I'm not a huge drinker, but since I started university I've definitely found myself in a bar more weekends than not. Going to my usual spot and ordering vodka cran (yawn) gets old fast, so I'm always looking for adventurous cocktails to switch up my night. You might be thinking of some super exotic drink from across the world, but look no further than Long Island if you want something adventurous. 

Much like the Long Island iced tea itself, the origin of this alcoholic drink is a bit of a mystery. There are two main stories about the invention of this popular drink, both of which have different answers to the question: what's in a Long Island iced tea? 

Origins of the Long Island Iced Tea

The more recent story can either be thought of as one of luck or crazy good bartending skills. If you've ever tried your hand at mixology you'd know it's not as easy as you'd think to invent a new (and not disgusting) drink.

Bob "Rosebud" Butt proved to have serious bartending skills when he invented the Long Island iced tea on a whim in the 1970s in, well, Long Island. Duh. The story goes that Butt and about 20 other bartenders were at the bar when someone put a bottle of triple sec in front of them and said to make a drink. So now we know there's triple sec in the drink, but I bet you can't guess what else goes into the drink.

The other well-known origin story of this drink dates back to the 1920s during the prohibition. "Old Man Bishop" is said to have invented a very similar drink, only this one had whiskey and maple syrup and the ratios of the other liquors weren't quite as even as the modern-day drink. One thing these two original Long Island iced teas had in common was the crazy concoction of different alcohols mixed into one drink.

What's in a Long Island Iced Tea?

In my pre-legal years (and let's face it, up until very recently), I definitely thought a Long Island iced tea was a spiked iced tea. And it makes sense, I mean, why wouldn't it have iced tea? Much to my surprise, not only is there no iced tea in this drink, but there are four types of alcohol that make up a Long Island iced tea—talk about value.

To make this drink, start off with one shot of vodka and then about a shot of gin. Next, add about one shot of rum and tequila (everything white behind the bar, according to Butt). A shot of triple sec, a bit of sour mix and a bit of Coke just for color. 

While the name seems innocent enough, the hangover from this drink can be fierce. Deceptively sweet and visually reminiscent of the virgin classic, it can be easy to down a few of these bad boys real quick. Just don't be surprised when you wake up the morning with a splitting headache.

If you just can't wrap your head around a Long Island iced tea without iced tea, you can try a variation with black tea bags instead of Coke, like in Martha Stewart's recipe. Other variations can include frozen Long Island iced tea (think super nostalgic slushie) or a Long Beach iced tea, which swaps out Coke for cranberry juice.

There's a lot that goes into a Long Island iced tea, so maybe you should try ordering one at the bar before attempting to make one for yourself. Just remember not to be fooled by the innocent exterior, a Long Island iced tea is just like taking a shot of every liquor known to man at once.

Consider yourself warned, but if you want to be daring next time hit the bar, you can now safely say that you know exactly what's in a Long Island iced tea.