Grateful Dead

When I first moved to LA, a city I’d never planned on living in, I temporarily moved in with my good friend Bryan (not to be confused with Brian, totally different cat). As a way of saying thanks for letting me crash at your pad, every Thursday night we’d go out and celebrate as friends do. That started a long-standing tradition of going out on Thursday nights, making them the de facto gentlemen nights of the week. One of our first Thursdays out, Bryan introduced me to this magical drink, enter the Grateful Dead!


Sweet baby Jesus, if you’re not familiar with the Grateful Dead, it’s a magical cocktail of debilitating proportions. It is a more alcoholic version of the Long Island Iced Tea.

I’ll let that sink in for a second.

Yup, you take you basic Long Island Iced Tea, toss the Coke and add raspberry liqueur — because awesome. I’ll not say that by this point in our drinking careers we were professionals, but I’ll just leave it in that we’d knock down three or four Long Islands in about two hours. Don’t try this at home kids — actually, no, scratch that — only try that at home kids, not recommended or encouraged for outside company.

If, however, you’re ready to show your mad drinking skills, which almost always precede a doughnut, cookie or Del Taco run (Del Taco is highly encouraged), then yes, for you my friend, the Grateful Dead is in order.

Bryan, procuring his undergrad at UCSB — a school I’ve always insisted is plenty good for academics, but the highlight is really the minor in drinking you also receive while there — has always known his way around an interesting cocktail or three to accompany some unique drinking games. Hence why it wasn’t shocking he introduced the Grateful Dead to our collective group of friends.

pour chambordstrain into glass

Here’s what you get: tequila, vodka, gin, rum, triple sec, raspberry liquor and sweet and sour mix (that’s right, six alcohols in one drink). Promise, we’re not messing around here.

As this limiting factor is the quality of your components, don’t go cheap on yourself. I’m not espousing you using the finest of the fine boozes, but use your house brand favorites. If your house brands are like mine, then you’ve got a decent supply of stuff you happily drink.

Then, the final kicker is the sweet and sour mix, which you should, without fail, make yourself. Here’s your recipe: one part sugar, a half part lemon juice and a half part lime juice. From there, it’s just about mixing them together and you have your very own, homemade sweet and sour mix.

Time to Smith it up a notch!

Let’s get down with the Grateful Dead.

grateful dead cocktail

Grateful Dead
Prep time
Mix time
Total time
Recipe type: Drinks
Servings: 1
  • 1 part tequila
  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part light rum
  • 1 part gin
  • 1 part orange liqueur
  • 1 part raspberry liqueur
  • 2 parts sweet and sour mix
  • Glass type: Collins
  • Lime
  1. Add everything into your cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Yes, it's six unique and awesome alcohols in one drink.
  3. You're welcome.
  4. Shake.
  5. Pour into your Collins glass with ice.
  6. Add lime garnish.
  7. Drink one, awesome.
  8. Two, a great night.
  9. Three, officially Smith faced.