Turn A Long Island Iced Tea Into A Texas Tea With Just A Shot Of Bourbon

If you've ever spent time in the South, you'll know just how synonymous summer is with sweet iced tea. The name alone conjures images of sweltering afternoons by the pool and evenings watching the sunset on a porch while a summer breeze comes to welcome the night (and the June bugs). However, as the days get longer, life sometimes calls for a boozy twist to classic drinks. After all, few cocktails are as refreshing in the summer heat as an icy cold Long Island Iced Tea. Or, for the daring connoisseurs among us, something even bolder: a Texas Tea. (Neither one contains any tea, by the way, though that doesn't make them any less refreshing).

With just one shot of bourbon added to your classic Long Island Iced Tea recipe, you, too, can join this hallowed tradition in unleashing the potent flavor combination of multiple liquors, sweet, lingering citrus, and smooth and smoky whiskey. That's literally all it takes.

Just remember: Everything's bigger in Texas, including the flavors in this unique spin on a classic cocktail. So throw off your sunhat and get ready to whip up (and maybe get a bit tipsy off) a very mouth-watering Texas Tea.

Bourbon adds a Southern twist

The Long Island Iced Tea is a classic cocktail with somewhat bizarre origins potentially dating back to the Prohibition-era South. The city of Kingsport, Tennessee claims the cocktail was invented on the state's Long Island, an islet in the middle of the Holston River, in the 1920s. However, New Yorkers claim the cocktail was invented on their (more well-known) Long Island in the 1970s. Regardless of its history, the drink has grown to national fame due to its formidable mix of equal parts vodka, gin, rum, triple sec, tequila, and sour mix, topped off with a splash of cola and a citrus garnish. It may seem intimidating, with a combination of five liquors, but it's surprisingly smooth, with a crisp finish.

While the original is a powerhouse on any bar menu, why not jazz up this classic cocktail a bit? After all, with so much liquor to start, what's adding one more spirit going to do? If anything, it will bring a strong libation back to its possible Southern roots, imbuing it with a smooth and spicy taste.

To make the Texas Tea variation, you can follow a traditional Long Island Iced Tea recipe but add the bourbon shot before shaking or stirring the drink. The result is a flavorful cocktail with the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness, rounded out by the bourbon's slightly toasty undertones. It's a delicious way to spice up the classic Long Island Iced Tea.

The best alcohol for a Texas Tea

When crafting a boozy Texas Tea, selecting high-quality spirits is important. You're looking for a harmonious blend in which no one liquor overpowers the other. While you can play with different brands for each spirit, Difford's Guide recommends a few specific options worth sampling.

For vodka, try Ketel One, which is clean with a refreshing finish. The tequila of choice is Patron Añejo, touted for its citrusy aftertaste. Regarding gin and rum, consider London dry gin and a charcoal-filtered light dry rum, which are both on par with the other smooth selections offered in this particular recipe.

When it comes to selecting the right bourbon for your Texas Tea, Maker's Mark is a great option. It boasts a buttery smooth taste with hints of vanilla and spicy oak that add just the perfect touch of straight Kentucky bourbon without interfering with the other flavors in the cocktail. But really, any whiskey will do. If you prefer a smokier taste, splash in some of Knob Creek's Smoked Maple bourbon or use some limited-edition Arby's Smoked Bourbon instead.

For a true Texan twist, seek out one of the esteemed selections from Lone Star State distillery Balcones, like Baby Blue blue corn whiskey. Or, for a real boozy wallop, add a slug of the brand's 100 proof rye or Texas Pot Still bourbon made with local ingredients. Even if there's no tea involved, the drink will at least include whiskey from Texas.