There’s nothing like summer in Minnesota, especially when it involves a Bootleg Cocktail. It’s the perfect way to quench your thirst on a hot summer day.Bootleg Cocktail

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 Cocktail. 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!

Bootleg Cocktail

Prep time
Total time
A citrusy, minty Bootleg cocktail that can be made with gin, vodka or rum.
Serves: 6
Bootleg Mix
  • 1 can lemonade concentrate
  • 1 can limeade concentrate
  • 1 cup packed mint plus additional for garnish
Bootleg Cocktail
  • 1½ ounces Gin (vodka or rum can also be used)
  • 3 ounces Bootleg mix
  • splash of club soda
  • Mint garnish
To make the Bootleg Mix:
  1. 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.
To make Bootleg Cocktail:
  1. Pour Gin and Bootleg mix into low ball glass filled with ice. Top with club soda, stir and garnish with mint.


    • Lisa says

      Hi Cathy, It’s a great refreshing summer drink, so yummy. I’m making them tonight! Have a great weekend!

  1. paul says

    we actually snagged the (a) recipe from a relative bartender at woodhill,

    what you have plus
    6oz lemon juice
    1/4 cup powdered sugar

    we also have found that if you briefly freeze the mint leaves they shatter very finely in a food processor.

    you are welcome 😉

  2. says

    Oh my…made a batch of the boot leg mix and this certainly trumps the mojitos that have been my summer staple! My boys even enjoyed a ‘virgin’ bootleg while we all sat out on the porch. I like the idea of freezing the mint leaves & will try that next time. Thanks for all of the great recipes – LOVE the site! t has inspired me to get out of my food rut.

    • Lisa says

      Hi Gary, Not a stupid question at all! In fact, you do NOT add water to the mix-just use the concentrate full strength. Cheers!

  3. steve b says

    This is a darn good recipe, But growing up at Oak Ridge
    C.C. in hopkins. Darrel S. The main bartenders recipe has been tried and true for over 30 years. Follow above recipe, just add 1/2 can frozen O.J. and 2 Tbl corn syrup….mix well, put in Tupperware and freeze over night. Add 1-2 Tbl to each glass. Add vodka, muddle to mix/melt, finish with club soda…..enjoy

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