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 1x
- 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
Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health
i dont have big plans but i could use some cocktails though. i love minty-lemon combination very much.
I love drinking cocktails with my friends. This one looks really great!
The Juicy Luy may have been invented at the 5-8 Club in Mpls but the Bootleg was created at The University Club in St Paul. Most other clubs like Somerset, Minnikahda and Woodhill might also make the claim but the U Club is probably the real deal.
Good to know, thank you!
This is my kind of drink! Love that it’s inspired by MPLS!!
This totally sounds like my kind of drink – I love the sourness of the lemon/lime combo and the freshness of the mint. Enjoy the long weekend and I hope you get a little bit of time at least to relax : )
Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen
My long weekend involves working as well, but if I can sneak one (or two!) of these cocktails in, it will definitely be a perfect weekend!
dishing up the dirt
We’ll be working at the farm all weekend but I think a cocktail in the dirt is in order. These sound fabulous!
I’d say you definitely deserve a cocktail, Andrea!
This sounds delightful! The hard part is deciding between whether to use gin, vodka, or bourbon! Can’t wait to try this.
We’ll have to make them at girls’ night soon!
Helen @ Scrummy Lane
Sounds so refreshing. I love mojitos, so I’m sure this would be a winner for me, too. Pinning on my Pinterest drinks board!
If you love mojitos, you’ll definitely love this drink! Thanks for the pin, Helen.
YUM! Perfect drink for this weekend!
Oh fantastic. It’s bank holiday weekend across the pond, but I didn’t think ahead and now I’m forced to slum it with wine. Cocktails are my favorite thing in summertime.
Perfect summer cocktail!! I know what you mean about cocktails being deceptively strong sometimes :) I will definitely be making it, but sipping it slow!!
*sipping it slowly. sorry i’m OCD about my grammar ;)
This sounds perfect for the long holiday weekend! And, lucky me, I have homegrown mint and lemons to make it with. Hooray!
I have a friend who makes these every summer. I have never met anyone else who has heard of them until now. Is it a Minnesota thing? ( I live in Saint Paul).
Yes, I think bootlegs are a Minnesota/Minneapolis thing!
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
I can definitely see why this is your summer drink. It looks FAB!
No doubt this will be made here over the summer, it’s the perfect drink. Love it!
Your human’s blog is a work of art from the first scroll-down-a-page to the last! You’re both to be congratulated. Oh. And. Cheers!
Thanks, Rob! :)
Farah @ The Cooking Jar
I seriously forgot Memorial weekend so hard, so I’m rushing to try and make a post for it, although relaxing this weekend sounds so good. But! Eating the stuff post post will be good too!
Five O'clock Shallots
That is my kind of drink! Beautiful pictures!
Matt @ Plating Pixels
I happened to have fresh mint growing and tried this out with Gin. Very classy and tasty. Thanks!
That’s great to hear, Matt! So glad you enjoyed the drink.
That drink sounds perfect for a hot summer day! I love any drink with lemon/lime…it’s so refreshing! This is going to become one of my go-to summer cocktails! :)
Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life
Oh hello! We are at the beginning of winter here, but I can definitely see this drink becoming popular in our house! All that Vitamin C has to help ward off winter colds, right?
Oh yes, definitely!
Brian @ A Thought For Food
I’m constantly recreating drinks I’ve tried at bars. What can I say, I’m a sucker for a good cocktail. And I know what you mean about the dangers of these libations where the alcohol is masked by other deliciousness. That doesn’t stop me from having one or two more. Ok, who am I kidding. It’s at least three.
Cheers, Brian! Wish we could clink a few of these drinks in real life.
This is exactly the kind of cocktail I love…a little tart, a little sweet and so refreshing. I’m bookmarking this to make next weekend.
Hi Dara! Lovely to hear from you. I think you’ll love this cocktail!
Mojitos are usually my summer go to, but I could totally be down with this bourbon number. Such a fun change from the norm!
Tessa | Balancing Active
I’ve never had the drink you’re referencing but love Brit’s! Minneapolis native right here. I miss it so–hopefully I’ll be heading back for a bit this summer. Will have to try it when I’m in town!
Oh, do try it! It’s a little sweet and a little tart and totally refreshing.
You can find so many great cocktails in Minneapolis! This looks great for sipping on a deck or patio this summer.
I fell in love with the photo and now that I have read your blog and discovered this is inspired by Brits, I will be making this a date night in Wisconsin for us now. =) I should have known you are in MPLS! everything is so fresh and seasonal.
Hey Betsy! I’m sorry, I should have responded sooner. I hope you love the cocktail. I actually live in Kansas City, by way of Oklahoma. My college roommate lives in Minneapolis, though, so I visit as often as I can!
What a great idea! I already make the cocktail citron & mint or with basilic but I never put the alcohool in. It seems the perfect cocktail for summer ;)
Lemons and Limes make the world go round! Looks like a perfect summer quencher!
Tried bourbon and white rum, great combination for both! Also skipped the mint on a batch and added tequila, makes a darn good Margarita which is the national drink in our house. Thanks!
OMG just reminded of last summer bringing this to a party and having so much fun! Great summertime drink.
Thanks, Christine for the star review.
This is such a delicious and refreshing summer cocktail! My favorite summer drink.
Thank you for sharing, Tina.
I have a bad cold so I mixed some lemon juice green tea and some sugar some bootleg I drink it so far it loosens my cold
It’s a super refreshing drink, but I don’t know how much mint flavor you get drinking with a straw, especially when the mint is prone to floating on the top. I blend mine with a ~1/8 cup (depending on how big the batch is) egg white which adds enough body to mostly keep the mint in suspension.
The cheater method is to just use undiluted limeade and lemonade concentrate. I’ve experimented with an express/small batch version made with reallime and reallemon and liquid mint extract, but it’s never quite right. It’s also tough to get it right without a ton of sugar no matter what you start with, which is what keeps me from making them often — just too much sugar.
Any suggestions to use instead of mint?
Hi! Mint is really the best option here. You could omit, but missing some of the refreshing elements of this cocktail.