The top 10 Long Island Iced Tea in Toronto
The top Long Island Iced Teas in Toronto hold an odd position in the family of classic cocktails. The innocuous-looking drink is made from a combination of anywhere up to five base liquors with lemon juice and cola. The end result could easily be mistaken for an iced tea - yet it packs a serious punch, with an average alcoholic content of over 20%.
The drink's history is debated: claims that it was created in either the 1920s or 1970s both appear to have some credence (though the latter decade likely produced the recipe that's in common use today). For most bartenders, this is one of the first drinks they'll learn to make - in a shaker, combine 0.5 oz of each of tequila, gin, vodka, white rum and triple sec with an ounce of lemon juice. Shake and strain into a highball glass, and top with a splash of cola.
The list below incorporates either drinks that reinvent the recipe in some way, or offer the classic at a low price.
Here are the top Long Island Iced Teas in Toronto.
Home of The Brave
Taylor Corrigan's bar program at King West's American comfort food hotspot serves up a Long Island Iced Tea in slushie form ($10). If the original cocktail seems like heaven on a hot day, then you really have to give this a try.
This Thai spot at the corner of Dundas and Church eschews the lemon and cola for a housemade Thai tea sour mixture. It's delicately spiced, and available both by the glass ($9) and pitcher ($36).
This King West ping-pong bar offers the Long Branch Iced Tea ($12), a cocktail more similar to a real alcoholic iced tea, with Ketel One vodka combined with peach bitters and freshly made iced tea.
The Dog's Bollocks
Looking for something a little stronger? This offering from one of West Queen West's most popular pubs stuffs three ounces of booze into a personal pitcher for $12.50.
This upscale ramen spot on College St. serves up a pretty standard recipe Long Island, but re-brands it as a 'Long Okinawa Iced Tea', as is the case for most of the cocktails on their list ('Sex on the Okinawa Beach', 'Okinawa Sunrise'). They are, however, blissfully cheap at $7.50.
It's not on the menu anymore, but they'll still make a Bellwoods Iced Tea ($12) for you at West Queen West's County General - equal parts El Dorado five and six-year rums are shaken with lemon, syrup, and housemade blueberry bourbon bitters before being topped with a splash of cola.
This Koreatown bar might be known as a draft beer haunt for students, but they'll still throw a cocktail together for those who want to cut down on their carbs (or just get drunk a bit quicker). The LIIT here is served in a glass mug for a bargain $6.50, so those enjoying a cocktail can expect a bill that isn't twice the size of their beer-drinking buddies.
This popular student haunt at College and Bathurst has long been known as a bargain dive bar, but offers mini pitchers of Long Island Iced Tea similar to The Dog's Bollocks for only $12.
Free Times Cafe
Also on College St., this 33-year-old spot is probably the only place on this list that's older than most of its patrons. Long Islands are $8 here, but it's the nightly live music or terrific brunches that you can pair them with that make this place worth seeking out.
This Village-area pizza parlour is another spot that's been around for longer than most of its customers. At almost 40 years old, the bar selection feels like it may not have changed a great deal since first opening. Is that a bad thing? If the Long Island Iced Teas are only $5.50, then certainly not.
Thanks to Pure Leaf for sponsoring our coverage of iced tea day in Toronto (coming up on June 10th).
Photo courtesy Home Of The Brave.