing about food and sharing recipes for 15 years. He is the author of Melt: The Art of Macaroni and Cheese.

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Updated July 20, 2022

16 ratings

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!

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.

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!

  • Cosmopolitan
  • Moscow Mule
  • White Russian Cocktail
  • Aperol Spritz
  • Old Fashioned Cocktail

Prep Time
5 mins

Total Time
5 mins

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.

How to Cut a Pineapple

Need to cut a fresh pineapple and don’t know where to start? Here’s step by step instructions on how to cut a pineapple to get the sweetest and juiciest parts.


Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer

Elise founded Simply Recipes in 2003 and led the site until 2019. She has an MA in Food Research from Stanford University.

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Editorial Process

Updated June 09, 2022

14 ratings

Elise Bauer

When I was little, one of our favorite treats was fresh pineapple. We kids would gather around the table with wide-eyed fascination as our father would carefully prep the pineapple.

My father’s method is simple, though not at all obvious by just looking at the pineapple.

How to Properly Cut a Pineapple

First you off the green spiky top. Then carefully cut the skin off the sides, as close to the edge of the pineapple as you can. The sweetest and juiciest parts of the pineapple were usually right at the very edge.

Elise Bauer

Cutting close to the edge exposes a bunch of brown, scraggly dots, called eyes, that need to be removed. You can’t eat them, they’re too prickly.

Elise Bauer

If you looked carefully you can tell that the eyes line up in a spiral. My father carefully cuts away at the eyes, making V-shaped trenches as he rotates around the pineapple to remove them.

When the pineapple is all ready to go, you can slice it in rounds or make lengthwise cuts to make spears or chunks.

How to Tell a Pineapple Is Ripe

The best way to tell that a pineapple is ripe is to pick it up and smell it from the bottom. If it smells like sweet, fresh pineapple juice, it’s ripe.

If it doesn’t smell of pineapple, it isn’t ripe. If it smells fermented, it’s over-ripe.

A ripe pineapple should be firm, not soft, and the leaves should look fresh, not dried out. The pineapple can be green, golden, or a mix, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the smell.

Contrary to a common misperception, pineapples do not continue to ripen once picked. They will get more golden, and more soft, but the sugars will not continue to develop after they’re picked. (See Hawaiian Crown and Dole articles on this.)

Pineapples should be eaten soon after they’re bought. If you need to store them, store them in the refrigerator; they’ll keep longer.

Pineapple Rounds Are a Terrific Treat for Kids

My father would slice the pineapple in rounds, giving each of us forks to spear our own round in the tough center.

It’s a pineapple pop!.
Elise Bauer

Then we would run outside, holding the pineapple round on our fork, and eat that pineapple ring all around the sweet juicy edges (taking our drippy mess outside).

If all the rounds were accounted for (there were six of us kids), and we were still desperate for more pineapple, we would nibble on the tough core until everything was eaten.

These days most people (sometimes me included) don’t bother with the spiral cuts, they just make deeper cuts initially to cut off the pineapple skin and the eyes together.

If you are rushed for time you can easily do that. But the far edges are the best part, especially if the pineapple is still a little green.

So here’s my dad’s way of cutting a pineapple, if you want to take a couple extra minutes to extract more of the juicy bits.

Watch This Pineapple Cutting Technique Recipe

Prep Time
10 mins

Total Time
10 mins

4 cups of pineapple

  • One ripe pineapple
  1. Slice off the top

    Place the pineapple on its side on a cutting board. With a sharp chef’s knife, slice off the top green crown and about a half inch of the top of the pineapple.

    Elise Bauer

    Elise Bauer

    Stand the pineapple upright on the cutting board.

  2. Cut away the outer peel

    Use a sharp knife to carefully cut away the outer peel, from top to bottom, following the contours of the pineapple.

    Elise Bauer

    Elise Bauer

    Do not cut so deep as to cut away the eyes. The outer edge of the pineapple has the sweetest flesh, so you want to retain that if you can.

    Cut off the bottom half inch or so of the pineapple.

    Elise Bauer

  3. Make diagonal cuts to carve out the pineapple eyes

    Now you have a pineapple dotted with eyes which must be removed. You can use a small paring knife to carefully carve out each one, but there is an easier way.

    Elise Bauer

    Notice that the eyes all line up on a diagonal! Make a diagonal cut across the side of the pineapple, like a V-shaped trench, and more easily cut out all of the eyes that are on that diagonal.

    Elise Bauer

    Elise Bauer

    Continue to work your way around the pineapple. You do waste a little bit of good pineapple this way, but not much, and it is a lot faster than trying to carefully cut out each eye.

  4. Make the final cuts

    Now the pineapple is ready to cut further. There are several ways to make the final cuts of the pineapple, depending how you are serving it.

    If you want rounds, just lay the pineapple on its side and cut it into 3/4 inch rounds.

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