Category Archives: Awards

Montana Mixology: 6 Glacier Country Distilleries to Visit

Glacier Country is flowing with distilleries—11 at the moment—and the grain-to-glass game here is strong. Our glacial waters and Rocky Mountain rivers beckon connoisseurs of fine spirits and exquisite flavors. The next time you’re in Western Montana enjoying our winter wonderland or the splendor of spring, hit up one of our favorite spots to savor a sip.

Not to brag, but our spirits are pretty spectacular. Photo: Montgomery Distillery

MONTGOMERY DISTILLERY

In the heart of downtown Missoula, Montgomery Distillery is the perfect place to wet your whistle. Inspired by traditional distilling methods, founders Ryan and Jenny traveled to Scotland to learn centuries-old techniques. Their cocktails dance the line between traditional and modern—the Bye Felicia is made with aquavit, a traditional Scandinavian spirit, mixed with pickled beets, lemon bitters, thyme and soda. The wheat and rye used in their distillery process come from their farm, which has been in the family for five generations.

Montana Mixology – Go Gingerly: This perfect fusion of gin, ginger, basil and grapefruit is so good it was named among Redbook’s 51 of the Best Cocktail Recipes From Across America.

Step aside coffee! Photo: Glacier Distilling Company

GLACIER DISTILLING COMPANY

More of a whiskey person? Don’t worry, we love whiskey and so does Glacier Distilling Company founder Nic Lee. A taste for whiskey is what inspired Lee to open a distillery in Coram, nestled in the northwest corner of Montana. A recent addition to the distillery, Josephine’s Bar & Kitchen is a restored homestead cabin next door. The kitchen, which is open seasonally, was named for bootlegger Josephine Doody who ran a bootleg operation in Glacier National Park.

Montana Mixology – North Fork Hot Toddy: A favorite on cold or wet days, this mouthwatering concoction features North Fork Whiskey—a gold medal winner at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition—mixed with hot water, freshly squeezed lemon juice and honey simple syrup.

A traditional French-drip cocktail is made by slowly pouring club soda over a sugar cube until it dissolves. Photo: Vilya Spirits

VILYA SPIRITS

If you’ve acquired a taste for absinthe, head to Vilya Spirits in Kalispell. An obsession with gardening combined with an appetite for spirits kicked off the start of the company in 2009. Many of the herbs in their spirits are grown in the owners’ garden, including Artemisia absinthium for absinthe.

Montana Mixology – French-drip Absinthe: Experience traditionally crafted deliciousness that will delight your palate—Absinthe Verte, gold medal winner at the 2012 Denver World Spirits Competition, served over ice and topped with a sugar cube and club soda (or water).

It’s no secret we love food, but we’re also partial to Western Montana’s cocktails. Photo: Whitefish Handcrafted Spirits

WHITEFISH HANDCRAFTED SPIRITS

While in Kalispell, don’t forget to stop at Whitefish Handcrafted Spirits. The tasting room is a one-stop shop for great cocktails and mouthwatering food. To complement their spirits, they sell premium cigars from their on-site humidor. Keep an eye out for their upcoming cabanas that will let you sip outside in cozy safari-style tents, regardless of the weather.

Montana Mixology – Margarita: With weekly featured drinks it’s hard to choose a favorite, but if you’re searching for a classic, we recommend a salted lime margarita on the rocks.

Cheers to Western Montana, where adventure abounds. Photo: Spotted Bear Spirits

SPOTTED BEAR SPIRITS

If it isn’t already, Spotted Bear Spirits needs to be on your list of places to stop in Whitefish. Spirits here are inspired by the unrivaled beauty of Western Montana’s landscapes. Their tasting room is the perfect spot for a post-adventure cocktail, with one of the friendliest atmospheres in the region.

Montana Mixology – Snowghost: Made with Spotted Bear Vodka, Spotted Bear Coffee Liqueur, half-and-half, cold brew coffee and soda, this merger of sumptuous flavors is a must. 

A Moscow mule is the perfect ending to any day. Photo: Whistling Andy Inc.

WHISTLING ANDY INC.

Nestled in the quiet storybook village of Bigfork, Whistling Andy Inc. has been livening up the town since 2010. Try the Pink Peppercorn and Pear Gin, a labor of love that took two years to perfect, and won the 2017 Sip Northwest Best of the Northwest. Schedule a tour online with one of the distillers.

Montana Mixology – Blueberry Mule: If you love Moscow mules half as much as we do, you need to try Whistling Andy’s brilliant variation—Pink Peppercorn and Pear Gin mixed with blueberry syrup, ginger beer, basil and fresh lime.

Fall: Montana’s Bashful Season

Last week, I mourned the loss of summer. This week, I’m embracing fall in Montana’s Glacier Country. I can’t help it. You see, autumn in Montana has its own distinct feeling and personality that is perhaps best described as the perfect combination of a charming bashfulness, a dash of showmanship and of course, all things delicious.

Maybe it’s the mixture of apples, homemade scarecrows, cutesy small towns or the ravishingly beautiful waters set against changing fall colors that is so riveting. Or maybe it’s the fall fly-fishing, hay rides and uncrowded roads leading into our region’s hidden corners.

Scarecrow Festival in Stevensville - Photo courtesy Donnie Sexton/Montana Office of Tourism

Hello, pretty. Photo courtesy Donnie Sexton/Montana Office of Tourism

Whatever it is, I dig it.

Happy autumn.
TT

PS: To read more on fall in Montana, check out this article from gonomad.com (published last year). And if you want to come see it for yourself, peruse vacation deals, created specifically for Montana’s bashful season.

Montana Tourism Love

This past week, tourism folks and partners gathered in Helena (our state’s capital) for the annual Governor’s Conference on Tourism and Recreation. If there’s one thing I can say about my colleagues, it’s that everyone in this industry has a passion for Montana, travel and tourism. ..which is awesome.

We were able to spend two and a half days with each other networking, listening to speakers and participating in workshops to help us further promote the wonderful place we call home.

Each year at the conference, awards are given to “Tourism Person of the Year,” “Event of the Year” and “Partnership of the Year.” And this year, we were tickled pink that TWO of the winners were from Glacier Country!

First up: Event of hte Year. The Missoula Marathon won!
Sidenote: the marathon is Sunday, July 10…see you here?

Accepting the award from Lt. Governor John Bohlinger

The Glacier Centennial Celebration won partnership of the year, with special appreciation given to Kassandra Hardy, the Centennial Coordinator. And while Kass has left us (we miss her!) to work in Yosemite, she came up for the conference. Kass did an extraordinary job creating partnerships and building relationships for the park’s Centennial. Special shout out to Ms. Hardy for all of her work!

Representatives from the Glacier Centennial Committee

Additional elements of the conference included a Sunday evening welcome reception, with the Montana Office of Tourism band lovingly called “Banned in Sweden.”

The leader of the pack...vroom, vroom

This crazy-haired blond girl, along with Glacier Country’s own Ed DeRosier, participated as special guest artists.

Ed and crazy-haired blond

Backing up the band

We had a wonderful time at the conference and were truly honored to be part of Glacier’s Centennial Celebration. Here’s to many more years growing as an industry, promoting the region we love and protecting and loving our national park.

TT

Friendliest Locals

Being a Montana girl and all, I’ve always thought that our state was full of the friendly folks. And I’m glad to see I’m not the only one…

In Skiing Magazine’s “Resort Awards 2010: Best of the Rest,” Turner Mountain was awarded friendliest locals! Congrats to the friendly folks at Turner Mountain and Libby. We tip our hats to you.

Read more here.