What’s sweet yet tart and boozy yet so sippable and basically a must for summertime cocktails with friends?! It’s a Homemade Raspberry Long Island Iced Tea, of course.
This drink takes the cake when it comes to enjoying fruity, refreshing cocktails when the heat rises, although as you might know, long island iced teas are infamous for being boozy. Easy to drink, and easy to…well, go to your head. So drinkers be warned, this is one you want to sip slowly across an afternoon.
So you might know that LIITs (that’s the short of it) are boozy, but did you know that long island iced tea cocktails actually don’t have iced tea as an ingredient?!
I was this many years old when I first acquired this knowledge. And because I’m much more of a fan of iced tea than cola, and 10/10 it’s already in my fridge in the summer as opposed to the soda, I knew my fruity version of this drink was, in fact, going to have iced tea.
What is a Long Island Iced Tea?
I’m sure you’ve heard of it, if not have enjoyed it a time or two (maybe around those college years?!), but if you haven’t – or vaguely have – you might be intrigued by this almost misnamed cocktail.
So as mentioned, a Long Island Iced Tea does not actually have iced tea in it, but in fact, just has the same golden amber color that iced tea does. It’s a very alcohol-forward cocktail that is typically made with vodka, tequila, rum, gin, sour mix, triple sec, and cola.
Somehow all of these liquors mix together and end up in a bright, refreshing cocktail. Because of the high amount of alcohol and low amount of mixers, it’s typically much stronger of a drink than a typical highball cocktail. It has a reputation of being one of those drinks that’s dangerously delicious, and easy to drink, and before you know it you’ll be feeling it. So please drink responsibly, and sip slowly!
Variations of the Cocktail
There are many variations of a long island iced tea using different juices, fruit liquor, or whiskey in place of one of the liquors (or is simply added).
For example, a Texas Tea just adds whiskey, and a Tennesse Tea replaces the gin with whiskey and does not use tequila. Blue Curacao can often be found in a variation of the drink, too, for a fun blue beverage.
Looking to change this version up? Why not give strawberry syrup a try!
The Boozy Ingredients You’ll Need
With so many variations, it’s no surprise that you’ll be able to mix and match and find a whole lotta variation out there. While this raspberry version isn’t 100% an authentic LIIT (I mean, for starters, it’s a raspberry version!), it’s very similar.
Here’s what goes into this easy cocktail (without cola!):
- Raspberry Simple Syrup: make it ahead of time and you can make a long island iced tea whenever the craving strikes! This is where this drink gets both its raspberry flavor and its hint of sweetness.
- Vodka: any vodka you’d make a mixed drink with can be used.
- Rum: use a white or light rum.
- Gin: again, use a gin that you would enjoy in a mixed drink. Gin can be quite pine-forward, so keep this in mind and use a more neutral brand if you don’t love gin. Let’s be real though, they all kind of blend together anyway!
- Tequila: use silver or Blanco tequila in this drink for best results. We’re also using a little less tequila than the other liquors because otherwise, it can be overpowering in the cocktail.
- Fresh Lemon Juice: in place of sweet and sour mix, we’re using fresh lemon juice. I highly recommend squeezing your own from a lemon for the best flavor.
- Cointreau Orange Liqueur: or substitute triple sec; tested both with and without, the winner included this orange liqueur, however, it was a close decision. So in that case, feel free to omit it if needed.
- Black Iced Tea: refreshing, light, and perfect for summer, a splash of iced tea rounds out this cocktail.
Missing the fizz from the cola? Add in a little club soda at the end for some carbonation.
How to Make a Raspberry Long Island Iced Tea
Ah, this cocktail is really as simple as mixing together the ingredients. Because we’re using fresh lemon juice, a shaker helps to combine all the liquids and the shake with the ice helps to chill the cocktail while mellowing out all the booze just a touch. Shaking it makes sure the cocktail is consistent throughout each and every sip!
Add the liquors to a shaker filled with ice. Continue pouring in all of the ingredients except for the iced tea. Shake it up, noting that you don’t want to shake too vigorously or the ice may chip and water down your drink further.
Strain the drink into a glass filled with ice, top off with iced tea, give it a little stir with a straw, and start sipping!
Garnish with fresh mint leaves, lemon wedge, or fresh raspberries as desired.
What kind of glass should I use?
It’s best to serve a long island iced tea in a highball glass that is around 8 ounces. A tumbler glass like a Collins glass is tall and skinny, making it perfect for serving a long island because you can fill it with ice, and visually, the strong cocktail appears to have a lot of volume.
Whichever glass type you choose, it should be filled with ice and then topped off with the cocktail.
In this recipe, each long island has about 2 ounces of liquor. A typical cocktail has about 1.5 ounces of liquor, so it is stronger than what you might be used to drinking. So go slow, enjoy it, and watch your pace.
As written, this recipe makes two cocktails. Double the recipe and mix it in a large pitcher for 4 cocktails, or even triple it for a party.
With most cocktails, I recommend making them when it’s time to enjoy them, however, if you do want to make this one ahead of time you can, just be sure to strain the cocktail into a jar without ice and add it back when it’s time to serve.
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the form below. I appreciate your feedback, and it helps others, too!
Get the Recipe Raspberry Long Island Iced Tea
Raspberry Simple Syrup
- 4 ounces fresh raspberries, or frozen
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- Raspberry Simple Syrup: In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water, and raspberries. Heat over medium-high heat until simmering, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 5-7 minutes until the berries have disintegrated into seeds. Remove from heat and strain out the berries and seeds through a fine-mesh sieve into a jar; let cool as needed. See full syrup post for more details on this recipe. You will need 2 ounces of syrup per cocktail recipe for 2.
- Long Island: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add in all of the liquors, lemon juice, and 2 ounces of raspberry syrup. Cover and shake to combine.
- Fill two 8-ounce highballs or Collins glasses with ice. Strain the cocktail equally between the two glasses. Top each glass off with ¼ cup of black iced tea and gently stir. Garnish with fresh mint, raspberries, or a lemon wedge as desired. Enjoy slowly – remember, it's boozy!
- 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons
- The syrup recipe makes approximately 3/4 cups (12 tablespoons) of syrup. You will need 2 ounces for 2 cocktails as the recipe is written. Store the remaining syrup in an airtight container in the fridge or freeze it in individual portions.