Two glass of the refreshing mint cocktal with lemon and mint, cold refreshing drink or beverage

Minnesota’s Famous Refreshing Mint Cocktail

I’m excited to share a refreshing twist on a classic cocktail that’s ideal for Summer. It’s the Minnesota signature mint cocktail. In this post I will share the famous Minnesota refreshing mint cocktail recipe perfect for any occasion.

Recently, I hosted a Kentucky Derby party and after treating my friends to a delicious mint julep recipe, we decided to switch things up and make our signature cocktail using a recipe I received from my friend Lenea, who hails from Minnesota.

Lenea described this cocktail as minty yet light and refreshing, making it an ideal choice for a party of women who prefer drinks that aren’t overly sweet or bitter. With fresh citrus flavors, a hint of mint, and the perfect balance of ingredients, this cocktail is sure to become a favorite at your gatherings too. Let’s dive into how to create this delightful and crowd-pleasing beverage!

The Origin Of This Bootleg Cocktail

The Bootleg Cocktail, often associated with Minnesota, has a fascinating history rooted in the state’s Prohibition-era past. During the Prohibition period from 1920 to 1933, the production and sale of alcoholic beverages were banned in the United States. However, this didn’t stop people from finding ways to enjoy their favorite drinks.

Bootleg cocktail with mint

Minnesota’s Signature Refreshing Mint Cocktail - Mint Julep Substitute

Yield: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Refreshing and versatile, the Bootleg Cocktail is a delightful blend of frozen limeade, lemonade, fresh mint, and your choice of spirit. This recipe offers a twist with homemade honey simple syrup, creating a sweet and tangy base that pairs perfectly with the sparkling kick of club soda. Customize with different lemonade varieties like raspberry or pink lemonade for a playful touch. Follow these simple steps to craft a delicious Bootleg Cocktail that's sure to impress!


  • Frozen limeade and lemonade (try different varieties like raspberry or pink lemonade for a twist)
  • Fresh mint (preferably fresh for the best flavor)
  • Homemade simple syrup (try making a honey simple syrup for a delicious touch)
  • Vodka, Gin, or Rum (traditional choices for this cocktail)
  • Club soda (a splash is all you need, or substitute with any sparkling beverage)


How to Make a Bootleg Cocktail:

Step 1: In a blender, combine 1 can of frozen limeade concentrate, 1 can of frozen lemonade, and 2 to 3 bunches of fresh mint leaves. Puree until smooth.
Add 1/4 cup of homemade simple syrup to the lemonade-limeade blend in the blender and puree until well mixed. Fill the blender with water until three-quarters full.

Step 2: Fill a pint glass with ice, then add 2 parts of your chosen spirit (vodka, gin, or rum), 3 parts Bootleg Mix, and 2 parts club soda.Adjust the flavors as needed to achieve the perfect balance. Garnish with mint and a splash of fresh juice before serving.


Tips for Making the Cocktail:

  • Squeeze fresh lime or lemon juice into your drink just before enjoying for a burst of citrus flavor and a lovely garnish.
  • Impress your guests by adding a sprig of mint or chopped mint to each glass before serving.
  • Use a 1-oz. shot glass or a liquid measuring cup to measure the ingredients accurately.
  • For efficient serving, layer the ingredients (ice, spirit, Bootleg mix, club soda, and garnishes) over ice-filled glasses one by one.
  • Gin and vodka differ mainly in flavor; gin has a distinct "pine" flavor from juniper berries, while vodka is more neutral in taste.

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