…from the California Happy Hour Bar
How you doin’? Flip and Crash were two of my star bartenders at Tommy’s in Tiburon, California. They both started out as bussers, became servers, then bartenders and finally they managed a couple of our restaurants... great co-workers. They were the two who introduced all of Strawberry Hill to Long Island Iced Tea. This drink was popularized in the 1970s and is still enjoyed today.
Although it may have been rediscovered in mid-century America, some think Long Island Iced Tea was born out of Prohibition, when thirsty boozers wanted to disguise their cocktails. It’s also possible the drink sprung up in the ’70s at a bar in Long Island, or maybe at a TGI Friday’s. This much is known for sure: You still can’t throw a lemon wedge inside a chain restaurant without knocking one over.
Because of its light and refreshing iced tea flavor it was thought to be a “girl’s” cocktail, but don’t let that easy going flavor fool you into thinking that it is light on the booze—it isn’t… and more than one of these drinks can knock you on your butt. There are four different spirits—a cacophony of flavors—all mixed up in a single glass, along with triple sec, lemon juice and Coca-Cola and somehow it tastes just like an iced tea! The recipe looks more like a bartender spill mat (more on that later) with all the drips and spills on a busy night at the bar, but somehow it works.
A Long Island Iced Tea may be considered a bit crass with nearly four ounces of alcohol and less than half that amount in mixers. Unless you’re a sailor on shore leave (and, probably, even if you 're not), that’s a red-flag ratio loaded with morning-after consequences. It’s also precisely what a person needs every now and then. So, throw caution to the wind and just enjoy it, but remember it tastes just like iced tea, goes down easy and gives a quick easy buzz followed by a killer hangover if too many are “enjoyed”. Take two aspirins and don’t call me in the morning.
3/4 ounce vodka
3/4 ounce white rum
3/4 ounce silver tequila
3/4 ounce gin
3/4 ounce triple sec
3/4 ounce simple syrup
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ounces Coca-Cola to top
Garnish: lemon wedge or slice
ChefSecret: The restaurant business is not a dollar business (unless you count losing money by dollars); it is a nickel, dime and penny business. Every dime saved goes right to the bottom line. When pouring drinks at a professional bar, you pour the liquor over a bar mat. At the end of the night you might have collected as much as four or five ounces of different liquors. What’s a prudent bartender to do to manage liquor costs? Auction it off at the end of the night, of course! Cheers!
Quip of the Day: “Sad story about the Native American that drank 37 glasses of iced tea. The next morning they found him dead... face down in his tea pee.”
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