How To Make A Bootleg

The Bootleg is the perfect summer cocktail. We’ll show you how to make a whole batch at home.

Allegedly, the Bootleg originated at country clubs around Minneapolis during prohibition, and if you ask Minnesotans about this drink, you’ll get all sorts of responses ranging from “Wow, that brings back memories” to “I’m honestly not sure what that is.” Fortunately, even if you don’t have fond memories of sneaking out of your parents’ home to drink Bootlegs with friends, this cocktail still tastes great - and we’re excited to share it with you. It isn’t every day that you get to teach people about a regional American drink that only exists in select zip codes. A Bootleg is ideal for making at home, it’s perfect for summer, and it’s one of the very few cocktails that calls for blended mint. Here’s how to make a whole batch.

How It Tastes: Crisp, Refreshing, Like Mowing A Lawn On The First Day Of Summer

Drink If You Like: Mojitos, Gimlets

How To Make A Bootleg image

The Bootleg

You’ll Need:

  • Ice

  • Highball

  • Blender

  • 3 ounces lemon juice

  • 3 ounces lime juice

  • 6 ounces simple syrup

  • 16 ounces gin or vodka

  • 12 mint leaves

Step One: Simple Syrup

You’re going to need 6 ounces of simple syrup to make this batch - and if that sounds like a lot of sugar, keep in mind that this will yield at least eight drinks. Pretty much every other cocktail has the same amount of sugar. Now, mix equal parts warm water and white sugar to make your syrup, and add 6 ounces to a mixing bowl.

Step Two: Lemon & Lime Juice

Next, you need exactly 3 ounces of lemon and 3 ounces of lime juice. If you’re wondering how much fruit that is, it’ll probably be about 3-4 lemons and 5-6 limes. Once you have all that juice, add it to the bowl with your simple syrup.

Step Three: Freeze

You see a lot of Bootleg recipes out there that call for canned lemonade and limeade concentrate. And, while that would probably be delicious, we’re making ours from scratch. Still, we want a nice slushy consistency, so put the bowl with your lemon juice, lime juice, and simple syrup in the freezer. After one hour, give everything a stir (so it freezes evenly), then, after one more hour, take it out of the freezer. Your mixture should have the consistency of wet snow or shaved ice. Dump it in a blender.

Step Four: Mint

Get a small handful of mint (12 leaves should be sufficient), and throw that in your blender as well.

Step Five: Booze

You can use just about anything in a Bootleg, and that’s one of the many beautiful things about this drink. (It also has trace amounts of Vitamin A.) We like to use gin, but vodka, tequila, rum, pisco, mezcal, and bourbon all work as well. Whatever you choose, add 16 ounces to your blender.

Step Six: Ice

You also want to add a small handful of ice. Five standard-sized cubes should be perfect. This will give the drink a slightly slushier texture, and it’ll also help a bit with dilution.

Step Seven: Blend, Top With Seltzer, And Enjoy

Blend everything until the ice cubes are broken up, the cocktail looks smooth, and the mint has been turned into green confetti. It’ll take less than a minute. Finally, put some ice in a highball, fill it halfway with this mixture, and top with club soda. The result will be a thing of immense beauty. Poems will, undoubtedly, be written about this drink of yours, and you should do your best to enjoy it on a patch of grass while looking up at the stars and wondering what everyone in Minnesota is currently doing. If you don’t have a patch of grass, sub in a fire escape.

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