Long island Iced Tea

I think it's a strange time of year to be making a Long Island Iced Tea, but that's the recipe my cocktail a day calendar featured a few days ago. Tonight I set out to make the first one I've ever made, and the first one I've drunk in longer than I can remember - at least 10 years.

Many moons ago, like 20, I got very smashed on LIITs one summer Sunday afternoon, so I remembered that they're more lethal than they taste.

According to Wikipedia, the LIIT is a fairly recent concoction, invented in the late 1970s by a bartender in the town of Babylon, Long Island. I might have guessed a bar called Babylon on Fire Island, but OK, I'm sure Ina Garten has given it her seal of approval and had her hubby or one of her entourage of male friends drive her back to the manse. (BC is about my favorite Food Network chef. Head and shoulders above a certain very loud demi-grand dame from several hundred miles down the coast.)

LIITs are pretty simple to make. The basic recipe is equal parts vodka (I used Absolut), gin (Calvert's), tequila (reposado), white rum (10 Cane), triple sec or cointreau, and lemon juice, topped with Coke. My calendar makes a couple tweaks in this recipe. In addition to the triple sec or cointreau, she calls for another equal part orange juice, and instead of lemon juice, lime juice, with a lemon wedge squeezed in at the last minute. I made a further adjustment and replaced the cointreau with Licor 43, hoping to give it a bit of a vanilla Coke flavor.

OK, so I did all that. And I took about 4 sips and said, this isn't a LIIT like I remember it. Of course, I probably don't remember nos. 2 through however many very clearly. In this one, I could taste the OJ through the Coke. And I couldn't taste any vanilla (but Wikipedia says the Coke is just for color anyway).

Now, I may not remember what those summer afternoon LIITs tasted like, but I'm pretty sure I didn't taste OJ in them. I think my calendar author grew up suckling mimoas or screwdrivers, but I'm over her citrus fixation. I like citrus, but not a Neely Family kitchen container full of limes and lemons (and they use those up fast enough to keep them fresh between making out on the kitchen island? sure)

So I dumped it out and tried again. This time I used the recipe on Internet Cocktail Database. I skipped the OJ, still used my Licor 43 instead of their triple sec, added their 3/4 oz simple syrup, but skipped their ounce of lemon juice and just squeezed in a wedge at the end.

This one started out very sweet, but I think I didn't stir it up enough. I was about to give up on it too but kept drinking, and it got better. (No kidding.) If I made it again I'd add at least some lemon juice, and maybe skip the simple syrup. Even if I used triple sec instead of the Licor 43, that would be plenty sweet, and Coke is awfully sweet anymore. (You don't think I'm making these with the Diet stuff, I hope.)

Maybe in 10 years or so I'll make another one. Or have an expert mixologist make me one and show me how it's done.