Montana Cocktail Recipe

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Montana Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Montana cocktail is a classic American drink, originating from the state of Montana in the early 1900s. It was created by miners who were looking for a refreshing and strong drink after a long day of work. The cocktail quickly gained popularity and became a staple in bars across the state.

  • The Montana cocktail is often associated with the Wild West and the rugged lifestyle of the early settlers.
  • It is said to have been a favorite of cowboys and miners alike.
  • The drink has evolved over time, with various bartenders putting their own spin on the classic recipe.

How Montana Tastes?

The Montana cocktail has a bold, robust flavor with a hint of sweetness. It is a strong, full-bodied drink with a smooth finish. The combination of whiskey, vermouth, and bitters creates a complex taste profile that is both warming and refreshing.

Interesting facts about Montana

  • The Montana cocktail is sometimes referred to as the 'Big Sky' cocktail, in reference to Montana's nickname as the 'Big Sky Country'.
  • The drink is traditionally served in a rocks glass, but can also be enjoyed in a martini glass for a more elegant presentation.
  • The Montana cocktail is often garnished with a lemon twist, which adds a subtle citrus note to the drink.



Whiskey lays the foundation of the Montana with its 2oz providing just enough kick without overpowering. Too much, and you'll overwhelm the subtler vermouth; too little, and it's just a vermouth cocktail. Miss it out, and well, it isn't a Montana anymore! An alternative could be bourbon for a sweeter note or rye if you're after some spice.

Emma Rose

Sweet Vermouth

1oz of sweet vermouth gives the Montana its signature sweet depth and herbaceous edge. It's a balancing act—you don't want to mask the whiskey's flavors, hence, only an ounce. Without it, the drink is more of a bitters-laden whiskey on ice. Swap with dry vermouth for a drier, less sweet take.

Alex Green

Angostura Bitters

Two dashes precisely because three's a crowd and one's the loneliest number. Bitters tie the whiskey and vermouth together with their complex flavor profile. Leave them out, and the cocktail lacks personality—like a suit without a tie. Bitters also add balance, depth, and a hint of spice.

Mary Mitkina

Lemon Twist

The lemon twist isn't just a pretty face; it adds a zesty aroma that lifts the entire drink. If omitted, the cocktail will still taste great, but it'd miss that fresh citrus nose. You could also try an orange twist for a sweeter aroma.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Montana Drink

  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add 2oz of whiskey, 1oz of sweet vermouth, and 2 dashes of Angostura bitters.
  3. Stir the mixture until well chilled.
  4. Strain the cocktail into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice.
  5. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Pro Tips

  • Use a high-quality whiskey for the best flavor.
  • Chill the glass before serving for a refreshing drink.
  • Stir the cocktail gently to avoid diluting the drink too much.

Perfect Pairings


  • Charcuterie Board: The rich and savory flavors of cured meats will complement the whiskey's warm notes.
  • Cheese Plate: Opt for strong cheeses like blue cheese or gouda to stand up to the robust flavors of the cocktail.

Main Dishes

  • Steak: The robust flavors of a grilled steak pair excellently with the boldness of the whiskey in the Montana.
  • Roasted Pork: The sweet notes from the vermouth and the bitters can enhance the juicy flavors of pork.


  • Dark Chocolate: The bitterness of dark chocolate echoes the complexity of the cocktail's bitters.
  • Pecan Pie: The sweetness of the pie balances the cocktail's strong flavors.

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What you could change in Montana

  • Whiskey: Can be substituted with bourbon or rye for a different flavor profile.
  • Sweet Vermouth: Dry vermouth can be used for a less sweet cocktail.
  • Angostura Bitters: Other types of bitters can be used for a unique twist.

Explore all drinks starting with M here

And of course - twists🍹

The Smoky Montana

  • Partially replace whiskey with a peated scotch for a smokier profile.
  • Add 2oz scotch and 1oz whiskey for a nuanced flavor.
  • Stir as usual and garnish with a flamed lemon twist.
  • The Taste: Expect a complex, smoky flavor with a citrusy finish that's ideal for those who like a bit of extra fire in their sip.

The Herbal Montana

  • Use an amaro instead of sweet vermouth for an herbal kick.
  • Include a sprig of thyme or rosemary with the lemon twist.
  • Stir and strain as usual for a more botanical experience.
  • The Taste: A drink that feels like a walk through an alpine forest, perfect for fans of earthier, herb-forward profiles.

The Sparkling Montana

  • Top the strained cocktail with a splash of sparkling wine or club soda.
  • Stir the base ingredients, strain, then top up and garnish.
  • The Taste: A lighter, effervescent Montana that dances on the palate, elevating the standard experience for a festive occasion.

In case you forgot basics how to make Montana

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Montana

Can the Montana cocktail be served without ice?

Yes, the Montana cocktail can be served without ice. However, this might concentrate its strong flavors.

Can I use a different type of citrus for the garnish?

Yes, you can use an orange twist or even a grapefruit twist for a unique flavor, but the original recipe typically uses a lemon twist.

What is the origin of the name 'Montana' for this cocktail?

The cocktail is named after the state of Montana in the United States, where it originated.

How do you stir a cocktail properly?

A cocktail is typically stirred by inserting a long spoon into the mixing glass and using smooth, sweeping motions.

What is the difference between a cocktail served in a rocks glass and a cocktail served in a martini glass?

A rocks glass is typically used for drinks served on the rocks (with ice). A martini glass is traditionally used for cocktails which have been shaken or stirred with ice and then strained.

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