Bootleg Cocktail Recipe

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Bootleg Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Bootleg cocktail is a refreshing and classic drink that dates back to the Prohibition era in the United States. It was a popular choice among those who frequented speakeasies and illegal bars, as it was easy to make and used readily available ingredients.

  • The name 'Bootleg' comes from the practice of smuggling alcohol in one's boots during Prohibition.
  • The cocktail was often made with homemade or poor-quality spirits, as these were more accessible during this time.
  • Today, the Bootleg cocktail is enjoyed by those who appreciate its historical significance and refreshing taste.

How Bootleg Tastes?

The Bootleg cocktail is a well-balanced and refreshing drink with a slightly sweet and tangy flavor. It has a light, crisp taste with a hint of mint and citrus, making it perfect for a warm summer day or a relaxing evening.

Interesting facts about Bootleg

  • The Bootleg cocktail is sometimes called the 'Minnesota Bootleg' because of its popularity in the state.
  • The original recipe often used gin, but modern versions can be made with vodka or rum as well.
  • The Bootleg cocktail is sometimes served in a mason jar, as a nod to its Prohibition-era roots.


A few good options for Bootleg are:

  • Grey Goose
  • Belvedere
  • Khor
  • Smirnoff

Learn everything on which Vodka to choose

A few good options for Bootleg are:

  • Brockmans
  • Silent Pool Gin
  • Hendrick's Gin

Learn everything on which Gin to choose


The zesty punch of a whole lemon awakens the taste buds and lends a bright acidity that balances the sweetness of the sugar. It's like the sun in the sky of our cocktail – without it, things get pretty dull. Use less, and you might miss out on that citrusy high note; use more, and you'll pucker more than a set of bagpipes.

Mary Mitkina

Mint leaves

10 mint leaves are like the chorus of a catchy song; they bring in that fresh, cool vibe that makes you want to hit replay. Too few, and you're left with a one-hit wonder. Too many, and it's like being lost in a minty forest. Balance is key for that refreshing harmony.

Alex Green


1 tbsp of sugar is like your cocktail's best friend, bringing out the brighter sides of everyone else in the mix. Skipping it is like forgetting to smile in a photo – the result is unnecessarily bitter. But beware of overdoing it, or you'll end up with a drink that's more 'toothache' than 'toothsome'.

Emma Rose

Club soda

Pouring in 4 oz of club soda adds that sparkle and fizz, elevating our Bootleg from flat to fabulous. It gives a bubbly personality to an otherwise still concoction. Imagine a party without music – yep, that's a cocktail without carbonation.

Mary Mitkina

Gin or vodka

The choice of 2 oz of gin or vodka is like choosing between a black tie or a smart casual vibe. Gin will introduce a botanical complexity, while vodka keeps it simple and sleek. Fly without it, and your Bootleg's name won't clear through customs.

Alex Green


1 cup of ice is the cool customer that chills everything down, making each sip smooth and refreshing. Ice-less is a bold choice for the adventurous sipper but brace yourself for a cocktail that's as warm as your last breakup talk.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Bootleg Drink

  1. In a shaker, muddle the lemon, mint leaves, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the mint is fragrant.
  2. Add the gin or vodka and ice to the shaker.
  3. Shake well until the mixture is chilled.
  4. Strain the cocktail into a glass filled with ice.
  5. Top with club soda and gently stir to combine.
  6. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a lemon wheel.

Pro Tips

  • Muddle the mint leaves gently to avoid bitterness.
  • Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
  • Chill your glass before serving for an extra refreshing drink.

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese platters: Particularly those featuring creamy cheeses such as goat cheese or brie, as the citrus and mint notes from the Bootleg cocktail cut through the richness.
  • Seafood dishes: Especially lighter fare like shrimp cocktail or ceviche, which complement the refreshing qualities of the drink.
  • Grilled vegetables: The herbal notes of mint can pair well with the char and natural sweetness of grilled zucchini or bell peppers.

Main Courses

  • Poultry: Grilled chicken or turkey with citrusy or herbed dressings will match well with the Bootleg's own zesty and herbal flavors.
  • Pasta dishes: Opt for pasta with lighter sauces such as pesto or primavera, avoiding heavy tomato or cream-based sauces that might overwhelm the drink's delicate balance.

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What you could change in Bootleg

  • Gin or Vodka: You can also use rum or tequila.
  • Sugar: Honey or agave syrup can be used as a natural sweetener.
  • Club Soda: Sparkling water or tonic water can be used as a substitute.

Explore all drinks starting with B here

And of course - twists🍹

Cucumber Bootleg

Replace mint with cucumber Instead of mint, use several slices of cucumber muddled with the lemon and sugar. This twist offers a more spa-like, hydrating experience. The cucumber's crisp coolness plays against the sharpness of the lemon, creating a refreshing, garden-fresh variation.

Spicy Bootleg

Add a chili twist Muddle a slice of jalapeño or a pinch of cayenne pepper with the lemon and mint. This daring alteration will dance on your palette with a heat that tickles rather than burns. It's like turning your cocktail into a firework – unexpected bursts of excitement!

Bootleg Refresher

Add fresh berries Muddle in a handful of seasonal berries along with the mint and lemon. This infusion of summer fruit adds a playful sweetness and a blush of color that'll have your taste buds singing like a choir in the sun. It's a berry, berry good time in a glass!

In case you forgot basics how to make Bootleg

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

The key to proper muddling is to crush the ingredients just enough to release their flavors and not overdo it. Over-muddling can result in a bitter taste, especially with herbs.

Learn everything on how to muddle

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Bootleg

What is the origin of the term 'cocktail'?

The term 'cocktail' is believed to have originated in the United States in the early 19th century. Some theories suggest it comes from the practice of mixing spirits with water, sugar, and bitters, resembling the colorful tail of a cock, while others believe it's tied to the French word 'coquetel', a type of drink served in an egg cup.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Bootleg cocktail?

Yes. You can create a non-alcoholic version of the Bootleg by replacing the gin or vodka with a non-alcoholic spirit, or simply skipping the alcohol entirely. The lemon, mint, sugar, and club soda contribute to most of the flavor.

Are there any other cocktails famous from the Prohibition era?

Absolutely. In addition to the Bootleg, other famous cocktails from the Prohibition era include the Bee's Knees, the Sidecar, and the Mary Pickford, to name a few.

Is the Bootleg cocktail suitable for all types of occasions?

Yes, the Bootleg cocktail, with its refreshing taste and historical roots, can be served at a range of occasions, from casual gatherings to formal events.

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