Texas Iced Tea – Original Recipe & History

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Texas Iced Tea

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Course: DrinksCuisine: American




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Learn how to make a Texas Iced Tea.


  • 1/2 oz 15 ml Sweet and Sour Mix

  • 1/2 oz 15 ml Orange Liqueur

  • 2/3 oz 20 ml Vodka

  • 2/3 oz 20 ml White Rum

  • 2/3 oz 20 ml Dry Gin

  • 2/3 oz 20 ml Silver Tequila

  • 2/3 oz 20 ml Rye Whiskey

  • 1.5 oz 45 ml Coca-Cola


  • Technique: Tiki Dirty Pour
  • Combine all ingredients, except for the soda, into a shaker with crushed ice.
  • Vigorously shake the shaker for 10 seconds.
  • Dirty pour the whole shaker into a glass. Crushed ice and all.
  • Top the drink off with soda.
  • Garnish:
  • Lemon wheel

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What Does The Texas Iced Tea Taste Like?

The Texas Iced taste resembles the standard Long Island Iced Tea. It’s a bit boozier, but it’s not bad. The kind of whiskey used will make all the difference. Irish whiskey is fun because it adds a nice smokey flavor to it. Scotch differs depending on the manufacture and region, but softer, milder scotch is a miss. It just gets lost. Any smoother whiskeys, regardless of style, are pointless in this cocktail. Bourbon is toasted caramel flavors, but it too is a bit weak in the Texas Iced Tea. The best whiskey for a drink like this is rye.

The recipe I have provided uses Robert “Rosebud” Butt’s original Long Island recipe with the addition of 1 oz of rye whiskey. I don’t know if the original 1980s T.G.I. Friday’s recipe used rye, but I figured rye would be the best way for the whiskey to make a noticeable difference in such a sizeable boozy drink. Bourbon’s softer, sweeter flavor is a bit lost in the Texas Iced Tea, but rye’s more robust spicier flavor is more noticeable.

The History Of The Texas Iced Tea

The Texas Iced Tea was invented by T.G.I. Fridays in 1980 to celebrate the 40th anniversary of its parent company Carlson. T.G.I. Fridays is often mistaken for inventing the Long Island Iced Tea, and while they didn’t, It is still one of the most popular drinks they sell. Although T.G.I. Fridays did create several popular variations. They made four variations: the Sparkling Iced Tea, the Long Beach Iced Tea, the Caribbean Iced Tea, and the Texas Iced Tea. The Sparkling Iced Tea replaced the Coca-Cola with champagne. The Long Beach Iced Tea replaced Coca-Cola with cranberry juice. The Caribbean Iced Tea used blue-orange liqueur instead of clear to give the drink a light green color and left out the Coke. And the Texas Ice Tea added an additional ounce of whiskey.

I understand this is supposed to be a vintage cocktail resource, and while T.G.I. Fridays is not seen as a high-end bar today, it once was. The first T.G.I. Fridays was opened in 1965 by Alan Stillman. Stillman lived on 63rd Street between First and York in New York and, while surrounded by single attractive working women, had a hard time meeting any. Alan liked to go out after work, and believe it or not, many bars in the 1960s still had policies that no women could enter unless they were with a man. Hell, women couldn’t have bank accounts until the 1960s, and it wasn’t the Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 that women could get an account without a father or husband to manage it. But back to cocktails. Obviously, not every bar was like this, and some areas were more progressive than others, but there was still a culture of bars being too rough for single vulnerable women. Some high-end bars excluded single women, fearing their presence would distract business-minded men from making deals. Even though prohibition had helped lessen the stigma of women publicly drinking, it still took activists like Betty Friedan and others to fully break down these barriers. Alan Stillman also helped break down these barriers when he opened T.G.I. Fridays, one of the United States’ first singles bar. The original intent of T.G.I Fridays was to offer a welcoming environment that felt like home where single women and men could meet. Women didn’t need to come with a man to enter. They served high-end drinks and well-made American food. Stillman may have been looking to meet women, but he inadvertently helped bring down some of the social barriers American women faced.

Recipe Resources

Texas Iced Tea Article

Original Long Island Iced Tea Recipe

Download the free Vintage American Cocktail app.

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