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Long Island Iced Tea with Red Wine – Penitent Punch

Feeling a little repentant today?  Try my Penitent Punch which is a wine lover’s version of a Long Island Iced Tea.  This twist on a classic cocktail will bring you to your knees!  Instead of a splash of cola, it’s topped with wine.

Overhead view of a glass of Penitent Punch

This post comes with a humbling story and a lame movie reference but hang with me as I share a recipe for my penitent punch; a twist on a classic cocktail that will bring you to your knees!

A Long Island Iced Tea has always been a cocktail that will do just that (the knee bringing part.) Come to think of it, I recently read an article written by bartenders about the drinks that you should immediately stop ordering. 

This was one of them. The reason being, a Long Island Iced Tea is a very strong drink and you tend to get intoxicated faster which is a bad thing. Why?

drunk fast=fewer drinks=a lower bar bill=small tip

Bartenders want to keep the drinks flowing and a Long Island Tea puts a cork in that!

Two glasses of wine cocktails with straws

If you’d rather skip my (very helpful, I think) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this delicious recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.

So what exactly is a Long Island Iced Tea?

A Long Island drink is 5 Spirits, a touch of lemon juice, and a topping of cola to give it the “tea” coloring. One that will humble you quite quickly.  I have never had one before as I was never brave enough to try it until last summer, albeit under the guise of another name. More on that later…

Why do they call it Long Island Iced Tea?

As the story goes, a bartender from Long Island was challenged to make a strong cocktail that looked like iced tea. Challenge accepted, challenge won!

How much alcohol is in a Long Island Iced Tea?

Quite a bit actually. This strong mixed drink is actually 80% alcohol and 20% mixer. WHOA! No wonder I can’t have more than two, LOL!

What alcohol is in Long Island Iced Tea?

Being 80% alcohol, this cocktail is pretty complex. Not sure why someone decided to put all these together but I am pretty glad they did. Maybe they were trying to use up the last remaining sips from a bunch of different bottles?

Long Island Iced Tea ingredients

  • Gin (1 part)
  • Rum (1 part)
  • Tequila (1 part)
  • Vodka (1 part)
  • Triple Sec (1 part)
  • Cola (I use red wine instead) (1 part)
  • Sour Mix (1 part)

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Slowly pouring the wine over the top of the cocktail to create a beautiful effect.

Is Triple Sec alcohol?

Triple sec is sweet orange flavored liqueur made from dried orange peels.

How strong is a Long Island Iced Tea?

Very, so drink responsibly! And be sure to hydrate in between drinks if you plan on having more than one. Oh, and a designated driver too!

Does a Long Island Iced Tea have actual tea in it?

This unassuming cocktail is camouflaged as iced tea even though it doesn’t actually contain any iced tea at all. Unless the serve accidentally adds more tea to your glass.

Close up of two glasses of wine long island iced tea

Where did Penitent Punch come from?

The pizza joint where I tried the cocktail called it a Humble Tea and boy, did it ever humble me.  I should have known better when the cocktail menu stated a “3 Drink Maximum” under the name.  

Normally there is a minimum listed but this is the first time I had seen a MAXIMUM.  Surely a typo but that didn’t stop me from ordering one. Upon verification by our server, while I was sucking my first one down through a straw, there is a 3 drink maximum.  PER DAY!  

As I approached the bottom of my second one it became apparent why you can only have three.  The tart and fruity flavors of the Humble Tea remind me of a raspberry lemonade but the sheer amount of alcohol in it catches up to you in no time.  Since we were walking back to the hotel I had one more or the road.

This was a humungous mistake because I don’t remember much after we got back to the room and my screaming headache didn’t help as I sat on my knees in the bathroom praying to the Porcelain God the next morning. HUMBLE INDEED!

Two liters of water and a sleeve of Saltine crackers later, I finally had my wits about me.  A mistake not to be repeated that trip I assure you, but we did go back to the pizza place again.  I had to ask what was in the Humble Tea before we left so I could share this drink with all my friends.

Will Penitent Punch get you drunk?

Yes, it will!  Just as the restaurant where I discovered it mentioned, there is a 3 drink maximum.  There are 5 liquors in it.  Please enjoy responsibly!

Does all that alcohol actually taste good?

That depends on what cocktails you normally consume.  The Penitent Punch contains sour mix so it has a sweet and tart flavor and the red wine adds a fruitiness.  This is not a cocktail for everyone but I encourage you to try one.  I’m not a huge bourbon fan but I know other people are so I try not to judge.

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The gorgeous ombre effect of the Penitent Punch shows in this side view of the glasses

Tips for getting making layered cocktails!

  • After you mix the spirits together, yes all 5 of them, you add the sour mix and combine.
  • Pour it over ice in a tall glass leaving some room at the top for the wine.
  • Slowly pour the wine on the top of the cocktail with the help of a spoon to make a gorgeous layered or ombre effect.
  • You will want to stir the drink to combine all the flavors but it sure is pretty to look at like this!
  • Their recipe uses a pinot noir but for my Penitent Punch I fruited it up even more by using a red sangria.

Why is it called Penitent Punch?

I had a hard time coming up with a new name for this hard-core cocktail at first but then remembered a quote from a movie and it the name popped into my head.  

Penitent Punch.  Here is how I arrived at this name.

Being an Indiana Jones fan I know most of the movies by heart, including the obstacle course/giant riddle that is the path to the Holy Grail in the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

For all the non-Indiana Jones fans, once Indy gets to the Temple of the Sun to find the Holy Grail he has to complete three challenges which are physical tasks he has to finish but the clues on how to finish them are riddles.  The first one is called The Breath of God with the clue stating “Only the penitent man will pass.”

The object of the first challenge is to kneel before the Breath of God.  The challenger will feel a wind (the Breath) blow through the chamber moving the spider webs, and then have to kneel quickly in order to avoid being decapitated by two huge circular blades.

He kneels and rolls forward avoiding the blades and onto then proceeds to the next challenge.  After drinking three Humble Teas, I was quite penitent the next morning.  On my knees.  Praying for relief.  

Repenting of my sins and swearing to never do that again.  Until the next time, of course.

After that experience, the only name that seems fitting is Penitent Punch.  Drink it when you are repentant or not, just make sure you try it at least once!

If you love this Penitent Punch Recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

image of penitent punch cocktail with text "long island iced wine - penitent punch"

The Penitent Punch cocktail is almost all alcohol and it is very strong so please drink responsibly.  It tastes like a fruity lemonade-style drink but it packs a punch!  No pun intended…

load up on these hearty appetizers

other cocktails to try

How to make a long island iced tea with red wine

Red Wine Long Island Iced Tea

Red Wine Long Island Iced Tea

Yield: 2 cocktails
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Feeling a little repentant today? Try my Penitent Punch which is a wine lover's version of a Long Island Iced Tea.  It will bring you to your knees!



  1. Mix the gin, rum, tequila, vodka, triple sec, and sour mix in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add ice to two tall glasses.
  3. Pour the punch mixture over the ice.
  4. Add wine to the top of each glass.
  5. Don't stir it if you want to keep the ombre effect, but it tastes much better after you do.


*If you like this recipe, please leave me a comment and rate it with some stars.  Thank you!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1 cocktail
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 235Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 12gProtein: 0g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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