Bootlegger Cocktail Recipe

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Bootlegger Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:40

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 Bootlegger cocktail is a Prohibition-era classic. During the Prohibition, when alcohol was illegal, people had to get creative with their drinks. The Bootlegger cocktail was born out of this necessity, using whatever ingredients were available to mask the taste of poorly made alcohol. It's a strong, robust cocktail that's perfect for those who appreciate a good, stiff drink.

How Bootlegger Tastes?

The Bootlegger is a strong, robust cocktail with a sweet, fruity undertone. The bourbon gives it a rich, full-bodied flavor, while the lemon juice adds a refreshing tartness. The simple syrup balances out the acidity, making it a well-rounded cocktail.

Interesting facts about Bootlegger

  • The Bootlegger cocktail is named after the illegal alcohol smugglers during the Prohibition era.
  • It's traditionally made with bourbon, but can also be made with other types of whiskey.
  • Despite its strong flavor, it's a surprisingly easy cocktail to make.



The bourbon is the star of the show; its rich, vanilla and caramel notes form the backbone of this cocktail. Adding 2 oz creates a perfect balance - any less and you might not feel its warmth, any more could overshadow the other ingredients. Without it, well, you'd just have lemonade!

Emma Rose

Lemon Juice

Fresh lemon juice brings brightness and tang to cut through the sweetness — think of it as the sassy friend who lightens the mood. 1 oz is the sweet spot; too much tartness can make your lips pucker, too little and the cocktail might get too cozy with the bourbon sweetness.

Alex Green

Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is the peacemaker here, bringing harmony by sweetening the deal just enough with its 1 oz contribution. If left out, you'd have a very sour drink; too much and you'd be in a sugar rush. It's the simple things that make life sweet, right?

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Bootlegger Drink

  1. Fill a shaker with ice.
  2. Add the bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup.
  3. Shake well until the outside of the shaker becomes frosty.
  4. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Pro Tips

  • Use a high-quality bourbon for the best flavor.
  • Make sure to shake the cocktail until the shaker becomes frosty to ensure it's well-chilled.
  • Use fresh lemon juice for the best taste.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

When thinking of food pairings for the Bootlegger cocktail, consider dishes that complement the warmth and slight sweetness of bourbon and the brightness of lemon.

  • Barbecue: The smoky flavors of barbecue ribs or pulled pork marry well with the rich bourbon base.
  • Cheese: A board of strong, aged cheeses like cheddar can stand up to the bold flavors in the drink.
  • Spicy Foods: The citrus from the lemon helps to cut through and balance spicier dishes, such as buffalo wings.

Drink Pairings

To accompany your Bootlegger, choose drinks that echo its flavors without overpowering the palate.

  • Sparkling Water: A neutral, bubbly palate cleanser between sips.
  • Ginger Ale: For those who might want a non-alcoholic beverage, this pairs nicely and keeps with the cocktail's sweet and spicy profile.

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What you could change in Bootlegger

If you don't have bourbon, you can substitute it with another type of whiskey. You can also use honey instead of simple syrup for a different flavor profile.

Explore all drinks starting with B here

And of course - twists🍹

Honey Bourbon Bootlegger

Replace simple syrup with honey syrup to add a richer, more floral sweetness. The bourbon's woody notes will be complemented perfectly.

Elderflower Bootlegger

Stir in 1/2 oz of elderflower liqueur before shaking. It'll bring a delicate, sweetly floral note to the cocktail, giving it a more complex profile.

Bootlegger on the Rocks

Pour the mixture over ice in a rocks glass instead of straining it into a chilled glass. The slow dilution will mellow the drink, revealing new dimensions as you sip.

In case you forgot basics how to make Bootlegger

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

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

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 Bootlegger

What type of glass is best for serving the Bootlegger cocktail?

The Bootlegger cocktail is traditionally served in a classic cocktail or coupe glass, but it can also be served in a rocks glass if preferred.

What type of bourbon is best to use for the Bootlegger cocktail?

While any bourbon can be used, a high-quality, full-bodied bourbon is recommended to really enhance the flavors of the cocktail.

Can I adjust the sweetness of the Bootlegger cocktail?

Absolutely! The sweetness of the Bootlegger cocktail can be adjusted by adding more or less simple syrup.

How can I make a non-alcoholic version of the Bootlegger cocktail?

For a non-alcoholic version, you can substitute the bourbon with a non-alcoholic whiskey alternative or simply leave it out.

What other garnishes can be used for the Bootlegger cocktail?

In addition to the traditional lemon twist garnish, you could also consider using a cherry, or for a unique twist, a sprig of fresh herbs like mint or rosemary.

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