Bootleg Cocktail Recipe

by | Jul 2, 2020 | All, Batch Cocktails, Gin, Liqueurs, Rum, Vodka

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.

This post was originally published in 2014 and updated in 2020.

Bootleg Cocktails in low ball glasses garnished with fresh mint and lemon slices on a white background.

Summer is a great time to get out of your cocktail rut and one of our summertime favorite drinks is the Bootleg Cocktail

Have you ever had one?

It is fresh, citrusy and the perfect way to use some of the abundant mint growing in my garden.

Top dowm image of Bootleg cocktails in a silver tray with lemon wedge, mint leaves and lime slices for garnish.

What is a Bootleg Cocktail? I’ve never heard of it. 

If you aren’t from Minnesota you probably wonder what in the world a bootleg cocktail is. If you are from here, you are convinced you know exactly where the original bootleg cocktail recipe was poured.

This recipe needs to go to the top of your must-make list. Trust me.

A Bootleg Cocktail is a 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!)

Bootleg Cocktail Mix Ingredients

  • Frozen Lemonade Mix
  • Frozen Limeade Mix
  • Mint
  • Club Soda

Like your drinks a little sweeter? Add a little more mix.

Prefer them a little drier? Add more club soda or another splash of alcohol.

low ball glass filled with ice and mint leaves and bootleg cocktails. On a silver tray with a yellow straw.

How did the Bootlegger get its name?

No one is quite sure, but we know it was during prohibition when the bootlegged booze taste needed to be covered up. And we also know that every single country club in Minnesota has their own (best) version of it.

What equipment do I need to make this cocktail?

Not a lot, but these few items make it much easier.

  •  A good blender. Now I know not everyone can splurge on a top-tier blender, but I highly suggest you save up your birthday gift cards because they make a huge difference in how quickly you can pull together one of these minty cocktails.
  • I own Blendtec and love it, but many people are also thrilled with their Vitamix blenders. These high powered blenders do a much better job of tackling that mint and pulverizing it so you don’t end up with green things stuck in your teeth.
  • We forego old school traditional bar jiggers and always use these OXO Liquid Measuring Beakers. They are easy to read and have multiple sizes to take the guesswork out of measuring smaller amounts.

Any bartender knows that proper proportions make or break a cocktail.

Single Bootleg Cocktail in a low ball glass on a white background. the drink has a yellow and white straw in it and is garnished with fresh lime wedges and fresh mint leaves.

What kind of alcohol do you use in this drink recipe?

Whenever you order a bootleg, the next question is always gin, vodka or rum? 

I prefer mine with gin, but don’t worry if you aren’t a gin lover like me. Vodka and rum are both delicious 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 individual tastes.

Nonalcoholic Bootleg Cocktail

Not everyone likes to drink alcohol but that doesn’t mean they need to miss out on the fun cocktails. This drink is a snap to make nonalcoholic for anyone to enjoy. Simply put 3 ounces of bootleg mix in a pint glass filled with ice, top with club soda, stir and serve! 

Don’t forget the garnish! We love to use lemon slices, lime wedges or fresh mint leaves to add the finishing touch.

Bootleg Cocktails in low ball glasses with fresh mint leaves and lemon wedges for garnish.

How to Make a Pitcher of Bootlegs

Making a batch of bootlegs is a snap. The recipe below will make 8 bootleg cocktails

  • One can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • One can frozen limeade concentrate
  • 20 mint leaves
  • Club soda
  • 12 ounces vodka, rum or gin

Its a simple ratio 1 part alcohol/2 parts bootleg mix top with a splash of club soda and garnish with a mint leaf! 

Best enjoyed with friends on a deck for a summer happy hour. 

So bring on the patio party and make a batch of bootleg mix to soak up every last bit of time with friends and family. I know we are so ready to enjoy our oh-too-short, but magical summer weather.

One of the best things about summer in Minnesota? It makes you forget winter pretty quickly.

