Long Island Iced Tea: The Oak Beach Inn Tradition

Single on Valentine’s Day? That’s nothing some Long Island Iced Tea can’t fix.

The Oak Beach Inn, scene of the Long Island Iced Tea crime. • Photo by Daniel Goodrich (August 15, 1980)

The rowdy Oak Beach Inn on Fire Island, opposite Babylon, has been gone since 2003, but the OBI legend lives on in the tall mixed concoction bartender Bob “Rosebud” Butt assembled for a contest in 1972. The one stipulated ingredient was Triple Sec. Bob won the contest. He called his winner the “Long Island Iced Tea” — for no reason other than the fact that it had the color and taste of that innocuous English beverage.

His version, however, was anything but harmless, loaded with five different liquors. Bob wasn’t surprised when his innocent-looking “tea” took off like a rocket. The rowdy OBI had that kind of effect on its braggart merrymakers. When you arrived by ferry expecting to have a gay old time, that’s what you got. If you didn’t make the last boat back to the mainland, you made your bed in the sand, on someone’s deck, or in the bottom of a Boston Whaler. Long Island Iced Tea doesn’t just pack a punch; it has the sudden impetus of a steamroller.

You don’t drink a Long Island Iced Tea to cool off. Depending on your ability to handle alcohol, a couple of these could have the opposite effect — probably not what you want to order on a first date or if you’re driving. Here’s the recipe. Long live the legend!

The Legendary Long Island Iced Tea

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ice cubes
  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part gin
  • 1 part white rum
  • 1 part tequila
  • 1/2 part Triple Sec
  • 1/2 part sour mix
  • Splash of Coke
  • Lemon wedges for garnish

Directions:

  1. Mix!
  2. Drink!

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Joan Bernstein lives in Manorville on land that has belonged to her family for over 100 years, but she grew up on the water in Center Moriches. As a youngster, clamming, crabbing off the dock, snapper fishing and power boating kept her busy when she didn't have her nose in a book. She has bred pedigree Tonkinese cats for the past 40 years. "Eat locally" is her byword whether she's at home or in Russia.