Happiest Hour: It was a Dark and Stormy day... 

What you're thinking: Everything's terrible. Western Montana's fire season just got up on her hind legs, and our air quality resembles the first five minutes of The Book of Eli. Hurricane Harvey has left parts of Texas under 10 feet of water. Florida is staring down the barrel of Hurricane Irma. And depending on who you talk to, North Korea plans to fire an ICBM at New York, the Left Coast or somewhere smack in the middle of the American heartland. The options are: A) bust out the arts-and-crafts kit and make a sign proclaiming "The End is Nigh," or B) hunker down on a barstool at the Rhino. This is Missoula, so let's go with option B.

What you're drinking: Befitting the world in which we now all apparently live, make it a Dark and Stormy. Rhino bartender Flanna Ewinger initially seems surprised at the request. Apparently the classic dark-rum cocktail is an uncommon order these days, having been overshadowed by its vodka-based cousin, the Moscow Mule. But she happily obliges, mixing Myers's Original Dark Rum with Cock 'n Bull ginger beer, then pouring it over ice in a copper mug and adding a slice of lime. It's got enough kick to knock the lingering smoke out of the back of your throat.

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

What distracts you: Ewinger doesn't hesitate to mention that Myers's isn't the usual, or preferred, dark rum for this concoction. Typically a Dark and Stormy is made with Gosling's Black Seal Rum, but the bar doesn't have that on the shelf at the moment. It's a curious enough point that I inquire as to why Gosling is the go-to. Ewinger queries the almighty Wikipedia and it turns out that Gosling—still owned by the same family that founded it in Bermuda in 1806—holds the trademark to the "Dark 'N' Stormy" recipe. In fact, that trademark has sparked at least one lawsuit since the company won it in 1991. This is all super-fascinating. Then someone mentions smoke again and reality comes crashing through the door. At least the mule mug will keep my drink cold in the coming apocalypse.

Where to drink it: The Rhino is at 158 Ryman St. A Dark and Stormy will set you back $5.50, but it's just money, and as everyone always says when the end draws nigh, you can't take it with you.

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