Bootleg Cocktail
11 months ago

The Bootleg cocktail: a Minnesota tradition

It’s our state’s signature cocktail, according to local country clubs (and Buzzfeed!). But who exactly invented the Bootleg? That is one of our state’s great mysteries!


Originally created during Prohibition, one of this cocktail’s defining characteristics is its ability to completely mask the taste of alcohol, making it a delicious – and dangerous – drink!

Many local establishments claim to be the originators of the Bootleg. One thing’s for sure: the Bootleg is deeply imbedded in Twin Cities culinary culture.

These days, the Bootleg is a best-selling drink made from very simple ingredients: vodka, citrus and fresh mint. Some bartenders use fresh-squeezed juice, while others use lemonade or a lemonade-limeade blend. The cocktail is traditionally served in a pint glass filled with ice. Try it for yourself!

1 serving


For the Bootleg mix:
5 cups water, divided
2 cups sugar
1 cup fresh lime juice (timesaver: use bottled fresh lime juice)
20 fresh mint leaves

For each cocktail:
2 ounces Bootleg mix
2 ounces vodka
2 ounces club soda
Mint sprigs and lime slices, for garnish


  1. In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar. Heat and stir until sugar dissolves to make a simple syrup. Remove from heat.
  2. In a blender, add simple syrup, 3 cups of water, lime juice and mint leaves. Blend until combined and mint leaves are broken down.
  3. To serve, add 2 ounces Bootleg mix and 2 ounces vodka to a glass. Top with 2 ounces club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig and a slice of lime.
The Bootleg