Different Types of Long Island

If you haven’t done it yet, you should probably check out the first part to this article: The Long Island Iced Tea. It’s going to help you understand the basics of this drink before we start playing with different types of Long Island.

A graphic of the different types of  Long Island Iced teas: Adios Mother Fucker, Long beach Tea, Miami Beach Tea, Grateful Dead, Tokyo Tea, LA Water, Texas Tea, and Hawaiian Iced Tea
Conveniently shown here… Click for full size

What Can you Change to make a different type of Long Island?

Whenever you are playing with a drink and you want to make something new, you have to identify the key factors that make it what it is. In the Lemon Drop, that will be Vodka and Lemon Juice. In this case, the Long Island Iced tea is defined by the use of four different liquors. When someone talks about a Long Island, that’s what they always gravitate towards; “Wow man, this has so much liquor in it! It mixes all the big ones!”

What that leaves for interpretation then is the sweetener (Triple Sec) and the Soda (Coke). Since the Coke is really only there for coloring purposes, it should be no surprise that it can (and should) be omitted in order to let other colors stand out more. Changing the Triple Sec out for other liqueurs then, will be the most effective way of creating different types of Long Island.

The many different Long Islands

The Adios Mother Fucker

That’s right, I put the whole word in there. Not AMF, not Adios M***** F*****. We are adults. We are drinking alcohol and visiting alcohol websites. Why are we not mature enough to use the whole word???

That aside, I personally think of this as being the top dog, quintessential Long Island Variation. In this particular drink, you will swap out the Triple Sec for Blue Curacao, which is literally just a dyed blue version of Triple Sec. It also comes in green which is fun for St.Pattys Day. Instead of Coke, you will use Sprite (or lemon-lime soda if we are being weirdly generic *coughotherblogpostsaboutthissubjectcough*) You’ll notice a lot of that particular swap, since topping with sprite is basically the bandaid of cocktails.

The result is a shockingly vibrant, electric blue drink that captures the attention of anyone walking in and wondering what to drink. It’s also great if you’re one of those bars that puts a little flashing light in the cup with the ice to make the drink seem like a party.

The Long Beach Tea

What I really love about this one is that it’s the only common Long Island alternative that actually still has “long” in it for some reason. You could have said “The Beach Tea” and still been in keeping, and clearly a part of the family, but no. This beach had better be long.

In this cocktail, you will keep the Triple Sec as is, and instead substitute Cranberry for the Coke topper. Considering that Coke is rather flavorful and was still only a part of this cocktail for the color, it should come as no surprise that the Cranberry ‘Juice’ does not have significant impact on the drink itself. It will be ever so slightly more tart than a Long Island, and it will be pinkish red, which is probably the biggest selling point… other than for yeast infections I suppose.

Don’t forget to take it to the next step with the Miami Beach Tea, which includes 1/2 oz of Peach liqueur as well as the Cranberry, for that extra beach-y feeling.

The Grateful Dead

This is actually my favorite (to drink) of all of the different types of Long Island. I’m a total sucker for raspberries and blackberries so that’s usually going to win my vote.

In order to create a Grateful Dead cocktail, you substitute the Triple Sec for Raspberry Liqueur. Typically that would be Chambord, but seeing as how it’s not exactly a top shelf cocktail, most places will use a more generic raspberry flavored liqueur, possibly from DeKuyper. Personally, I don’t think you will notice a big difference between the two in this cocktail, but the Chambord bottle is way cooler. Also, as stated above, you will substitute the coke for sprite, seeing as how this is a colored liqueur addition and you want to show that off a bit.

Tokyo Tea

Another of the “Greats” among different types of Long island, the Tokyo Tea has its origins neither in Tokyo, nor tea. In fact, I’m not sure why they would call it that other than the vague idea that this drink is green, and green tea is consumed most commonly in Asian countries.

Once again, swap out the Coke for Sprite and add the bright green Midori Melon Liqueur instead of triple sec. This will give you an eye popping, fruity green drink that inebriated customers die for.

