Refreshing Long Island Iced Tea Recipe with a Twist: Using Actual Tea Instead of Cola

Looking for a unique and refreshing twist on the classic Long Island Iced Tea recipe? Why not try swapping out the traditional cola for actual tea! This simple modification not only adds a distinct flavor to the cocktail but also eliminates the excess sugars found in cola-based recipes. To make it, simply substitute the cola in your usual Long Island Iced Tea recipe for freshly brewed black tea, and enjoy a lighter, more refreshing version of this popular cocktail. Or follow my step-by-step instructions for making a delicious tea infused Long Island Iced Tea. So, next time you're in the mood for a summer cocktail, give this easy-to-make, yet delicious, recipe a try and impress your friends and family with your creativity!

Upgrade Your Cocktail Game: How to Make a Delicious Long Island Iced Tea with Real Tea

Get ready to impress your guests with a refreshing twist on the classic Long Island Iced Tea recipe by using actual tea instead of cola - a perfect balance of flavors that's sure to please any palate!

What are the Ingredients in Long Island Iced Tea?

The ingredients in traditional Long Island Iced Tea cocktail include vodka, gin, white rum, tequila, triple sec, sour mix, cola, and a slice of lemon for garnish. The proportions of each alcohol may vary slightly depending on the recipe or personal preference, but the cocktail generally contains equal parts of each liquor. Some variations of the recipe may also include additional ingredients such as simple syrup or fresh fruit. It's a potent and refreshing drink that has been a popular choice for summertime parties and events for many years. My recipe is slightly different as it’s made with strong black tea and fresh citrus which adds a wonderful distinct flavor.

Origin of Long Island Iced Tea

The history and origins of the Long Island Iced Tea cocktail are somewhat disputed, but it is generally believed to have been invented in the 1970s, possibly in Long Island, New York. The cocktail's creation is often attributed to Robert Butt, a bartender at the Oak Beach Inn in Hampton Bays, Long Island, who reportedly created the drink as a way to use up excess liquor in the bar's inventory.

Another story suggests that the cocktail was created in the 1920s during the Prohibition era, as a way to mask the taste of bootlegged liquor. According to this version of the story, the drink was invented by a woman named "Old Man Bishop" who owned a speakeasy in Long Island and wanted to create a cocktail that would taste like iced tea but have the potency of a stronger drink.

Regardless of its exact origins, the Long Island Iced Tea became a popular cocktail in the 1980s and has remained a classic cocktail ever since. Its popularity can be attributed to its refreshing taste, potent alcohol content, and easy-to-make recipe that has made it a staple at bars and parties around the world.

What Type of Tea to Use

When making a Long Island Iced Tea with tea, there are several options for black tea that can work well with the other ingredients in the cocktail. Here's a breakdown of each tea option you listed:

  1. English Breakfast tea: This is a classic blend of black teas that typically includes Assam, Ceylon, and Kenyan teas. It has a strong, full-bodied flavor that can stand up well to the other strong flavors in the cocktail. However, some English Breakfast blends can be more mellow, so it's important to choose a high-quality blend with a robust flavor profile.

  2. Assam tea: This black tea from India has a strong, malty flavor that can add depth and complexity to the cocktail. It's a great choice for those who prefer a strong, robust tea flavor in their Long Island Iced Tea.

  3. Ceylon tea: This black tea from Sri Lanka has a bold, full-bodied flavor with a slight astringency that can pair well with the strong alcohol content in the cocktail. It can add a slightly fruity and floral note to the cocktail, which can be a nice complement to the other ingredients.

  4. Darjeeling tea: Darjeeling tea is a tea from India has a light, floral flavor with a subtle musky spiciness. It can add a unique twist to the classic cocktail and works well with the citrusy flavors in the cocktail.

  5. Chai tea: This black tea, also known as masala chai, is typically spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, and other warming spices. It can add a spicy and aromatic note to the cocktail, which can be a nice complement to the other flavors. However, the added spices may not work for everyone's taste preferences.

  6. Earl Grey tea: Earl grey is a black tea is flavored with bergamot oil, which gives it a floral and citrusy flavor. It can add a unique twist to the classic cocktail and works well with the citrusy flavors in the cocktail.

Overall, any of these black teas can work well in a Long Island Iced Tea with tea, and the choice will depend on personal taste preferences and the specific flavors of the other ingredients in the cocktail. It's best to experiment with different teas to find the one that works best for you.

To Shake or Not to Shake?

