Cocktail Chatter: Snobs invent Fire Island Iced Tea

by Ed Sikov

Six of us were lined up in beach chairs judging the gym rats on parade at the water's edge.

"Why does that guy have 'Bondi' printed on his ass?" I inquired. "I love 'Make Way for Tomorrow,' too, but it's a strange film to be referenced on a musclehead's butt."

"It's not Beulah Bondi, darling. It's Bondi Beach in Australia." This came from my partner, Dan, who then turned on me: "Did you hear what Dr. Film Studies just said?" he trumpeted to the others, who made snorting noises at my expense.

Jack Fogg yawned, stretched, and said, "Let's make Long Island Iced Tea." "You would drink that," his boyfriend Sammy replied.

Jack became defensive: "What's wrong with Long Island Iced Tea?"

"People will think we're from Massapequa," Chipper explained.

"Or Hicksville," Paolo added. "Can you imagine saying you're from Hicksville? You might as well be from East Jesus."

I agreed. "We're making 'Fire Island Iced Tea' because we're on Fire Island, not Long Island."

"What's in it?" Sammy asked.

"We're inventing it," I declared. "What should be in our drink?"

"Lots of fruits," said Dan.

"And lots of alcohol," Paolo added.

"It needs a fire component," Chipper said. "What tastes hot?"

I had an inspiration: "Absolut Peppar!"

Chipper got into the spirit(s): "And Citron for the fruit. And Orange Curacao. And your inevitable lime juice."

"Why do you always have Orange Curacao?" asked Jack, the reporter; he was prone to interviewing people, which irritated me, so I answered: "Because Blue Curacao turns an orange Screwdriver the color of vomit."

"Aha," said Jack, buying my made-up reason. I'm dementedly jealous of Jack, so I put a notch on the Ed vs. Jack scoreboard I keep in my head.

Michelangelo's David strolled by. "What can we add to represent him?" Dan asked.

"Coke Zero!" Sammy shouted to our communal delight. The poor, perfect hunk thought we were laughing at him and glared.

We tried a few recipes before we found one that worked, which meant we were hammered by dinnertime. I grilled the Lemon-Dill Lamb-burgers to death. Dan burned the buns. But Paolo, always under control, pulled off a lovely Caprese Salad, and since we bought a peach pie from the grocery store, dessert was fine. "Where do these great pies come from?" I once asked the Long Island teenager behind the counter. "Poh't Jeff!," she answered, meaning Port Jefferson. The accent alone proved why we had to have an "Iced Tea" of our own.

Fire Island Iced Tea

2-parts Absolut Peppar

2-parts Absolut Citron

1-part Beefeater

1-part cup tequila

1/2-part Orange Curacao

1-part or 1/3-cup unsweetened lime juice

3-parts Coke Zero or the soda of your choice

Fill a tall glass with ice and add liquors and lime juice. Pour soda in gently to keep the fizz. Note: The conventional drink is called "Iced Tea" because the cola turns the white liquors tea-colored. But I prefer Limonata, the Italian lemon soda, which makes the drink taste like spicy lemonade. Use what you like, and don't worry about what color the result is. If it looks gross, put it in an opaque plastic cup, stick a straw in it, and nobody will know the difference.

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