Happiest Hour 

Wheatfish Whiskey

What you're drinking: A 750-ml. bottle of golden-colored Wheatfish Whiskey. Hopefully not by yourself.

Who's behind it: Glacier Distilling Company is a Montana whiskey and spirits maker in the little town of Coram, at the edge of Glacier Park. It's an artisan operation; everything's handcrafted and hand-bottled in what they call "The Whiskey Barn" (sounds dreamy). The company, which opened last year, is currently making a handful of whiskeys, including a white, peach-infused one.

What it tastes like: A little spicy, slightly sweet and very warm. This is a sipping whiskey that's smooth at first, with an escalating heat that fills your nostrils. Tastings.com got even more in-depth: "Mild aromas of peanut brittle, frosted banana pastry, straw and brown spices with a soft, fruity-yet-dry medium body and a warming honeyed raisin cake, vanilla extract and peppery spice finish. A fun and flavorful choice for cocktails."

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ERIKA FREDRICKSON

How it compares: It's lived up to high standards, winning a silver medal this year in both the Beverage Tasting Institute's and the American Distillery Institute's blind tastings.

How it's made: The whiskey mash comes from the Wheatfish beer recipe, which is brewed with Montana wheat and barley at the Great Northern Brewing Company in Whitefish. The distillery takes the mash, distills it into whiskey and ages it in barrels.

Where to find it: The Glacier Distilling Company has a tasting room at 10237 Hwy. 2, in Coram: "Look for the red barn on the north side of the highway, just past the cottonwood tree that got cut down last summer." But call ahead, 406-387-9887, because the hours are sporadic. Or taste it from designated locations, including Grizzly Liquor ($33.15 a bottle) and Sean Kelly's in Missoula.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email editor@missoulanews.com.

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