Bartender Robert “Rosebud” Butt, formerly working at the Oak Beach Inn in Hampton Bays, Long Island, claims to be the creator of the Long Island Iced Tea, thinking it up as an entry in a cocktail contest to create a new mixed drink with triple sec in 1972.
A very similar concoction drink is claimed to have been invented in the 1920s during Prohibition in the United States by a character called Charles “Old Man” Bishop in a local community named Long Island in Kingsport, Tennessee. Bishop’s mixture was then perfected by Ransom Bishop, Old Man Bishop's son. This drink included whiskey and maple syrup, and various quantities of the five liquors, rather than the modern one with cola and five equal portions of the five liquors.
Butt’s employment spot The Oak Beach Inn, commonly referred to by the abbreviation OBI, was a Long Island nightclub located in Oak Beach, on Jones Beach Island in the village of Bay Shore, in the Town of Babylon, Suffolk County, New York.
In 1969, Robert Matherson purchased it as a waterfront barrier island restaurant and converted it into an enormously popular (and later somewhat controversial) nightclub. In later years Matherson opened four more OBI nightclubs, all five clubs being located on Long Island and named according to their geographic location.
Over the years Matherson got involved in many disputes with the local community over issues such as noise, parking, and traffic. Finally, in 1999, Matherson sold the property and moved to Key West, Florida to open a new club of the same name. The original Oak Beach Inn was torn down in 2003.
Robert Butt passed away in 2014.