Happiest Hour 

The Rocky Mountain Flip

What you're drinking: The Rocky Mountain Flip is a cocktail featuring syrup created with Douglas fir and Rocky Mountain juniper. It's mixed with cardamom bitters, Montgomery Distillery's signature Whyte Laydie Gin and pasteurized egg whites. The combo is shaken dry to release the egg proteins and then shaken again with ice to make it cold. $6.

What it tastes like: If you could put the refreshing taste of walking through a winter Montana forest into a cocktail glass, this is definitely what you'd get. The fir and juniper flavors are pungent and delicious—and for good reason. The distillery collects the greenery in the spring and vacuum packs it to keep its flavor. Even though it's served cold, it tastes like a winter drink.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ALEX SAKARIASSEN

The history of the flip: The term was first used in 1695 to describe a mixture of beer, rum and sugar that was heated with a red-hot iron, which made the drink froth or "flip." Since then, a flip has been often served cold. According to the Jerry Thomas Bartenders Guide, an 1887 reprint that the distillery sells and uses for its drinks, "the essential in flips of all sorts is to produce the smoothness by repeated pouring back and forward between two vessels and beating up the eggs well..."

The history of the Rocky Mountain Flip: Bartender Tad Hilton created this version, but he's modest about taking credit. It takes distillery co-owner Jennifer Montgomery to out Hilton as the inventor. "He has an amazing palate," she says. The fir and juniper embellish the sugars, and the velvety egg whites create a smooth layer on top that looks like snow. "It's good to get a little protein with your drinking," says Montgomery, smiling.

Where you can find it: Montgomery Distillery, 129 W. Front St. in Missoula. Hours are Monday through Saturday, from noon to 8 PM.

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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