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The Driverís Seat Long Island Iced Tea

Originally Posted: September 23, 2009

Douglas MacKaye Harrington

The Driver's Seat Mixologist Tom Alexander preparing a Long Island Iced Tea. Photos by Douglas Harrington

Southampton - Long Island is famous for many things - Long Island potatoes, Long Island ducks and Long Island clams. Although the Long Island wine industry had already been harvesting grapes for over a decade at the time, its alcohol related international fame first came in the form of a cocktail, the Long Island Iced Tea.

This highly potent concoction was created in the late 1970s by bartender Robert "Rosebud" Butt at the popular and infamous Oak Beach Inn in Babylon, NY on the bay near Jones Beach. Why Rosebud thought that combining five liquors together would turn out to taste like Iced Tea is anyone's guess, but he succeeded and to this day you can order this drink anywhere from Hong Kong to Hoboken and Moscow to Mozambique.

The word around town is that bartender Tom Alexander makes one of the best Long Island Iced Teas on the East End. Not hard to believe since this mixologist has been serving up cocktails at The Driver's Seat in Southampton for 30 years. This legendary restaurant and bar is a year-round favorite of locals and visitors alike and Alexander has literally made thousands of these famous Long Island cocktails, so who better to ask to explain the recipe?

"It is actually a relatively easy drink to make despite the fact that it contains five different white liquors: vodka, gin, rum, tequila and triple sec. Fill a shaker glass with ice and add one ounce of each of the liquors, which will make a pretty potent cocktail at home. Then add the juice of two lemons, maybe two ounces of sour mix if you don't want to squeeze, and a good splash of Coca-Cola. A quick shake and pour into a tall hi-ball or Collins glass and garnish with a slice of lemon."

Smooth but potent, the Long Island Iced Tea.

Like all great mixologists, Alexander is a true professional and takes great pride in his work and the responsibility that comes with it, "This may taste like an Iced Tea, but it is a strong cocktail and your readers should pace themselves. Two of these are like four drinks on the rocks, no driving!" These are words to the wise from a very wise and responsible professional.


 • 1 oz. Vodka
 • 1 oz. Gin
 • 1 oz. Rum
 • 1 oz. Tequila
 • 1 oz. Triple Sec
 • The juice of two lemons or 2 oz. of sour mix
 • A generous splash of Coca-Cola
 • A slice of lemon garnish

Frequently mistaken for the "Most Interesting Man in the World" from the Dos Equis commercials and the iconic gray-bearded Sean Connery, DMH is the Senior Contributing Editor at Hamptons.com. www.hamptons.com Hamptons HamptonsOnline HamptonsOnline

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