Rally the troops—the Battle of Long Island is upon us!

Meghan Overdeep
June 12, 2018

A group of New York bar owners is gearing up for a turf war following the tourism board of Kingsport, Tennessee’s recent claims that the Long Island Iced Tea was invented there and not on Long Island.

To settle the score, New Yorkers are calling for a duel—a modern day clash of North meets South. That’s right: The Battle of Long Island is upon us.

(This is the part where you settle into a rocking chair and pour yourself a drink.)

The background:

New Yorkers have long maintained that the drink was created in 1972 at the Oak Beach Inn in the Hamptons. According to CNN, a bartender named "Rosebud" Butt is credited with having invented the now-iconic drink when he mixed together vodka, tequila, rum, gin, triple sec and cola.   

Meanwhile, Southerners claim that the drink was actually born about 50 years earlier during Prohibition, on another Long Island—the one in the Holston River in Kingsport. Local legend states that the Long Island Iced Tea came to be when Charlie "Old Man" Bishop blended a concoction of rum, vodka, whiskey, gin, tequila and a little bit of maple syrup.

The duel:

In a letter from bar owner Butch Yamali to the mayor of Kingsport and the tourism board, CNN reports that the Northerners proposed an iced tea contest in which bar patrons would be blindfolded and asked to perform a taste test.

The winners would secure the rights to the drink, once and for all, while the losers would be forced to "clean their opponents bars and bathrooms after an evening of debauchery" and raise the winners' state flag above their bar.

"Not since the Civil War has the South tried to take over our territory," Yamali wrote, in jest. "This title should not be taken away from Long Island unjustly."

Naturally, the South agreed.

"The letter (from Long Island) has not made it to us as of yet," Amy Margaret McColl, Kingsport's marketing manager, told CNN. "We are excited about this challenge and anxiously await their invitation for the battle of this beverage. Once we receive, we will rally our troops, gather our ingredients and prepare to defend our original recipe."