The origin of the original Long Island Iced Tea has been a topic of debate for years, but Robert “Rosebud” Butt claims to have invented the famous lights out drink while working as a bartender in the early 70s.
Butt allegedly invented the Long Island Iced Tea in 1972, after he entered the drink into a contest to create a new mixed drink while he worked at the Oak Beach Inn on Long Island, NY.
A Northern Beach Goers Gem Or a Novelty of the Prohibition-era South?
However, a slightly different drink was created in the 1920s by Charlie “Old Man Bishop” in Long Island Kingsport, TN. The drink was later perfected by his son which had a different twist than the drink Butt concocted. The Prohibition-era drink included whiskey, maple syrup, and varied quantities of the five liquors instead of the present day mix with equal portions of liquor and a splash of cola.
According to the International Bartenders Association, the ingredients of a Long Island Iced Tea includes Tequila, Vodka, White rum, Triple sec, Gin, Lemon juice, Gomme Syrup, and one dash of Cola. Butt’s concoction most resembles this with an equal part of vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec, a little bit of sour mix and a splash of cola. So who really invented this iconic, hangover producing cocktail?
“My concoction was an immediate hit and quickly became the house drink at the Oak Beach Inn,” Butt says. “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.”
As many of us know, the Long Island Iced Tea is anything but innocent. The drink has been glamorized as a party favorite in shows like Sex and the City to which Carrie Bradshaw and her friends aren’t even immune to it’s crumbling effects the day after the last sip.
With its complicated past, perhaps the specific origins of the famed Long Island Iced Tea will remain a mystery for years to come. No matter what the origin, this tasty drink reminds many of sunshine days on the beach, wasted nights of college and everything in between. Cheers to getting shitty.
Comment below and let Long Island Grub know what you think about this drinks iconic past.
Hey, y’all. We aren’t Southern, but our Peach Iced Tea sure makes us feel that way. Juicy and perfectly sweet (Mawmaw would approve), it’s refreshing enough for the dog days of summer and delicious enough for the whole gosh darn year. We think it tastes mighty fine with a buttery biscuit and spicy fried chicken. Ingredients: Brewed Black Tea using filtered water, Cane Sugar, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid.