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Long Beach Iced Tea Cocktail - West Of The Island With Cranberry

Long Beach Iced Tea cocktail with lemon cherry sail garnish.

What’s In A Long Beach Iced Tea If There’s No Tea?

East meets West in the Long Beach Iced Tea cocktail. Its a twist on the infamous Long Island Iced Tea which substitutes cranberry juice for cola in the drink recipe that also contains four types of liquor and a liqueur. Whew!


When it comes to the history of the Long Beach Iced Tea, the question is how far west? California or New York. Does a continent or a stretch of island separate the original 1970s cocktail invention and this newer variation?

Long Beach, NY on the Atlantic coast is just a few miles west of the former Oak Beach Inn, home to the Long Island Iced Tea, and some say this is the namesake for this drink. However, many believe you need to travel cross country to the Pacific coast and credit Long Beach, CA* for this cocktail.

Don’t be moved in one direction or the other simply by California’s health and lifestyle reputation though. A splash of cranberry juice in this drink doesn’t mean its healthy any more than cherries in a pie does for that dessert.

How To Make A Long Beach Iced Tea

Regardless of what history sorts out as the origins of the Long Beach Iced Tea, everyone agrees on the basic recipe. Like its Long Island cocktail cousin, its a very stiff drink that doesn’t taste like one. So easy does it.

Long Beach Iced Tea Cocktail Drink:

  • 1/2 oz  vodka
  • 1/2 oz  light rum
  • 1/2 oz  tequila
  • 1/2 oz  gin
  • 1/2 oz  triple sec
  • 3/4 oz  sweet and sour mix
  • 1 splash  cranberry juice
  • lemon wedge for garnish

Add the vodka, rum, tequila, gin, orange liqueur and sour mix into a tall Collins glass with ice cubes. Stir with a long bar spoon. Top off with cranberry juice. A lemon wedge sometimes skewered with a cherry is the traditional garnish. Shown with a sail (slice of lemon folded around a maraschino cherry on a toothpick mast) for a little nautical flair themed for the coasts.

California Adds More Twists To The Drink

California Iced Tea(s) are west coast versions of the original east coast Long Island recipe. One adds 1/2 ounce of orange juice for the cranberry and tops off with a splash of lemon-lime soda to complete the twist. Another substitutes Amaretto almond liqueur instead of tequila & triple sec and then tops the drink with equal parts cranberry and pineapple juices.

These are just a couple of the many different ways to prepare this drink style. See the main Long Island page for a list of some of the other iced tea cocktail variations.

A Tea & Tonic or an Arnold Palmer mocktail will add similar (actual) flavors to your home bar’s drink menu without the potent punch. Cheers!


* - Long Beach, CA is near San Pedro and just south of Manhattan Beach in Los Angeles county, where surfer Tom Harvey (rumored inspiration behind the Harvey Wallbanger cocktail) liked to surf the waves.

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