Montgomery Distillery says cheers to the Hotshot 

What you're drinking: Last week, Montgomery Distillery unveiled its latest specialty cocktail. And in honor of those brave souls fighting on the frontlines of our regrettably still-here fire season, this one's been dubbed the Hotshot. It's got the bones of an Old Fashioned, but the muscle and sinew are pure Montgomery, which infuses the classic bourbon-based recipe with a few choice herbs. The resulting flavor makes you feel like you could pick up a Pulaski and run up a burning mountain. Or, you know, just order another one.

What's in it: Tad Hilton has been mulling how to get marshmallow root, wild cherry bark and licorice root into a drink for a while now. As he whips up another Hotshot (they've been selling well since debuting Sept. 8), he talks a good game about the curative properties of those herbs for the respiratory system. Hilton cuts his herb-laden Demerara syrup with some of Montgomery's house creole bitters and a healthy dose of Sudden Wisdom rye whiskey. The whole thing is served over ice with an orange peel thrown in. It lives up to Hilton's hype.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ALEX SAKARIASSEN
  • photo by Alex Sakariassen

Why now: The goal of the Hotshot, Hilton says, is to "clear the skies" after that dreary layer of wildfire smoke blotted out Missoula's view of Mount Sentinel. It may have worked better than expected—in the days after Montgomery released the cocktail, the smoke lifted, the sky turned blue again, and we were given an opportunity to enjoy the Hotshot not for what it does to ease the airways, but for how it tastes: licorice sweet, with a slight whiskey jolt.

Where to get it: You can snag a glass of Hilton's creation at 129 W. Front St. The Hotshot goes for $9, and comes with the warm-and-fuzzy bonus of benefitting the Lolo Peak Fire Fund through the 406 Family Aid Foundation. It's also free for wildland firefighters.

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