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Bozeman Spirits' take on a traditional old fashioned. Their recipe includes Montana 1889 Whiskey, bitters, bordeux cherries, an orange slice, and raw sugar. (Brendan Kristiansen / MSU Exponent)

Along beautiful Main Street in Bozeman, there lies a diverse plethora of places to enjoy a drink with your friends as the day comes to an end. While most students tend to flock toward big-name bars like Rockin’ R Bar and El Camino, there remain a number of establishments perfect for those looking to unwind in a quieter environment. Bozeman Spirits, located between Ted’s Montana Grill and Backcountry Burger Bar, provides just the place for Bozemanites to calmly enjoy some good conversation and even better whiskey.

Run entirely by MSU graduates, Bozeman Spirits opened their doors in 2014 and has been serving some of Bozeman’s best Bobcat spirit ever since. During my visit, I focused on their line of hand-crafted barrel-aged spirits. With the exception of the Arrestado agave spirit, the members of their barrel-aged lineup are all aged at least two years. 

Montana 1889 Whiskey

The 1889 whiskey was the first of the lineup and is definitely one of the smoothest whiskeys I have ever had. Incredibly flavorful yet easy to drink, it’s an excellent choice both for whiskey connoisseurs looking to explore new frontiers and casual Bobcats just wanting to enjoy a drink.

Rating: 10/10

Prairie Schooner Spiced Rum

The spiced rum took me completely by surprise. Immediately after my first taste, I was taken aback by strong floral notes. Each subsequent sip gave another chance to further unpack this complex and fun-to-drink rum.

Rating: 9/10

Arrestado Agave Spirit

As a lover of agave, I enjoyed the sweetness that the Arrestado had to offer. While it was nice to drink, it was exactly what one would expect from an “agave spirit”: smooth and maybe a little sweet for some people’s taste. In my opinion, the drink was very enjoyable and would be equally enjoyable in a margarita.

Rating: 7/10

Bobcat Bourbon

This bourbon comes in at 84 proof (for the Cats’ 1984 national championship), and it shows. It is very strong, but not to the point it is unpleasant to drink. I was surprised with how bright this whiskey was. Overall, extremely tasty.

Rating: 9/10

Old-Fashioned

While there are countless modern takes on this famous cocktail, almost all of them have one thing in common: whiskey is the star of the show. Bozeman Spirits made the phenomenal choice of using their Montana 1889 as the base for their old fashioned. Sadly, through no fault of their own, the old fashioned does not adequately showcase their 1889 whiskey. Tasting rooms in Montana are limited to single-ounce pours of spirits; it is possible to ask for a double shot, but those customers must be cut off after one drink. This, unfortunately, leads to a bold blend of bitters, citrus, and cherries without much whiskey to carry all of that flavor. The old fashioned is one of my favorite cocktails, and I will without a doubt be back to try another one – this time with two ounces of the 1889. 

Rating : 6/10  

9/10

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