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3 min read

Minnesota Original: The Real Story Behind the Bootlegger 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—but there is little documentation (prohibition meant few bartenders were bragging openly about their new creations). One origin story theory is that bootlegged booze tasted so bad that they had to add several strong flavors to make it tolerable.  Aren’t you glad you didn't live back then? 

Today we have lots of quality options to mix up a good bootlegger—whether you prefer yours with whiskeyvodka, or gin. If you want to keep it truly a Minnesota made concoction consider Panther WhiskeyDu Nord Socialspirits Prominence Gin, or Prairie Organic Vodka.

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 bootlegger mix, and 2 parts sparkling water or club soda to top it off. Don't forget the mint sprig to garnish. Cheers!

If you're looking for other Minnesota originals - check out our list of Minnesota wineries. More of a beer fan? We've got a list of Minnesota breweries for you, too!

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