What you’re drinking: Something off the Temperance Menu at Montgomery Distillery, which includes a thoughtfully expansive nonalcoholic selection that goes far beyond most bars’ “choice of mixers.” As a bonus, everything on that menu costs just $3, which is less than you can get out of most coffee shops for. Fancy cocktail bars already have fancy tinctures and garnishes and mixers on hand, so it’s easier for them to whip up a virgin drink that’s a step up from the usual. Also, they have chocolate milk.

Sweet temperance at Montgomery Distillery

So really, what are you drinking? While my coworkers had adult beverages, I tried the Calamity Jane and the Bumble Bee, the two more complex selections. The Calamity Jane is like a sophisticated Shirley Temple or an upmarket Sonic Cherry Limeade, made with grenadine and lime mixed with honey and soda water. It’s a refreshing drink that isn’t too sweet. But it was the Bumble Bee that really delivered, with a sweet and tart flavor profile courtesy of a honey shrub and lemon. Mixed with soda water and garnished with a full rosemary shrub, it was visually attractive and satisfying to drink. You can also order a Mini Mule (ginger beer with lime) or a Little Dude (Kalispell Creamery milk and chocolate syrup).

When are you drinking? Before 8 p.m., that’s for sure. The staff makes no bones about enforcing last call around 7:40 p.m., thanks to Montana’s distillery rules.

Why aren’t you drinking booze? In the spirit of this week’s cover story, you’re teetotaling in order to be an effective bystander.

Where are you drinking? The Montgomery Distillery tasting room at 129 W. Front St.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email editor@missoulanews.com.

Staff Reporter

Susan Elizabeth Shepard lived in Missoula from 2008 to 2011 before returning in 2017 to work at the Independent. She is also a two-time resident of Austin, TX, and Portland, OR, with an interest in labor, music and sports. @susanelizabeth on Twitter.

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