Looking for Grandpa's Ruin? Check the easy chair—or go to Montgomery Distillery. 

What you're drinking: All right, hop up on this stool here, sonny. Yes, bartender, I'll take a Grandpa's Ruin, please, and so will my boy. What do you mean he's not old enough? Give him a water, then—he'll need it anyway to wash down the sip he'll take from mine. Listen, sonny, it's time you learned how your old man's old man lived. I know you never met him. It's a shame, I know, and this'll help explain why.

What's in it: This here highball is just like what gramps drank. Two a day, maybe three of these. In truth, sonny, this one's a little fancier. The base is rye whiskey—you know what that is, right?—milled and distilled here in Missoula. Add a house amaro—that's a bitter liqueur—and a pinch of demerara sugar. Then, here's the best part: homemade tobacco bitters. Smell that? Comes from soaking pipe tobacco in alcohol for a month. That's pretty much how gramps lived, you know. Not exactly, but pretty much, pretty much.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DEREK BROUWER
  • photo by Derek Brouwer

What it tastes like: No shame in coughing, sonny. This one's strong, real strong. Just don't be drawing the bartender's attention. Do you taste that sweetness? Sweet, smoky candy is what gramp's used to call it. Good for the soul, less good for the body. You best stay away from tobacco, though. See the orange peel floating in the drink there? You start smoking and soon enough you'll be coughing up bits of lung in your drinks. If gramps had learned that lesson sooner he might still be here with us today.

Where you're drinking it: This here distillery isn't so different from the old bars your gramps used to bring me to. See that big, wood bar back, those bison and steer mounts on the wall? In truth, sonny, this place is a little fancier. One of these skulls is made out of metal, for god's sake, and there's an iPad under that bust of Honest Abe. So you see it's not quite the old west in here, but if you sip slow enough on this cocktail, you might catch a whiff of the past.

Where to find it: Montgomery Distillery, 129 West Front St. $9, limit two per person per day. No sips for the children, please.

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