LA Water

Admittedly, when I first heard this drink, I was absolutely disgusted. That hasn’t changed. I remain kind of grossed out, both by the name and the construction of the drink. Since I have several friends that enjoy this drink, I will hold off on calling it a total trash can of a cocktail, but only because that is the literal name of another drink.

The LA Water is a combination of the AMF and the Grateful Dead, in which you add both the Blue Curacao and the Raspberry Liqueur. In theory, you balance these two so the drink is not too sweet and has a delightful purple hue. In practice (and in my opinion, as implied by the name) what you usually get is a double dose of sugary liqueurs and and a brownish color that leans slightly more blue or slightly more red depending on which one your bartender over poured.

As a caveat to the above paragraph, in my ‘research’ on this topic I have found that many (including a certain slightly inebriated bartender that makes sugary drinks in 30 second increments online) also include Midori in their LA Waters as well, in order to give the drink the sickly green color of polluted bodies of water that we all love to make light of. While I question the validity of anyone needing inspiration from nature to create and name this particular drink, it makes perfect sense to me that this would be where the name came from. On the other hand, I’ve seen it ordered at many a bar and it has never once come with melon liqueur. Alas, since it is not an official cocktail in any sense, we will have to struggle on making it as you see fit.

The Texas Tea

In a wild twist, in this iteration of the Long Island, instead of substituting the liqueur, you merely add more real alcohol: Whiskey. With another equal serving of Bourbon, the classic Long Island is completely transformed into a new, exciting…. well, it tastes the same. Completely the same. But now there is whiskey so that’s pretty cool.

The Hawaiian Iced Tea

Can you guess? I’ll give you a hint, it’s the same thing that makes pizza Hawaiian too… PINEAPPLES! That’s right, if you are looking for that extra punch of vitamins in your carefully balanced diet, or just drinking lots of pineapple juice conspicuously in front of your girlfriend*, hoping she gets the hint, THIS IS THE DRINK FOR YOU!

*the juice used in your local bar has little to no vitamin content or similarity to what you would actually consider juice. There is also not enough in this drink to make your girlfriend enjoy your own juice, even if it were real pineapple juice. This has been a public health announcement.

The Icing on the Cake… The Trash Can

Finally, now that you have accustomed yourself to these many intricacies, there is one final way that you can take your Long Island variation to the next level (up or down is yet to be determined). Add Red Bull. And no, you can’t just top with Red Bull or pour it in… to make a true “trash can” style LIIT, you must flip the can over inside the drink, so that as you drink from the straw, your beverage is continuously replenished by the energy drink on top. If you haven’t gotten properly wrecked by this point in the evening, this is sure to finish the job.

Technically speaking, the best way to accomplish this feat is to leave 2-3 inches between the top of the liquid in the glass and the top of the glass itself. It also works best with wider mouth glasses or cups, like ‘fish bowls’ employed in many bars for this whole purpose. You will then crack open your energy drink and VERY QUICKLY flip it over and right into the drink itself. You must be fast about this, otherwise you risk pouring out too much of the energy drink and not leaving enough room in the glass for the can to rest in. The ice in the glass should provide plenty of support for the can.

Screw It, Make your Own Different Types of Long Island

If this list feels small or limited, don’t let it get you down. You have the formula, and you can see the patterns here. Next time you are in your local liquor store, check out their liqueurs, cordials, and schnapps. If you see one that looks good, give it a shot! Fruity liqueurs are a go-to but if you want something a little more herbal or aromatic, try it out. I know I wouldn’t be opposed to trying an Amaretto, Elder-flower, or Chartreuse based Long Island.

Published by Spirit Sirens

Head Mixologist and Class Coordinator at Lucidi Distilling Co. in Old Town Peoria, Arizona. In my free time I eat good foods, drink good drinks and make mead with my brother. Soon to be on YouTube with Lucidi Distilling Co. making drinks and talking history and under Spirit Sirens, where myself and my partner Mariah talk about women in the alcohol industry and our experiences!

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