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Amateur Hour

by | Sep 2, 2019

Some cocktails go in and out of style, but one particular cocktail leaves many with a lasting impression. The Long Island Iced Tea, or LIIT for short, contains a little of everything and has a lot of potential to be terrible. In my experience, it usually is. All that liquor leaves little room for taste.

This is often one of the first drinks that young adults order at a bar. I remember ordering Long Island Iced Teas in college. Most were somewhat drinkable, which made this the perfect cocktail to conserve my dollars while getting LIIT.

You can thank Prohibition for the invention of many cocktails, including the Long Island Iced Tea, as speakeasies had to get creative to cover up the burn of that bootleg hooch. Sometimes they also needed to stretch their spirits to make them last until the next delivery.

Fifteen-ish years (and a Sisyphean student loan) later, my tastes are a little more refined. So I set out to make a ridiculously expensive Long Island Iced Tea to see if a difference in quality of spirits would make a meaningful difference in taste.

The world is on fire, so why not? Live your best life before we all have to weld spikes to our scrap-metal armor and fight each other to the death while getting sprayed with bear repellant in front of an audience of one-percenters in the Bezos Prison Corp Gladiator Arena for the grand prize: a can of beans and, of course, living to fight another glorious day.

The recipe is super easy. Use the good stuff, like I do, or don’t. Or make the first one out of the good stuff, then switch to the cheap stuff for the second round and you won’t notice the difference, which is a great party trick to play on your guests.

photo/Jessie Lacey


A half ounce each:

  • Absolut Citron Vodka
  • Roku Gin
  • Patron Silver
  • Plantation Rum
  • Dry Curaçao (high-end triple sec, orange liquor)

1 ounce each:

  • Maine Root lemonade
  • Boylan Bottling Co. cane cola

Pour all ingredients, except the cola, into the shaker with ice. Shake and pour into pint glasses. Top with cola and garnish with a lemon wedge.

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