The Long Beach Iced Tea is not for the faint of heart. It’s a close cousin to the Long Island Iced Tea that packs a punch.
While the ingredient list for this tea may seem long and complicated, it’s nothing more than five partial shots of liquor, a healthy splash of sour mix, and then topped off with cranberry juice. Stir and sit back and enjoy your freshly-made drink!
The Long Beach Iced Tea is not a drink for the faint-hearted, since it is a drink that will sneak up on you. It does have three and a half ounces of alcohol in it, after all! There’s something about the fruit flavors of the drink that hides the spirits in the drink a little too well. I recommend taking a water break after your second tea and letting your body digest the alcohol for about half an hour before making your guests and yourself a third.
Long Beach Iced Tea consist of all the main clear spirits you would expect to come across behind a bar: rum, tequila, gin and vodka. It is them mixed with triple sec, sweet & sour mix, and the cranberry juice gives the drink its distinct pink color.
There’s quite a long list of specific ingredients for the Long Beach Iced Tea. Sometimes, it’s best to just order one of these drinks out at a bar, even if it will cost you upwards of $15. Have no fear, I have a whole list of replacements. Some replacements listed below are more creative than others.
Replacements for Spirits
If you do want to make this drink at home and find that you are missing a certain spirit, it is perfectly fine to double up on another alcohol that is in the drink.
One recommendation I do have, however, is to make sure you’re drinking enough water when consuming long beach iced teas. They do contain quite a bit of alcohol and it can sneak up on you if you’re not used to drinking so much in one sitting.
Replacements for Sweet & Sour Mix
If you’re missing sweet & sour, you can use a different kind of mixer. See below:
- Margarita mixer is the best replacement for Sweet & Sour mix. I’ve used Jose Cuervo Margarita Mix when I didn’t have sweet & sour, and an added bonus, it can replace the Tequila.
- Any lemon-lime soda, like Sprite, 7-up, Sierra Mist, can replace the sour mix, but it will add carbonation to the drink.
- If you have lemon and lime juice on hand, you can make your own Sweet & Sour mix.
- Mix 1 part lemon juice, 1 part lime juice, 1 part water and 1 part sugar together. Heat over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and mix together. Let cool. You now have homemade Sweet & Sour mix!
Replacements for Triple Sec
To be honest, there’s not a great substitute for triple sec. It’s essentially a very sweet orange-flavored liquor. If you’re making the Long Beach Iced Tea and don’t have triple sec on hand, there are a couple of substitutions for it.
- Simple syrup: Using simple syrup will most likely be your best bet for triple sec. It will be even better if you can add in some orange extract, around a teaspoon for every cup of simple syrup, since triple sec has a distinct orange taste. If you don’t have orange extract on hand, you can also use orange zest instead.
- Orange Liquor: Any other orange liquor will do just fine in replacement of triple sec. Whether it be Cointreau or another orange-flavored liquor, it is just fine.
- Sugar: If you need a sweetener to cut the sharpness, you can add some sugar directly to the drink. Or some fake sweetener like Splenda or Sweet n’ Low which will dissolve much more quickly into the drink. This will keep you from constantly stirring for shaking the drink to get the sugar to dissolve.
Now, garnishes are not entirely necessary, but they are nice to have and add a certain touch to the drink.
- Citrus: Limes or lemon wedges are always a great (and safe) bet for drinks. They are a good option for the Long Beach Iced Tea since they complement and pull together the ingredients. The fresh citrus will further hide the taste of the alcohol.
- Mint Leaves: Nothing beats fresh herbs in a drink. Fresh mint leaves picked from your mint plant will add a bright pop of color to the drink. The aromatics are beautiful to inhale when you are drinking the beverage.
- Fruit: Raspberries, pomegranate seeds, maraschino or brandy cherries are all great options for the Long Beach Iced Tea.