All about the gin: Have a River Run at the Montana Distillery 

What you're drinking: The River Run is one of the Montana Distillery's most popular drinks. The distillery's Soiled Dove gin is combined with muddled fresh mint and cucumber, lime and agave, and topped with soda and fresh mint. $6.

The occasion: On the afternoon of St. Patrick's Day, Montana Distillery's mixologists wore green T-shirts, glitter and shamrock face paint while serving up Irish-themed drinks to a crowd already unwinding for the weekend. The River Run was in the lineup of holiday specials, but it's a versatile cocktail. While Irish cream and dyed green mixers start to feel indulgent and gaudy fast, the mint and cucumber of the River Run is a drink for the entirety of spring. And it is finally spring, right?

Why you'll love it: It has great texture, for one thing. The cold muddled cucumber gives the River Run a thick, seedy consistency, and the mint sprigs add a healthy, side-salad element. In the end, though, it's all about the gin.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ERIKA FREDRICKSON
  • photo by Erika Fredrickson

But I hate gin: You think you hate gin, but that's because you've been drinking cheap, big-batch, juniper-heavy gin. Soiled Dove is part of the artisan gin revival, which means it has a nice balance of botanicals besides juniper: coriander, rosemary, lavender and lemon and lime peel. It's also made with local ingredients, like sugar beets from Billings. In fact, we highly recommend you taste the gin on its own before trying it in a cocktail. And once you've tried the River Run, you'll find a whole menu of Soiled Dove gin cocktails from which to choose, including the sweet Bee's Knees and the spicy Wild Fire.

Where to find it: At the Montana Distillery, 631 Woody St.

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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