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3 min read

Minnesota Original: The Real Story Behind the Bootleg Drink

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Legend has it the Bootlegger cocktail was born at country clubs during the height of prohibition. It is the perfect, summery, post-round drink to sip on as you exaggerate how well you played (or try to forget how poorly you shot).  Minnesota is filled with fantastic golf course options, so it makes sense the bootlegger is our unofficial official state cocktail.

People have gone looking for who was the first person to actually mix up this sweet and sour minty refreshment in a glass. One origin story theory is that bootlegged booze tasted so bad that they had to add several strong flavors to make it tolerable, but there is little documentation (prohibition meant few bartenders were bragging openly about their new creations).

This is something that the Haskell’s original founders knew about all too well. Former boxer turned bootlegger, Benny Haskell, was one of Minneapolis’s most well-known bootleggers during the early 1930s. Once prohibition was overturned by the 21st amendment in 1934, Benny had racked up too many encounters with law enforcement to be able to open his own liquor store, so Fritzi Haskell (Benny’s wife) stepped up to the plate, put the business in her name, and Haskell’s was born!

One of our best-sellng products to date is actually the bootleg mix made by Minnesota-based company Summer Lakes Beverage. Simply mix it up with your favorite whiskeyvodka, or gin for one of the most refreshing cocktails you’ll try. If you want to keep it truly a Minnesota made concoction, consider Panther WhiskeyDu Nord Socialspirits Prominence Gin, or Prairie Organic Vodka. If you want to try mixing one up from scratch, try following our recipe below!

Bootleg or Bootlegger Drink

  • 2–3 bunches of chopped mint, stems removed, plus a mint sprig for garnish
  • ¼  cup simple syrup
  • 2 oz. whiskey, vodka, or gin
  • 1 can frozen limeade
  • 1 can frozen lemonade
  • Water
  • Club soda to top

Combine lemonade, limeade, and chopped mint in a blender and blend. Add simple syrup and blend more. This is now your homemade bootlegger mix. To make the drink, fill a tall glass with ice and add 2 parts booze, 2 parts of your bootleg mix, and 2 parts sparkling water or club soda to top it off. Don't forget the mint sprig to garnish. Cheers!


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