Everyone knows Missoula is a beer-lover’s paradise, with what feels like a brewery on every block and a brewfest every weekend. But if you’re looking to get off the beaten path (or ale trail), consider a visit to one of Missoula’s local distilleries. Small-batch spirits are distilled in-house and used to create unique cocktails, from Moscow Mules with a twist to bacon-infused creations. On top of the classic Missoula charm you’ll find throughout the town, each distillery has a distinct personality and cocktails to match.
Montgomery Distillery is more than a place to grab a cocktail—it is a piece of Missoula’s history. The iconic brick building was first built in 1889 and served as a saloon on one side and liquor warehouse on the other. New settlements emerged as people made their way to Western Montana for a chance at untold wealth in new territories, and the early Rocky Mountain saloons acted as a haven for weary settlers.
Today Montgomery Distillery remembers its rugged western history, but serves as a relaxed bar with farm-to-bottle spirits and extravagant cocktails. For a deeper look, consider taking one of their stillroom tours.
Rattlesnake Creek Distillers
Brothers Sean and Dan founded Rattlesnake Creek Distillers, and named it after the crystal-clear Rattlesnake Creek running through the Missoula neighborhood they grew up in. That family-owned charm is exactly what makes RCD so special, and it is apparent in everything they do. All of their grains are sourced from Montana farmers, and every Tuesday they pick a local organization for their Community “SPIRIT” Night and donate 20% of the proceeds.
If you’re feeling adventurous, ask the bartender on shift for their “secret menu.” Each one has their own, with cocktails that can’t be found on the normal menu!
Sipping a cocktail at Montana Distillery is undeniably homey. On any given night you’ll find the owners chatting with customers, local musicians playing, and (if you’re lucky) a smiling dog greeting you at the door. The atmosphere could make the newest of visitors feel like a Missoula local.
Montana Distillery is the oldest fully functioning distillery since prohibition, but they aren’t afraid to break tradition and get experimental when it comes to cocktails. Their menu has over 30 cocktails made with small-batch spirits like pepper-infused vodka or their award-winning gin. The only hard part about grabbing a drink at Montana Distillery is deciding what to order.
Cover photo by Montana Distillery.