The famous Long Island Iced Tea is a drink enjoyed by many, and recipes for it abound (in this node and on the web). Ever since I first encountered this cocktail its name seemed strange to me, and when I first heard an explanation for it I was delighted. Apparently, a friend told me, during the prohibition, when serving alcoholic beverages was illegal in the USA, this drink that looks like a nice glass of ice tea was created. Customers could order this drink without explicitly naming an alcoholic beverage, and if the law raided the establishment where the drink was served, it would appear to be legal.

A day or two ago I decided to share this story with the E2 community - it's an amusing anecdote, and given that so many words have already been written here about this cocktail (and so little about it has been told), I thought the story would be enjoyed. Being a good noder, I decided to first google the drink's history. What do you know - the Long Island Iced Tea was invented around 1972 by a Long Island bartender named Robert C. "Rosebud" Butt. Butt was tending bar at the time at the Oak Beach Inn in Hampton Bays... So while this tasty beverage surely has many of the wonderful qualities described elsewhere in this node (such as confounding tourists, numbing faces, and being served in surprising ways in Utah), its history is more mundane than I believed.

Apparently, the popularity of cocktails in the USA may well be based on the prohibition. According to cocktails became popular in the twenties because of the low quality of the alcoholic beverages. Bartenders trying to hide the horrible taste mixed them with juices of all sorts. In a sense the Long Island continues this tradition - for many drinkers the mixed tastes of Rum, Gin, Vodka and Tequila may have been a bit much, but this strong drink tastes as if it has very little alcohol in it.