(Reuters) - Perhaps Minneapolis never quite got over the Prohibition era of the 1930s. How else to explain the popularity of its iconic cocktail, The Bootleg?
The city’s signature drink - heard of by few outside of Minnesota - is a relatively homely one, a fizzy, sweet-and-sour concoction akin to a Tom Collins goosed with mint.
Everyone seems to have their own interpretation. Some are made with frozen lemonade mix and 7-Up, blended until slushy; others are spiked with grenadine, orange juice, even green food coloring.
“It was pioneered by a local Minneapolis country club in the early 20th century and soon became a staple at all the finest clubs in the Twin Cities,” explains Dean Phillips, President and CEO, Phillips Distilling Company and a fifth-generation spirits producer based in Minneapolis.
But you won’t see The Bootleg on any cocktail menu. That doesn’t mean you can’t get one. “Strangely, it’s not widely featured in public drinking holes,” Phillips muses. “But ask the right bartender and you’re in for a treat.”
RECIPE: The Bootleg This variation on Minneapolis’s iconic cocktail, attributed to La Belle Vie bartender Johnny Michaels, is among the most appetizing.
1 oz. vodka 1 oz. gin 1 oz. mint syrup (1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, and a handful of chopped mint leaves) Fresh lemons/limes Cava Sparkling wine Chartreuse Mint sprig, for garnish Over high heat, mix sugar and water with chopped mint leaves, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, strain mint and let cool. Shake vodka, gin, mint syrup, and freshly squeezed citrus juice, pour over ice. Top with Cava and a splash of Chartreuse. Garnish with a fat sprig of mint.
To be honest, I had no idea Minneapolis had it’s own signature drink called “The Bootleg”. I guess that will happen when you spend a lifetime drinking Grain Belt.