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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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
- Raspberry Palomas– Garnish with Lemon®
- Frozen Peach Champagne Cocktail– Spend with Pennies
- Aperol Gin Cocktails– Garnish with Lemon®
- Prosecco Margaritas– A Farmgirl’s Dabbles
- Elderflower Vodka Sodas– Garnish with Lemon®
- Watermelon Gin Punch– Garnish with Lemon®
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.
What are you waiting for? Hosting happy hour couldn’t be any easier or more delicious.
We’ll drink to that!
- 1 - 12 ounce can lemonade concentrate
- 1 - 12 ounce can limeade concentrate
- 1 cup packed mint plus additional for garnish
- 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:
- 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:
- 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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Serving Size:6 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 156Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 9mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 0gSugar: 26gProtein: 0g
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.