Johny Bootlegger is a flavored malt beverage that frankly would fall outside of my normal scope of trying for a review and frankly to be completely honest when it arrived in the mail a couple months ago I took one look at it and thought to myself, "What the hell? Why did I say yes to checking this out?" The reality though is that while I like to enjoy the finer things in life - sometimes it's ok to take a IDGAF moment and throw back some mobster-themed malt liquor with a range of colors even a bag of skittles has nothing on.
This review of Johny Bootlegger is completely honest and unsponsored so I'm probably going to be more harsh and critical than the brand probably wishes I would be. I think that's fine but I also want to be fair. This product isn't meant to be fancy, it isn't meant to be savored, you aren't going to swirl this around in your mouth and review it while describing the flavor in terms of notes of this or that and what memories it evokes as it crosses your pallet.
Honestly, it tastes exactly the way you'd expect a grape-flavored malt liquor to. This isn't something you will want to crack open and watch a movie with someone special and it certainly isn't classy. Aside from the fact that it's in a glass bottle and not plastic, it's the perfect sorta drink when you're hanging out on your pontoon boat on a sandbar somewhere.
While I do appreciate the fact that it has a glass bottle, it does limit where you can use it. Instead, this is the sort of drink that you stock in your fridge for a tailgate / homegate party or to chug with your buddies as a bachelor party ritual. It's sweet, artificial tasting, and has that malty aftertaste. Also of note is that while you might expect an actual cocktail to be somewhere between 20-30% ABV, this is a moderate 12% (my sample showed 10% though so it's possible they've increased the kick recently) though it is a 6.8oz serving so you are getting roughly the same alcohol content as a typical can of beer.
I'm ok with this though. If the product had a higher ABV percentage, it wouldn't be as widely accessible and frankly, you'd probably get drunk faster than you'd realize since it really doesn't taste like alcohol at all.
Where it excels is that it has great branding that is fun. This is the Boon's Farm and Maddog 20/20 of malt liquor. The flavors are inspired by a variety of prohibition cocktails.
With flavors like Sing Sing Sour Grape, Prison Break Black Cherry, or Fox Hole Fruit Punch - you know the brand isn't taking itself seriously either. One thing that is a bit misleading though, is that their Moonshine Mango makes you think that it might be moonshine but nope - it's regular malt liquor. That probably doesn't make a difference to most people but since I saw some people asking that question online I felt it should be addressed.
Johny Bootlegger is available in 375ml and 200ml individual bottles as well as variety packs. Considering the colors and sugars here I wouldn't recommend you have this as your drink of choice on a guys' night out but it is a fun drink to use for a cheers and get a good hearty round of laughs going.