Gratefulness and death hardly go hand in hand, but when it comes to the grateful dead cocktail, these two words are a perfect match.

Now I know that this name may come as a surprise to you and you may wonder what is in it to make it earn such an exciting yet somehow scary title. For anyone who has yet to taste the magic that is this cocktail, here is a description that may help you understand what you are about to down better.

Have you had the Long Island Iced Tea?

Well, this is close to it, only that the grateful dead drink has way more alcohol in it. It’s the mix of various liquors in varying proportions that makes this drink so unique. And if you are yet to have it, well, you are in for the time of your life!

This grateful dead drink recipe hits the nail on the head, and you will have an easy time wowing people with your bartending skills. Let’s get started?

Grateful and Dead: How?

Think of a warm summer evening where you are downing cocktails one after the other as you try to keep cool under the heat. One Long Island Iced Tea and you feel that your spirits are getting higher by the minute. It feels good, and you’re wondering if there is another cocktail that you could enjoy as much. The answer is yes; the grateful dead mixed drink!

The variation to the grateful dead drink when compared to the Long Island Iced Tea comes in when it comes down to the substitutions.

We rely a whole lot on the coke when it comes to the Iced Tea but in this case, we will toss it out, and in its stead, we will use raspberry liqueur. I have to admit that this substitution does a lot to enhance the flavors in the drink and what could go wrong with more alcohol in play?

I am not new when it comes to drinking cocktails, but over the years and after some incidences, I have come to know my limits. And it helps because I can avoid making a fool of myself when in the company of strangers as well as family. When it comes to a Long Island Iced Tea, I can comfortably take three drinks in two hours.

That’s quite okay for me as I can hold my own. However, I only do that in the house where I am sure that I will not run into trouble owing to the effects of alcohol.

So when I say that the grateful dead drink is way more potent than the Long Island Iced Tea, you have a pretty good idea of how many I can take in a night when out in company. Yep, it’s not a lot.

But that’s a good thing when you want to drink one cocktail and head for the door.

I save the grateful dead for my friends who love to show off how much alcohol they can hold. They fill up on food first before showcasing their drinking skills, and it almost always ends the same way.

This drink is quite strong, and if you want to head down this route, I advise that you should eat a lot before taking your first sip. And keep it easy between sips as it takes effect pretty fast. So for anyone willing to test how deep the waters are, the grateful dead shot is the way to go.

What Do You Need for This Recipe?

By now, I am sure you have braced yourself accordingly for the thrill that lies ahead. All that remains now is getting the right ingredients, and this is the point where things begin to get interesting. In your shopping list include the following: triple sec, tequila, vodka, gin, raspberry liqueur, and sweet & sour mix.

And yes, you will need all six of the ingredients listed, so you have a pretty good idea of how crazy things are likely to get after a few cocktails. You can shop for the items if you don’t have them around. And if you are an avid bartender, the chances are high that you already have what you need right in your bar.

The thing though is that I am not kidding around when it comes to the ingredients.

I once made this drink for a couple of friends, and when I brought out the spirits, they thought that I was messing with them for fun. No, you need them all. Brace yourself; it gets good.

I know there are a lot of ingredients and a quick look at the list may have you thinking of how you can spend less money on the items. Trust me on this; do not get the cheapest stuff you can find. The cheaper you go, the less flavorful the drink will be, and though you will end up buzzed, you will miss out on much of what makes this drink such an excellent cocktail.

I’m not talking top shelf as I know that this might be too pricey. Think of the middle rack where most of the decent brands are. Whatever remains will come in handy when making cocktails in the future so nothing will go to waste.

And hey, if you do not mind splurging a little on the drinks, why not go for the best alcohol?

When it comes to the sweet and sour mix, there are two ways that you can go about this, and they all have their pros and cons. Buying the mix is easy, and you get to skip part of the preparation. That’s the advantage to this option. However, making one is way better. For one, you require a few ingredients, and thus it won’t be much of a hassle.

Secondly, you get to enjoy a batch that is fresh, ensuring that your drink boasts of rich flavors. The third reason is that you are already crafting the drink from scratch, so what’s a little mix in the way? Once I looked at all these reasons, it was easy for me to decide on making it at home.

For the mix, you will need juice from half a lime and half a lemon as well as one part sugar. Once you get these ingredients, all you need to do is mix them and just like that; you have a sweet and sour mix that will bring out the flavors in your cocktail. I find that this mix works best when made a few minutes before making the cocktail and with cold ingredients.

