The story of Bootleg begins in the clubhouse at a country club on Lake Minnetonka, during Prohibition. A group of friends finished a round of golf and indulged in the newly crafted beverage. The Bootleg quickly gained notoriety on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, and its recipe was a closely guarded secret. “It was almost destroyed in a fire at one of the grand hotels that used to line the shores of Lake Minnetonka,” says Matt Helgeson, a representative of the Bootleg brand, which currently produces the beverage, of a local legend tied to the recipe. “Thankfully, it was saved and endured as a handcrafted cocktail in many of the surrounding country clubs,” Helgeson says.
Now, 19th Hole Ventures is bringing the drink formally to market. Working with local restaurateurs and industry experts, 19th Hole Ventures was able to “capture the taste of Minnesota’s signature drink in a bottled, specialty malt beverage,” Helgeson says.
This “local secret is accessible to everyone,” says Helgeson, and people across Minnesota and the Midwest can enjoy the refreshing beverage, which is sold pre-mixed.
Bootleg is best served over ice with a hint of mint, Helgeson says. It is available at Lake Minnetonka restaurants and many liquor stores in the Twin Cities. The Bootleg brand also hosts free tastings at many events and liquor stores throughout the area.