A cocktail shaker is a tool used to mix ingredients together in a cocktail. Here are the steps for using a cocktail shaker:

  1. Add ice to the cocktail shaker, filling it about halfway.

  2. Add the ingredients for your cocktail to the shaker.

  3. Secure the lid tightly on the shaker.

  4. Hold the shaker with both hands and shake vigorously for about 10-15 seconds.

  5. Strain the cocktail into a glass using a cocktail strainer or a fine-mesh sieve.

If you don't have a cocktail shaker, there are several alternatives you can use to mix your cocktail. One option is to use a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid as a shaker. Another option is to use a large glass and a spoon to stir the ingredients together. However, keep in mind that using a shaker is typically the preferred method for cocktails that contain citrus or other fresh ingredients that need to be fully incorporated into the drink.

If you love tea inspired cocktails, you may also love to try these recipes:

My Tips for Making Long Island Iced Tea

Here are some top tips for making a Long Island Iced Tea, whether you're using black tea or cola:

  1. Use high-quality ingredients: Whether you're using black tea or cola, it's important to use high-quality ingredients to ensure a delicious and well-balanced cocktail. This includes using fresh citrus juices, high-quality spirits, and a good quality sweetener.

  2. Choose the right sweetener: There are several options for sweetening your Long Island Iced Tea, including granulated sugar, simple syrup, and agave nectar. Simple syrup is a popular choice because it dissolves easily and evenly in the cocktail, whereas granulated sugar can be more difficult to incorporate. Agave nectar can add a subtle sweetness and a unique flavor to the cocktail.

  3. Balance the flavors: A good Long Island Iced Tea should have a balance of sweet, sour, and strong flavors. This means using the right proportions of sweetener, citrus juices, and spirits. It's important to taste the cocktail as you make it and adjust the ingredients as needed to achieve the perfect balance of flavors.

  4. Shake or stir the cocktail: Whether you're using black tea or cola, it's important to shake or stir the cocktail well to ensure all the ingredients are well mixed and chilled. If you're using a cocktail shaker, shake the ingredients vigorously with ice for at least 15-20 seconds. If you're stirring the cocktail, use a long bar spoon and stir for about 30 seconds.

  5. Garnish the cocktail: A Long Island Iced Tea can be garnished with a wedge of lemon or lime, or a sprig of fresh mint. This not only adds a pop of color to the cocktail but can also enhance the flavors.

Overall, the key to making a great Long Island Iced Tea is to use high-quality ingredients, balance the flavors, and experiment to find the perfect combination of ingredients for your taste preferences.

How to Make This Iced Tea Cocktail at Home


  • 4 Heaped Teaspoons of Black Loose Leaf (or 4 Tea Bags)

  • 1 fl oz Orange Liqueur

  • 1 fl oz White Rum

  • 1 fl oz Tequila Blanco

  • 1 fl oz Gin

  • 1fl oz Vodka

  • 2-4 Tbsp Sugar or 4 Tbsp Simple Syrup - to Taste

  • Juice from 1 Lemon & 1 Lime

  • Sliced Lemons, Limes, Mint Sprigs to Garnish - Optional

  • Lots of Ice


  • To brew the tea, use 1 cup of freshly boiled water and let the tea leaves steep for 3-5 minutes. Strain the leaves and add sugar to your hot tea. Set aside to cool completely.

  • Into your glass or cocktail shaker, add the triple sec, white rum, tequila blanco, gin, vodka, simple syrup (if using unsweet tea) and juice. Combine well.

  • Add the cooled black tea (or cola), slices of citrus and lots of ice.

  • Enjoy :)

Read More of my Tea Infused Recipes


Long Island Iced Tea with Tea

Long Island Iced Tea with Tea

Yield: 2
Author: Cindy Jarvis
Prep time: 5 MinTotal time: 5 Min
Here is my recipe for long island iced tea with tea…





Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)


Sat. Fat (grams)


Carbs (grams)


Fiber (grams)


Net carbs


Sugar (grams)


Protein (grams)


Sodium (milligrams)


Cholesterol (grams)


Approx. nutritional values.

tipsy tea, cocktails, long island iced tea, iced tea, long island, black tea, english breakfast, blended black tea, tea recipes
Tea, Tipsy Tea, Cocktails, Cold Drinks
Tea, Tipsy Tea, Cocktails, Cold Drinks

This blog is for information purposes only. It is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any medical conditions. Always seek advice from your health care provider.

Please note that as an affiliate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases made through links in this blog. This is to cover the running costs of the blog and is at no additional cost to you.