A tip when squeezing out the juice: start by applying pressure to the fruits before cutting them by rolling them on a hard surface a couple of times. In this way, the fruit juice will flow with ease once you cut the fruits open.

Grateful Dead Cocktail Recipe

Once you follow the recipe, you will end up with a violet-colored cocktail that will entice your guests at first glance. You will also love how smooth it is. Some people make this drink with four drinks.

Others do it with five while others go all out and use six in addition to the mixes as well as other flavors. It is quite easy to get carried away with the drinking, owing to its great taste, only to find that you drank way too much alcohol in the end.

Given the number of drinks in play, it is safe to say that one grateful dead shot equals about two to three glasses of a standard cocktail. As you enjoy the taste, be sure to keep this in mind to help you gauge how far you should go.


If you have made the Long Island iced tea , which is a favorite drink in the hot months, you know that the ingredients you need to have are rum, tequila, gin, and vodka. It tastes great but cannot compare to the grateful dead drink.

Though the latter has way more drinks in it, it is also much sweeter than the iced tea, and it is for this reason that it has become popular over the years — that; and its exciting name.

You will notice that the recipe only calls for clear spirits and the resultant mix is quite clear, save for the violet hue that comes about in the end. The color comes from the Chambord raspberry cordial.

Not only does this liqueur influence the tone of the drink but it also makes the mixture fruity. Another thing that helps with the taste is the sweet and sour mix that makes the shot tangy. Grateful Dead drinks with Chambord liqueur have a unique flavor to them that keeps people coming back for more.

There are two ways in which you can make this drink. One option involves the use of tequila while the other does not.


  • Measuring cups
  • A swizzle stick
  • Cocktail glasses
  • A small pitcher
  • Straws
  • Cherries
  • Umbrellas
  • Ice

Tequila Option

You should take about five minutes to prepare the cocktail, and the great thing is that there is no cook time. It means that you can make one cocktail after the other while entertaining your guests all the while. I will point out that accuracy in measurements goes a long way in helping you perfect the cocktail.

Sometimes, people opt to use estimations, and this can go wrong unless you are a professional bartender who prides themselves in years of experience. Also, do not take shortcuts such as doing away with the ice to pass the drinks out faster.

I find that it is better to keep people waiting for something great than to hand out poorly made cocktails, especially in hot weather.

That said, let’s break down the grateful dead drink ingredients:

  • Two ounces of sweet and sour mix
  • An ounce of tequila
  • An ounce of gin
  • An ounce of rum
  • An ounce of triple sec
  • An ounce of vodka
  • Half an ounce of raspberry cordial


Start by adding some ice cubes to a small pitcher. Medium-sized cubes are the best for this step as they will not melt fast under the heat and will keep your drink cooler for longer.

Next, add the liquors to the pitcher in the following order: rum, tequila, gin, triple sec and vodka. You can now add the sweet and sour mix to the pitcher.

Combine the ingredients and ensure that they mix evenly.

You can now pour the drink into cocktail glasses for your guests before adding the raspberry cordial into the individual glasses. When it comes to garnishing, you can do what you like best. I find that this drink tastes great with some cherries in tow. However, this is a matter of personal preference.

The No-Tequila Option

Some people prefer making this cocktail without the tequila to reduce the alcohol content. I’ve had both options and still prefer the one with tequila. Maybe it has something to do with my love for testing the limits. Who knows? Here’s the other option which also takes five minutes.


For this option, you will need:

  • Two ounces of sweet and sour mix
  • An ounce of gin
  • An ounce of vodka
  • An ounce of rum
  • An ounce of Triple Sec
  • Half an ounce of raspberry cordial
  • Quarter an ounce of sprite


Add some ice cubes to a small pitcher before adding the white liquors. Mix the ingredients before adding the sweet and sour mix.

You can now pour the drink into glasses before adding the raspberry cordial and sprite to the glasses. If you don’t have Sprite, you can always use 7UP for this step. Combine the ingredients evenly using a swizzle stick before garnishing the glasses and serving your guests.

Nutritional Facts

It is not often that I look into the nutritional makeup of cocktails, but given the number of drinks used to make this shot, I had to. The calories in grateful dead drinks amount to about three hundred and fifty to four hundred per serving. You also consume about six to eighty percent carbohydrates with each drink.


If you are serving a large crowd of people, it is much easier to mix the drinks in a pitcher before dividing them among glasses. For one person, you can easily do it in a glass. You could also replace the triple sec with blue curacao for a splash of color.

I hope you enjoyed my grateful dead drink recipe and as you enjoy the cocktails, remember to pace yourself. Thank you!


Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.

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