Happiest Hour: Soiled Dove Gin 

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What it is:
A brand new spirit from The Montana Distillery. How new? The release party was  held Sept. 9 and the distillery’s Woody Street tasting room is still developing its gin-specific cocktail menu.

What it tastes like: Much like the distillery’s award-winning vodka, Soiled Dove is a smooth, easy-to-drink gin heavy on the juniper notes. Also like the vodka, it’s distilled from Montana sugar beets.

What’s behind the name: The bottle explains the term was used to describe birds that flew into a bar clean and left dirty after being exposed to wood stove and saloon smoke. Also, the bottle mentions, it’s a term that later referred to retired prostitutes.

How to drink it: The gin menu may be a work in progress, but it’s not lacking options. There are currently six cocktails, ranging from a simple G&T to a refreshing River Run (Soiled Dove mixed with fresh lime juice, fresh mint and fresh cucumber, topped with soda). Both cost $6. For $7, try The Meadow (Soiled Dove mixed with fresh huckleberry puree, sweet-n-sour and fresh mint).

Bartender Justin Tavenner talked us into trying the Soiled Dove on the rocks with a splash of fresh grapefruit juice.

“It’s very versatile,” Tavenner says. “I’m finding it can go with almost anything, but it’s smooth enough to sip straight or just with a little bit of juice. You can mix it with whatever you want, but this way you’re getting the full flavor of the gin.”

Where to find it: The Montana Distillery is located at 631 Woody St. The tasting room is open Monday through Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. Sundays include an extensive bloody mary bar from noon to 6 p.m. A bottle of Soiled Dove will set you back $35 for 750 ml or $21.50 for 375 ml.

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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