Happiest Hour 

Atomic cocktail

What you're drinking: Only the most explosive Champagne-infused cocktail we've ever tried, because you like to ring in the new year with a bang.

What it is (this time without all the bomb clichés, please): Fine. The Atomic includes one shot of vodka, one shot of cognac and a half-shot of sherry mixed with ice and strained into a chilled cocktail glass. Top it with brut Champagne.

Why we like it: The name is an instant conversation starter that sounds way too intimidating for such a dangerously drinkable cocktail. Plus, we never know how else to use sherry.

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Where the name comes from: According to renowned mixologist Dave Wondrich, the drink dates back to the early 1950s and the Vegas strip. Casino managers worried that patrons would stay home amid A-bomb tests at the Nevada Test Site and created a concoction that was "cold, sparkly, and very, very potent to wash down the radiation." This, for some of you, is all the recommendation you need.

Words of warning: It ain't called the Atomic for nothin'. Consider it a festive way to kick off an evening, but certainly not something you want to pound well past midnight.

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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