New Yorkers challenge Kingsport’s claim as home of ‘Long Island Iced Tea’


KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – Earlier this week, we told you about the City of Kingsport’s venture to reclaim its stake in history as the home of the Original Long Island Iced Tea. 

Some New Yorkers, particularly Long Islanders, got wind of the news and are now challenging Kingsport to a duel of sorts.

The organization, Hudson’s on the Mile, sent a letter (dated May 10) to the mayor of Kingsport and Kingsport Tourism Bureau: 

Dear Mayor John Clark and Kingsport Tourism Bureau 

In New York, we only drink tea when it’s from Long Island. 

For the honor of “Rosebud” Butt and the 3 million Long Islanders who take pride in the cocktail named after our home, we challenge your city to a duel for the ages and the naming rights of the Long Island Iced Tea. 

Not since the “Battle of the Long Island” in the Revolutionary War has Long Island’s honor been so challenged. We on Long Island celebrate our beaches, our accents and most of all, our booze. An insult against one, is an insult against all!

Our storied booze history, is without question, among the most notable in the nation. George Washington our nation’s founder, visited bars on our shores. The Long Island Iced Tea is not only a badge of honor, but an earned reputation, that Long Island Restaurant, tavern, pub patrons wear proudly. Not since the Civil War has the South tried to take over our territory. 

For years, there has been a separation where Tennessee has their own drink, and Long Island proudly had theirs. The United States Constitution should be altered with the “right to bear drinks”.  This title should not be taken away from Long Island unjustly. 

We challenge Kingsport, TN to a “Battle for the Tea”.  We invite you to visit the Nautical Mile in Freeport, New York, and arranged the face-off for all to witness, however, we would be happy to visit Tennessee in a friendly match on your “home turf”. We will blindfold independent bar patrons to review the drinks. 

It’s time to settle the score once and for all. 

And to increase the stakes, the loser must: 
Clean the winners’ bars. 
Clean the winners’ bathrooms. 
Raise the winners’ State flag over their bar. 

On the Long Island’s honor, 

Butch Yamali, Owner
Hudson’s on the Mile 


Visit Kingsport wasted no time and accepted the challenge. It responded in a letter dated, the same day, May 10: 

Dear Butch Yamali and Discover Long Island: 

We do appreciate your letter – however misguided it may be. 

We certainly understand you wanting to support your fella “Rosebud” and his drink, which we are sure is decent, but can’t possibly hold a candle to the original, crafted on Kingsport’s Long Island during Prohibition — some 50 years before y’all ever thought about it. 
 As they say, desperate times calls for desperate measures, and thanks to the Bishop’s recipe, the world got one heck of a gift in the form of the original Long Island Iced Tea.  

Now, we know y’all have taken exception to our claim and we’re sorry if we’ve ruffled any feathers. But in Tennessee, where the mountains are Smoky, our traditions are strong and the world moves a little slower, there’s never been any question about heritage when it comes to alcoholic beverages. 

home brew, and Tennessee whiskey were born in these parts and we’re darn proud of that. We’ve always been trailblazers here in Kingsport — heck, Daniel Boone himself started clearing the Wilderness Trail here, no doubt enjoying a few of our local potions along the way. 

In your letter you mentioned the South trying to take over your territory… goodness, we’d never try anything like that. Why, we’re known for our hospitality and weather, which is why so many folks from your neck of the woods end up moving here. But we’re happy to have y’all , even though you’re laying claim to what’s ours — and them’s fighting words. 

But as they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so thanks a bunch! You may 
claim your the best, but we’ll always be the original and there’s no getting around that. So, in the “Y’all versus Yous Guys” challenge, we graciously accept. Be sure to bring your mom’n’nem

Bless Y’all’s Hearts, 

Jud Teague 
Executive Director 
Visit Kingsport 

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