A Long Island Iced Tea is a popular highball cocktail that typically contains vodka, light rum, tequila, triple sec, gin, and a splash of cola. It’s a potent drink that packs quite a caloric punch. In this article, we’ll break down the calorie count of a Long Island Iced Tea and look at ways you can enjoy this cocktail without going overboard on calories.
What’s in a Long Island Iced Tea?
A traditional Long Island Iced Tea is made with five different spirits:
- Vodka – 1 oz
- Light rum – 1 oz
- Tequila – 1 oz
- Triple sec – 1 oz
- Gin – 1 oz
The five liquors are combined with sweet and sour mix and a splash of cola, which adds flavor, color, and carbonation. A standard pour is 1 ounce of each spirit, for a total of 5 ounces of 80-proof liquor. That’s a lot of alcohol in one drink!
Calories in Long Island Iced Tea Ingredients
To determine how many calories are in a Long Island Iced Tea, we need to look at the calorie count of each ingredient:
Vodka – 97 calories per 1.5 oz shot
An average 1.5 ounce shot of vodka contains about 97 calories. Since a Long Island uses 1 ounce of vodka, that’s about 65 calories just from the vodka alone.
Light rum – 97 calories per 1.5 oz shot
Like vodka, a 1.5 ounce shot of light rum contains around 97 calories. With 1 ounce of light rum in a Long Island, that adds another 65 calories to the mix.
Tequila – 97 calories per 1.5 oz shot
Tequila contains roughly the same amount of calories as vodka and light rum, coming in at 97 calories for a standard 1.5 ounce pour. The 1 ounce of tequila in a Long Island contributes about 65 additional calories.
Triple sec – 103 calories per 1.5 oz shot
Triple sec is a sweet and mild orange-flavored liqueur used in many cocktails. A typical 1.5 ounce serving provides 103 calories, so the 1 ounce used in a Long Island Iced Tea adds roughly 69 calories.
Gin – 97 calories per 1.5 oz shot
Like the other base spirits, gin is relatively low in calories at 97 calories per 1.5 ounce shot. The 1 ounce of gin in a Long Island Iced Tea therefore contributes approximately 65 calories.
Sweet and sour mix – 117 calories per 1 oz
Premade sweet and sour mix adds both sweetness and tart citrus flavor to cocktails. Since it’s syrupy, it also packs more calories than straight liquor – around 117 calories per ounce. Most Long Island Iced Tea recipes call for 1-2 ounces of sweet and sour mix, so that’s another 100-200 calories.
Cola – 140 calories per 12 oz can
The splash of cola that gives the Long Island Iced Tea its distinctive reddish-brown hue also adds calories. A 12-ounce can of cola contains about 140 calories. Even a splash of just 2-3 ounces of soda can add 50 or so calories to the total count.
Total Calories in a Long Island Iced Tea
Adding up the calorie counts of each ingredient, a typical Long Island Iced Tea made with 1 ounce each of vodka, light rum, tequila, triple sec, and gin plus 1-2 ounces of sweet and sour mix and a splash of cola contains approximately:
- Vodka: 65 calories
- Light rum: 65 calories
- Tequila: 65 calories
- Triple sec: 69 calories
- Gin: 65 calories
- Sweet and sour mix: 100-200 calories
- Splash of cola: 50 calories
In total, a standard Long Island Iced Tea can range from 479-579 calories or more per serving depending on exact proportions and ingredients.
Tips for Lightening Up Your Long Island Iced Tea
Because it contains multiple shots of liquor plus other caloric mixers, the Long Island Iced Tea is one of the higher calorie cocktails you’ll find on most bar menus. Here are some tips for enjoying this flavorful drink without going overboard on calories:
Ask for skinnier mixers
Rather than a full sugar sweet and sour mix, ask for a sugar-free or lower calorie variety. And switch out regular cola for a zero-calorie diet cola.
Go easy on the sweet and sour
Since sweet and sour mix packs so many calories, ask for the drink with less than the standard 1-2 ounces. A more spirit-forward LIIT with just a splash of sweetness can save you 100 calories or more.
Skip the cola altogether
Eliminate the cola, and you’ll bring the calorie count down by about 50 calories while still getting the primary flavor from the spirits and citrus. The drink may lose its classic color, but you’ll still get the boozy punch.
Order a single liquor version
Rather than mixing five liquors together, ask for your Long Island Iced Tea made with a single base spirit, such as vodka or rum. Cutting out those extra shots can shave off 260 or so calories from the standard recipe.
Go for a skinny Long Island mixer
Some brands make pre-bottled, lower calorie Long Island Iced Tea mixers that just need to be mixed with the liquor. Skinnygirl and other producers offer carb-free, sugar-free bottled mixers with 5-15 calories per serving.
Enjoy it as a group cocktail
Split one LIIT between multiple people. You’ll get a taste of the signature flavors in a portion controlled way by only drinking part of the high-calorie cocktail.
Dilute it with extra ice and club soda
Fill your glass with ice and club soda to add volume without packing on calories. The more you water it down, the fewer calories you’ll get in each sip.
The Bottom Line
A Long Island Iced Tea is a tasty but potent cocktail made with five liquors totaling around 5 ounces or more hard alcohol. All those shots plus sweeteners like sweet and sour mix and cola add up to a high calorie count ranging from 479-579 calories per drink.
You can still enjoy the boozy taste of a Long Island without consuming excess calories by swapping lower calorie mixers, minimizing sweeteners, skipping soda, or splitting a single serving. Savoring this classic bar order in moderation will let you indulge without sabotaging your diet goals.