Long Beach Iced Tea

This red and tangy cocktail is a sublime variation on the potent East Coast classic.

Long Beach Iced Tea

Ahhhh, the South Bay of Southern California. Home to surfers, skateboarders and all manner of beach bunnies. Palm trees, pink convertibles and glorious, fiery sunsets all come to mind when I think of that part of the country, just a car ride away from where I live in Los Angeles.

One of my most recent forays there was in Long Beach, spending a lovely sunny day with the sharks, octopi and penguins at the world famous Aquarium of the Pacific. I could’ve spent an eternity gazing at the beautiful mysteries of the deep, watching the magnificent creatures who live under the waves elegantly sway and dance in slow motion before my eyes. I think if I were able to, I would build a house under the sea. It would need a few amenities, however. Mainly a bar.

Which got me thinking… after my day at the Aquarium, I should probably find a nice, beachside establishment and sip on a drink or two as I watched the sun disappear beyond the horizon. The breeze was getting a little cool, but the heat of the day lingered. I needed something tall, cold and strong. The barkeep told me what I wanted was a Long Beach Iced Tea.

A local libation, I thought to myself. What is it, exactly? The bartender said it was a slight twist on the classic Long Island Iced Tea, that strong booze-bomb that is said to have hailed from its East Coast namesake in 1972. What made the Long Beach version different? Cranberry juice. A simple, yet brilliant variation.

Drinking and talking, I soon discovered that no one really knows exactly who came up with this bright red, tart and refreshingly fruity beverage. The color and flavors will always remind me of Long Beach, though, no matter where I have one in the world.

How to Properly Cranberry your Cocktail?

Many fruit juices that are manufactured and sold are often mixed with a long list of chemicals and additives, such as high fructose corn syrup in place of natural sugar. I tend to stay as far away from things that are made with this additive, as the flavor is way too sweet for me and having too much of it can really pack on the pounds. It’s just not good for you. Taste wise, using these mixers can often make your cocktails unbalanced, in terms of the ingredients melding together. Using an unsweetened, 100% cranberry juice will ensure that your drink comes together in a harmonious way. Not too sweet, not too tart, but just right.

What is the Best Alcohol to Use in a Long Beach Iced Tea?

Because we’re pouring a handful of different spirits together for one potent mixture, I recommend keeping them clear in color. Gin and vodka have these qualities by their nature and distillation process, so it’s a good idea that your tequila and rum are also white or silver. In the right portions, the alcohol will come together with the cranberry and lemon juice for a refreshing, and very robust, experience.

Long Beach Iced Tea
Servings 1


  • 1/2 ounce vodka
  • 1/2 ounce tequila
  • 1/2 ounce white rum
  • 1/2 ounce gin
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau or Triple Sec
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 ounces unsweetened 100% cranberry juice
  • Lemon wedge for garnish
  • Fresh mint for garnish optional
  • Ice for serving


  • In a highball glass, combine vodka, tequila, white rum, gin, Cointreau, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and cranberry juice.
    Long Beach Iced Tea
  • Fill the glass with ice and stir the mixture until well combined and chilled.
    Long Beach Iced Tea
  • Garnish with a lemon wedge and an optional sprig of fresh mint.
    Long Beach Iced Tea
  • Serve immediately and enjoy your homemade Long Beach Iced Tea.


Calories: 283kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 0.3g | Fat: 0.2g | Saturated Fat: 0.04g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 20mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 27IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg
Long Beach Iced Tea

FAQs & Tips

Long Beach Iced Tea

Similar Cocktails to the Long Beach Iced Tea

You like your cocktails tall, cold and strong, yes? Would you like to have a few other drinks that’ll remind you of the refreshing and tangy Long Beach Iced Tea? You’re in luck! Twist & Toast has a number of recipes that’ll hit your sweet (and sour) spot. Check some of these out:

  • Long Island Iced Tea – I explore the origins of this classic “booze-bomb” with Twist & Toast’s recipe for the legendary cocktail.
  • Green Tea Shot – Another concoction that is called “tea”, but isn’t. Peach schnapps and Irish whiskey come together to cure whatever ails you.
  • Bergamot Iced Tea – A “tea” cocktail made with actual iced tea, mixed with vodka and lemons for a citrusy affair.

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