Dual dates set for Kingsport-NY Long Island Iced Tea taste-off

J. H. Osborne • Updated Jun 13, 2018 at 7:48 AM

KINGSPORT — The dates have been set for the great “tea-off.”

The Long Island Iced Tea — who does it best? Us or them? Kingsport or New York?

Visit Kingsport raised the ire of some folks up in Long Island, New York, a few weeks ago by declaring Kingsport was “reclaiming” its rightful title as the birthplace of the Long Island Iced Tea. Make that “the Original Long Island Iced Tea.” See, it’s like this, nobody is trying to deny the modern cocktail that’s thrown back the world over wasn’t concocted by a New York bartender in the 1970s. But a very similar drink was created in the Long Island community of Kingsport during prohibition and perfected in the 1940s.

Where the New York version uses all clear liquors, the Kingsport version adds whiskey and is sweetened with pure maple syrup.

After Visit Kingsport’s announcement, the owner of a bar on Long Island, New York, challenged Kingsport to a taste-off, and Visit Kingsport — a tourism arm of the Kingsport Chamber — accepted.

Now they’ve worked out the details:

• On June 27 at 4 p.m., Kingsport’s team will show up at Hudson’s on the Mile on New York’s Long Island.

• On July 13 at 2 p.m., the team from Hudson’s on the Mile will show up for a second taste-off. The location hasn’t been firmed up yet, but ideally it will include a view of Kingsport’s Long Island. The event is not an official Fun Fest event, but the annual festival will be underway.

The official rules of the contest:

• The winner gains the right to call its recipe the “Best Long Island Iced Tea.”

• Each city will bring their best bartender to each meeting.

• There will be a blind taste test with five tasters who will choose between drink “A” and drink “B.”

• The host city will provide two tasters, and the remaining three spots will be chosen from a lottery of attendees at that tasting.

So far, there’s no word on who will be the two designated tasters by either city — but wishful thinking has some dreaming of celebrities (who routinely drink on morning television).

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