Hip Sips


Tippling on Tea

It was a breathless summer day in the city of Sonoma.

A day with no hint of a breeze—just heat that clutched at you, sapping every scrap of energy.
    “Have a Long Island iced tea,” the man said.
    “Sure. Iced tea would be lovely,” the woman replied.
    The tea arrived in a tall glass, with ice and a straw. The woman started
    “Ah, how refreshing this is,” she thought. “How great that the Americans make iced tea such a summer standard.”
    She drank quickly—and all of a sudden, with about half the tea drunk, she felt her head start to spin.
    “Is there alcohol in this tea?” she asked.
    “Of course,” the man answered. “Lots of it,”
    Suggestion: If you offer Long Island iced tea to someone who is not from the United States and who has become accustomed to the American way of drinking regular iced tea as a refresher on summery days, explain that Long Island iced tea is, well, something completely different. When you know what you’re getting—namely, a potent mixed drink—you might choose not to have it while sitting in the sunshine in the middle of the day.
    La Piñata Mexican Restaurant and Tequila Bar (1440 Park St., 510-769-9110, www.lapinata.com) is, as the name suggests, best known for its tequila selection (the Web site says there are more than 300 agave tequilas to choose from) and its 38 margaritas (I counted).
    Almost lost among the choice of cocktails, except to a fairly large group of fans who know to order it, is the Top Shelf Long Island iced tea ($10.25). At La Piñata this delicious concoction combines El Tesoro 100 percent blue agave tequila, Cruzan light rum, Absolut vodka, Tanqueray gin, Grand Marnier, sweet and sour, fresh-squeezed lime juice and a splash of Coke. Now, imagine sipping on that when you think you’re getting regular iced tea …
—By Wanda Hennig