Memorial Day weekend snuck up on me again. Do you all have big plans? I hope so. I’m imagining that you will be gallivanting around a lake, perhaps sipping cocktails on a yacht or at minimum, sipping clinking drinks on a patio whilst rocking a pair of white skinny jeans.
Maybe I can accomplish the latter, but I’ll probably spend most of the weekend working, as usual. I have some ambitious blog projects in the works that I can’t wait to share with you all.
This “bootleg cocktail” will definitely be my summer drink and I hope it becomes yours. I discovered the bootleg at Brit’s Pub in Minneapolis when I went out for an after-dinner drink with Erin and Taylor. It was a chilly spring night, but I couldn’t resist the bar’s signature drink, which was a summery-sounding lemon and mint drink. I ordered mine with bourbon for some warmth and, on first sip, knew that I had to recreate it on the blog.
Basically, if spiked lemonade and a mojito collided in a blender, you would end up with a bootleg. Fresh mint leaves are blended together with fresh lemon and lime juice and natural sweetener. Most bootleg mixes use frozen lemonade/limeade concentrate, but I made mine fresh. Once you have your bootleg mix, just fill a glass with ice and pour in equal parts mix, liquor of choice and fizzy club soda.
You definitely want to serve this drink with a straw, which will serve as a stirring device and help you avoid the awkward mint-bits-stuck-on-teeth thing. I recommend blending up your mint more thoroughly than I did in the pictures, but even then, you’ll need to give the drink a stir every now to redistribute the mint. That’s part of the drink’s appeal, really. It’s a clinky summer sipper.
Limes are in short supply right now, so feel free to add additional lemon juice instead of the lime. My handheld citrus juicer gets every last bit of juice out of lemons and limes, so none goes to waste. Be careful with this drink—the bold lemon-lime flavor masks the taste of alcohol so well, it’s easy to forget that you’re sipping on a strong cocktail!
The Bootleg Cocktail
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 10 minutes
- Yield: 4
- Category: Cocktail
The Bootleg hails from Minneapolis. It’s a refreshing cocktail made with naturally sweetened lemon-limeade blended with mint, plus gin, vodka or bourbon and club soda. Feel free to adjust the amount of sweetener and mint to suit your preferences. You can omit the liquor for a delightful, minty lemonade.
Bootleg mix: lemon/limeade blended with mint, yields enough mix for 4 drinks
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 large lemons, juiced)
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 1 large or 2 medium limes, juiced) or additional lemon juice
- ¼ cup light agave nectar or cane sugar or honey*
- 2 packed tablespoons fresh mint leaves
Per drink (note: 2 ounces is ¼ cup)
- 2 ounces bootleg mix
- 2 ounces gin, vodka or bourbon
- 2 ounces club soda
- To make the bootleg mix: Juice the lemons and limes into a liquid measuring cup. Add sweetener. Pour the juice and sweetener into a blender. Add 2 firmly packed tablespoons of fresh mint leaves. Blend thoroughly, until the mint is is broken into teeny tiny bits.
- To make the drinks: Fill cocktail glasses with ice. For each drink, pour in 2 ounces of your bootleg mix, plus 2 ounces of your liquor of choice and top with 2 ounces club soda. Serve with a straw, which doubles as a stirring device.
Recipe inspired by Brit’s Pub in Minneapolis. Recipe created with guidance from The Bootleg: Minnesota’s signature country-club cocktail on City Pages.
*I ran out of agave nectar as I was making these drinks, so I used 2 tablespoons agave nectar and 2 tablespoons cane sugar. You could also use honey, but your drinks will have a strong honey flavor. I preferred a more neutral sweetener here.
Storage tip: The bootleg mix will keep for a couple of days in the refrigerator, but is best served immediately.
▸ Nutrition Information