Patio season is almost upon us, and that means it’s time to get ready for summer cocktails! While cocktails are in fact delicious, there are some to look out for if you’re working on your gut health. For example, let’s talk about the Long Island Iced Tea.
You probably already know that this drink does not traditionally contain tea. A Long Island Iced Tea is made with 5 liquors and sugary cola. If you buy premade long island iced tea, there is usually extra sugar added, too.
This boozy concoction is extremely popular. It’s easy to drink despite being mostly alcohol and tastes great. If you ask someone when the last time they had a premade Long Island iced tea was, they likely don’t remember. That’s the point of the drink, right?
When you drink alcohol, it’s terrible for your gut health. It causes bloating and other issues that are never fun the next day. While you won’t be able to rid yourself of the hangover entirely, eliminating options with high sugar can help.
So, if you’re a fan of getting boozy on the weekends, or whenever, long islands may be your go-to. Let’s go over some facts about the drink, and how you can make an alternative premade long island iced tea that can help with unpleasant alcohol side effects.
What is a Long Island Iced Tea?
To start, a Long Island Iced Tea is NOT tea. The drink gets its name because when it’s all mixed together it looks like iced tea. This can be deceiving, and dangerous when you’re tempted to chug 8 of them on a night out because they’re so good. A traditional LIIT includes:
- Triple Sec
- Simple Syrup
Don’t be fooled by that color, this drink packs an insane punch. A traditional long island iced tea is going to have an alcohol concentration of around 22%. Somehow, this concoction of several liquors is very easy to drink. Paired with a decent special on price and you’re in for a rough morning the next day.
In theory, a cup full of 5 different liquors should not taste good. But, with the combination of lemon, cola, and triple sec you get a delicious drink. Triple sec is an orange-flavored liqueur that ties the drink together.
Another thing to consider before drinking a Long Island Iced Tea is the amount of sugar and calories you’ll be ingesting. An average 8oz Long Island can have around 275 calories and 33 grams of sugar. So, if you’re looking to avoid high sugar drinks, it may be best to stay away from the long island. Premade Long Island Iced Teas can be just as bad if not worse since they are typically made with added sugar and sometimes preservatives.
History of the Long Island Iced Tea
So, how did this drink that’s almost all alcohol get its start? There are actually several origin stories and the topic continues to be a debate. Next time you’re sipping a premade Long Island Iced Tea, you can spout off some trivia to your friends.
Long Island, Tennesee
Our first origin story begins in Tennessee. In the community of Long Island inside Kingsport Tennessee, prohibition was not getting in the way for one mixologist. The drink was called the “Old Man Bishop” after its creator, surprisingly named, Old Man Bishop.
The drink consisted of rum, vodka, whiskey, gin, tequila, and maple syrup. It makes sense that during a time when alcohol was hard to come by that you’d want your drink to pack a huge punch. It’s said that Old Man Bishop’s son, Ransom Bishop refined the drink turning it into the Long Island we know today. This story is not totally confirmed, but it’s a fun piece of trivia.
Long Island, New York
When most people think of a Long Island, their first thought is New York, not Tennessee. This story centers around a bartender named Robert “Rosebud” Butt. No matter which story you tell about Long Island Iced Tea, you’re going to find some cool names.
Butt claims to have invented the drink as a contest entry in 1972. He even had a website stating that he did in fact create the drink but admits there may have been similar cocktails before it. The website doesn’t appear to exist anymore, but an article on Thrillist has his statement:
“The world-famous Long Island Iced Tea was first invented in 1972 by me, Robert Butt, while I was tending bar at the infamous Oak Beach Inn. I participated in a cocktail-creating contest. Triple Sec had to be included, and the bottles started flying. My concoction was an immediate hit and quickly became the house drink at the Oak Beach Inn. By the mid-1970s, every bar on Long Island was serving up this innocent-looking cocktail, and by the 1980s it was known the world over.”
In an interview with PBS, it’s mentioned that Butt even drove around in a car with the license plate, “LI ICE TEA.” You can watch an interview with Robert “Rosebud” Butt here.
While the two prior stories give verbal credit to inventors of the drink, the first time it was seen printed in a book was in 1961. This was in Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cookbook and there is still a listing on the website for the cocktail recipe today. Butt never acknowledged this, even though it was published before he gives himself the credit.
A recipe for a Long Island Iced Tea was also published in 1966 in The American All-Purpose Cookbook by Virginia T. Habeeb.
The next time you’re sipping on cocktails with your friends, bring all of this up. There is much debate on the subject and can be a fun party conversation.
Premade Long Island Iced Tea
If you don’t feel like spending the money at the bar every time you want to suck a LIIT down, there are several premade long island iced teas on the market. The problem is these drinks are packed with sugar and can cause a boatload of bloating and other problems in the morning.
One of the most popular premade Long Island Iced Teas is from the Captain Morgan brand. With high sugar content and lots of ingredients, if you are wanting a healthier alternative, you can make your own premade long island iced tea to have on hand for when the urge for happy hour strikes.
To make a premade Long Island Iced Tea batch with less sugar, we recommend using actual tea. That way, you can remove simple syrup and cola. It may taste different, but you might like it better!
Premade Long Island Iced Tea with Real Tea
First, you’ll need your ingredients. For the tea, we suggest Half Day’s Lemon Black Tea. You’ll get the sweet flavor with less sugar, and with added fiber and prebiotics. Not that this will totally eliminate the hangover in the morning but your gut will thank you.
- 1//2 cup tequila
- ½ cup white rum
- ½ cup gin
- ½ cup triple sec
- ¾ cup lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups iced tea of your choice
- Lemons for garnish
Mix all ingredients except the tea in a bowl until chilled
Strain the boozy mixture into a pitcher, then add the tea
Pour over ice, serve, and enjoy! Cut up lemon wedges to use as garnish
Making a pitcher of premade Long Island Iced Tea will save you time. It’s an easy party drink that’s a total crowd-pleaser, too. Replacing the cola will remove the carbonation, and if you feel you’re missing that you can add soda water for some bubbles. Keep in mind that carbonation can irritate your gut even when it’s not in a sugary soda.
To sum it up, premade Long Island Iced teas can be a lifesaver at parties. It’s best to avoid store-bought options that are full of sugar and other things. The history of Long Island is also an interesting party topic, so you can bust out your newfound trivia as you serve guests delicious drinks.
Try replacing the cola and simple syrup with real tea to lower the amount of sugar you’re consuming. With a Long Island, you’re already getting a lot of calories from the 5 liquors in there. Any little bit helps when it comes to taking care of your gut!