Favorite Summer Cocktails

Single bootleg cocktail on the rocks in an old fashioned glass garnished with fresh mint and lime wedges.

Best Happy Hour Snacks

Happy hour isn’t complete without the addition of some tasty nibbles too nosh on. Here are some of our go-to summer bites:

  • Caprese Bites its a caprese salad on a stick, everything about it scream summer!
  • Healthy Avocado Dip– Just say no to boring dill dip. The smoky avocado cumin yogurt dip is a great way to increase your veggie intake.
  • Avocado Feta Salsa– Avocado, tomatoes and feta cheese tossed in a olive oil/vinegar/herb dressing. Need we say more?
  • Layered Greek Dip– This Mediterranean spin on the 7 layer dip is filled with all of the greek flavor you want. Bonus points for being healthy!
  • Bacon Cream Cheese Bites– Crispy bacon bites filled with cream cheese and chives. One bite and you will fall in love.
low ball glass filled with ice and mint leaves and bootleg cocktails. On a silver tray with a yellow straw.

What are you waiting for? Hosting happy hour couldn’t be any easier or more delicious. 

We’ll drink to that!


Yield: 6 ounces

Bootleg Cocktail

Bootleg Cocktails in low ball glasses garnished with fresh mint and lemon slices on a white background.

A citrusy, minty Bootleg cocktail that can be made with gin, vodka or rum.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes


Bootleg Mix:

  • 1 - 12 ounce can lemonade concentrate
  • 1 - 12 ounce can limeade concentrate
  • 1 cup packed mint plus additional for garnish

Bootleg Cocktail:

  • 1 1/2 ounces Gin (vodka or rum can also be used)
  • 3 ounces Bootleg mix
  • splash of club soda
  • Mint for 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.


The bootleg mix will make 12 cocktails.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

6 ounces

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 156Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 9mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 0gSugar: 26gProtein: 0g

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Bootleg Cocktails are citrus-filled, refreshing summer cocktails that can be made with gin, vodka, rum or even non-alcoholic! Make one for yourself or a pitcher for your next BBQ.

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About Lisa

Hi, I’m Lisa! Looking for the party? It’s probably at my house. Nothing brings me more joy than sharing good food with friends and family. That and a seriously good cocktail.


  1. Avatar

    Well I love the name that’s for sure. I have to look for this Bootleg mix and the drink sounds amazingly refreshing!!!

    • Avatar

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

    • Avatar

      Thanks, Steph! Let me know what you think! Enjoy your weekend.

  2. Avatar

    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 😉

    • Avatar

      Ooh, Thanks! Will give it a try-love the idea of slightly freezing the mint. Cheers!

  3. Avatar

    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.

    • Avatar

      Thanks, Tina! Hope your summer is going well 🙂 We need to get together and drink one of these bootlegs 🙂

  4. Avatar

    Hi Lisa, this is probably a stupid question, but I assume you add water to the mix as well right?


    • Avatar

      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!

  5. Avatar

    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

  6. Avatar

    Gin is my favorite! I have to make this as soon as I can find some Bootleg. I’ve never heard of it. I love your little whisk too!

  7. Avatar

    Could this be put into a pitcher for a group so don’t have to make each one individually? Any suggestions? Thanks

    • Avatar

      Hi Suzanne, I make the bootleg mix and then mix 2 parts bootleg mix to one part gin, vodka or rum and keep chilled. Serve over ice and add club soda before serving. Hope that helps. Cheers!

  8. Avatar

    How many drinks can be served from this recipe? How large of a can of lemonade & limeade? We are making for a big group – when can I add the soda – I would like to have it ready a while ahead if possible. I’ve had it and it was very refreshing.

    • Avatar

      Hi Mary, You can make 8 cocktails with this recipe. I added the size of the lemonade and limeade cans to the recipe, I use 12 ounce cans. I add the soda right before everyone comes or as I am serving them. That way people can add a little bit more if they want a lighter drink. This is such a great cocktail for a group! Enjoy!


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