The Long Island Iced Tea -- Two Ways


1/2 ounce white rum

1/2 ounce white tequila

1/2 ounce vodka

1/2 ounce gin

1/2 ounce triple sec

1 ounce sour mix


That's right. We're making a Long Island Iced Tea. And not just because the play, The Reagan Years, takes place in a home on Long Island. And not just because I had my first Long Island Iced Tea some time during Ronald Reagan's first term as president.

We're making this stupid drink because playwright Dominic Orlando isn't fucking around and this cocktail isn't fucking around either. It's a lot of booze. In my bartending days, it was mostly ordered by young men for their dates in order to get their dates as drunk as possible as quickly as possible. That was a classy time. And then Ronald Reagan won the Cold War and nothing bad ever happened again.

Mix the liquors and sour mix in a tall glass filled with ice. Add a few splashes of cola and stir until it looks sort of like iced tea. Put on a polo shirt, pretend AIDS doesn't exist, and enjoy.

I'm sure you'll agree that this cocktail is an excellent fit for the Reagan years - it's dumb, all white (notice that liquors-of-color are not welcome here), expensive, vaguely dangerous, strangely lacking in taste, and leaves you feeling a little sick.

But the play, The Reagan Years, deserves better.

A lot of smart, talented people have put together a thoughtful, funny, disturbing and entertaining evening of theater. They should get a nicer drink.*

#2 -- Long Island Iced Tea, Improved

Earl Grey tea

4 teaspoons sugar

1.5 ounces rye whiskey

2 tablespoons lemon juice, more or less depending on taste

Lemon slice for garnish

This is very simple, but you need to plan ahead a little. Like you're invading Granada. Start by making a pint of strong tea. (You're making enough tea for two drinks.) I suggest Earl Grey, a black tea flavored with citrus.

Use three or four tea bags and let it steep for a good five minutes. Stir in the sugar and let it cool to room temperature. Pour half the tea (one cup) into an empty ice cube tray. You should get about eight cubes. Freeze. Chill the remaining tea. Watch Rocky IV. Now you're ready to assemble the cocktail.

Put half the iced tea cubes in a nice glass. Add half a cup of the chilled tea, all the rye and lemon juice and stir. Garnish with a lemon slice. There you have it. Sip this on a warm afternoon while considering if it was in 1988 that America went off the rails. 

*Editor's Note: The editor actually belongs to the theater company that produced this play. However, we don't believe that fact unduly influenced the author since the author has only ever nominally listened to the editor anyway.