Mock Long Island Iced Tea

Long Island iced tea is a late 20th century classic, known for its super high alcohol content without the flavor of alcohol. Yes, this can be a recipe for disaster! 

long island iced tea mocktail

The original cocktail, which has since become Long Island’s most most ubiquitous namesake, was conceived by a bartender named Robert “Rosebud” Butt at the Oak Beach Inn of Hampton Bays, Long Island, N.Y. He threw together his restaurant’s four biggest-selling liquors (vodka, rum, gin, tequila), and then added orange liqueur and a splash of Coca Cola to help mellow the stiff drink. Curiously, the result tasted a lot like a curiously sweetened iced tea, even though it contained no tea whatsoever. Since this was one of the most requested cocktails during my undergrad/bar hostess years, probably because of the “bang for your buck” aspect sought out by college-age drinkers, I pondered how it could taste so smooth and not like alcohol. I know now, after years of developing blended botanical teas, that it’s all in the mix. When certain ingredients are combined, they can totally cancel out each other’s flavor. Think about the juniper of the gin working against the agave of the tequila and the molasses of the rum… with good old neutral, odorless, tasteless vodka, then sweetened with orange and finished off with the secret formula of coke. Sounds downright cringe-worthy, right?

So now that we’re brewing up all kinds of fun new “teatails” using our Craft Cold Brew Filter, I was determined to make an actual tea version of this crazy drink. Those who were imbibing in Long Island Iced Teas in the 80’s might now appreciate a nostalgic zero-proof version… for my tastebuds, this one is pretty close to exactly what I wanted it to be, and I hope you love it too!  It has a hefty black tea base, spiced and sweetened ginger and by tequila’s botanical, agave. The apple cider vinegar, mint and fresh lime provide a bit of the alcohol bitters and a range of complexity, and the lemon and orange provide the triple-sec sweet and sour note. 

Yield: Four 8-oz servings 

long island iced tea mocktail


2 TBS Black loose leaf tea

1 TBS Ginger tea loose leaf

1/3 cup (3 oz) amber (dark) agave

2 tsp lemon juice

2 TBS (1 oz) orange juice

1 small lime (or 1/2 large lime) sliced thin

2 TBS (1 oz) fresh mint leaves (about 4 leaves)

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 12-oz can Coca Cola (you will use 8-12 oz)

Optional garnish: mint leaves or lemon slices



32 oz wide-mouth Mason jar

Craft Cold Brew Filter



Place first 2 ingredients (black tea and ginger tea) in 32 oz mason jar. 

Add 8 oz (1 cup) water at boiling point. Do not cover or handle the hot jar! 

Wait 5 minutes, then add 16 oz freshly drawn cold water from the tap. 

Add agave, lemon and orange juices, and lime slices. Tear and rub mint leaves in the palms of your hands, and add to mason jar. Then add apple cider vinegar and stir everything together gently. Top off with cold water, if needed. 

Screw on Craft Cold Brew Filter and place in refrigerator.

Allow to cold brew for at least two hours, and until very well chilled.

Your Mock Long Island Iced Tea is now ready to be served, or kept in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it. 

To serve: Fill 4 tall drink glasses with ice. 

For each glass: Divide what you have in the pitcher between the 4 glasses evenly. This will come out to about 6 oz per glass. Place a good slash of cola (about 2 oz) into each glass. Stir gently with a swizzle stick. Add mint leaves and/or a slice of lemon as garnish, if desired.

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