Bootlegger Tasting Notes


Prohibition. A term that most of you would know if you ever looked at the history of a brand, a category or indeed even your own family. Prohibition came about in the US back in 1919, which meant that America banned the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors. As with anything you take away, it makes you more determined to produce it, with the culmination of illegal stills, mass smuggling by Bootleggers and the underground speakeasy running rife during the twenties and thirties.

The brand that we’re focusing on here though is Bootlegger – a nod to the smugglers of the illicit booze over the state lines within America. It is believed that the term ‘bootlegging’ originated during the American Civil War, when soldiers would sneak liquor into army camps by concealing pint bottles within their boots or beneath their trouser legs. It’s also believed that the term was popularized when thousands of city dwellers would sell liquor from flasks they kept in their boot leg all across major cities. Even though the Prohibition Act was revoked back in 1933, the legend of it lives on, and Bootlegger has been created to honour the less legal side of it all.

Bootlegger is designed to evoke the un-aged ‘moonshine’ whiskey produced illicitly during Prohibition. Entirely un-aged, but has a ‘oak tincture’ added, which gives a slight yellow colour to mimic the effect of the barrels that would have been used to transport moonshine. Bootlegger is a combination of distilled English and French Winter Wheat and is housed within a bottle designed in line with the Prohibition era.

Launched in 2012, it is promoting itself as a sipping spirit, so lets see how it fares –

Bootlegger – 40%

Sweet vanilla and oak builds on the nose and carries onto the palate with hints of spice. A little vanilla, with a creamy texture that reminds me of Cornish ice cream. Honey flavours come through near the long, lingering and slightly dry end.

They’re right, I could sip that all day long. But I’d also recommend it within one of these –

The Capone
The Capone

The Capone

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

40 ml Bootlegger
12.5 ml Grand Marnier
12.5 ml Sugar Syrup
12.5 ml Lemon juice
2 dashes of bitters
Champagne to top
Raspberry to garnish

Method – 

Shake Bootlegger, Grand Marnier, bitters, lemon juice and sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a coupet. Top with Champagne and garnish with a raspberry.

A rather versatile drink, with a nod to quite possibly one of the most important pieces of the drinks trade history. One to impress your friends with, under the table of course.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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