There is something magical about summer in Minnesota. Blue skies, lakes, farmers markets and warm temperatures. It is such a beautiful time (minus the mosquitoes) that I find it difficult to stay inside when the sun is shining. After a busy day of activities, I look forward to relaxing on the patio before dinner. The kids play in the yard and my husband and I have a drink while dinner is on the grill. Pure bliss. One of our summertime favorite drinks is the Bootleg. It is fresh, citrusy and the perfect way to use some of the abundant mint in my garden. If I could get everything to grow as well as my mint, my garden would rock!
A Bootleg is a cocktail staple at any country club in Minnesota, but no one will give you the recipe. Not even a hint. You can guess at the ingredients: lemon, lime, mint, club soda….sounds simple, right? It is – once you get the proportions down (which took us many enjoyable tries. No complaining here!) Like your drinks a little sweeter? Add a little more mix. Prefer them a little drier? Add more club soda or another splash of gin. Gin not your thing? Vodka and rum are great options. The Bootleg is a great way to serve the same drink to many people while being able to add a personal touch to suit their alcoholic tastes.
So bring on the patio party and serve some Bootlegs. I know we are so ready to enjoy our oh-too-short summer. One of the best things about summer in Minnesota? It makes you forget winter pretty quickly. I’ll drink to that!
- 1 can lemonade concentrate
- 1 can limeade concentrate
- 1 cup packed mint plus additional for garnish
- 1½ ounces Gin (vodka or rum can also be used)
- 3 ounces Bootleg mix
- splash of club soda
- Mint garnish
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until mint is chopped finely. Pour into jar and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to let flavors develop. The chopped mint will rise to the top and it settles, I scoop most of it off before mixing the cocktails.
- Pour Gin and Bootleg mix into low ball glass filled with ice. Top with club soda, stir and garnish with mint.