The Long Beach Tea is one of the many variations of the iconic Long Island Iced Tea. What makes it worthy of the "Long Beach" name? Cranberry juice, of course. It is the key ingredient and distinguishes this drink from all of the other “Iced Teas."
The recipe for a Long Beach Tea is incredibly simple, even if the ingredient list is a little longer than normal. It requires five partial shots of liquor, a healthy dose of sour mix, and is topped off with cranberry juice. From there, it's just a matter of stirring and sitting back to enjoy your creation.
This may be one of the tastiest options in the "Tea" family of drinks. The juice gives it a nice sweetness that plays off all those spirits to create a rather refreshing beverage. It's also a perfect candidate to be mixed up ahead of time. Mix up a pitcher for a barbecue or pour it into a thermos for an ice-cold cocktail to enjoy while tailgating or a day at the beach.
No matter where you enjoy it, it's a fun drink and it really is not as strong as you may think.
Memorizing the Long Beach Tea Ingredients
All of the Long Island drinks are easy to remember. Just keep in mind that each requires five white spirits. Then, you add a sour and that one ingredient that defines the location indicated in the name.
For Long Beach, it's helpful to associate the place and the juice with "healthy." It's a simple memory trick that can help you keep it straight with the others.
More Tips for Making a Great Long Beach Tea
The Liquors. Let's be honest: save your good booze for another drink. There's so much going on in the Long Beach Tea that there's really no need to pour your best spirits into it unless you want to. Bartenders typically make these "Teas" with liquor from the well and it's a perfect way for you to save money in your home bar as well.
The Sour Mix. This is one of those mixers that you can either buy or DIY. Making it yourself will also save money and takes maybe twenty minutes of your time. A single batch of the citrus-flavored syrup can handle more than a few rounds of Long Beach Teas and leave you with more to store for other drinks.
The Cranberry Juice. With most of these "Tea" recipes, the last ingredient poured fills the glass. You might find yourself adding more than 1 ounce of cranberry and that will just sweeten the drink and dilute the alcohol a bit more. Yet, if you're using a really big glass, there's no need to fill it.
Many of the tall glasses we use in our kitchens hold far more than the standard highball or collins glasses in bars. Just because you can fill it to the rim doesn't mean you have to. Think of the drink's flavor balance over its volume and you'll enjoy your homemade cocktails just a little more.
Measure the Booze. As you'll see, the Long Beach Tea does not have to be a really strong drink. The key to keeping it light so you don't fall down drunk after the first round is to measure the liquor.
Overpouring is the biggest problem with these cocktails. It not only ramps up the amount of alcohol you're drinking, it can also "burn" the drink's flavor. They really do taste better if you try to keep the liquor in check.
How Strong is the Long Beach Tea?
A lot of liquor goes into this drink, but you will notice that it only adds up to 2 1/2 ounces in a 5 1/2 ounce drink. Sure that's the majority of the drink, yet when we do the math we find that the Long Beach Tea is not the strongest drink in the bar.
When made with 80-proof brands of the first four liquors and a 60-proof triple sec, the Long Beach Tea is a surprisingly mild 17 percent ABV (36 proof). To put this into perspective, the strongest wines are about 14 percent ABV and the Martini is a hefty 31 percent ABV. This drink is just a little stronger than popular highballs like the Moscow Mule.