Measure & Stir

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Montana is a dive bar in Capitol Hill. I would not order a craft cocktail here, but fortunately, you don’t have to, because they have something nearly as good. What they have is Fernet Branca on tap. Is there any reason for it to be on tap? No. It’s not carbonated. It’s not even particularly cold. But who cares? Look at all that Fernet:

They also have a Negroni on draft, and it is carbonated, or mixed with seltzer water, it’s hard to tell. It was watery and disappointing. I’d rather have a glass of gummy bears. The reason you patronize this bar is the divey atmosphere, and the (relatively) cheap shots of Fernet. Ask for a slice of lime and squeeze it into the glass, to add a little complexity.

When I most recently visited this bar with my friends (yes, I have friends), a question came up as to the exact pronunciation of the word “Fernet”. In the back of my head I knew it was an Italian product, but it really looks like it wants to be said “Fer-nay”, as if it were French, and that is how I have always pronounced it. The bartendress who poured it for me referred to it as “Fer-NET”, and this forced me to reconsider my prior conviction. I looked it up on Wikipedia and sure enough, the ‘t’ is not silent.

As I look at the photo above, I notice they also have some Bulleit. Usually when I’m in a bar that has no chance of producing a proper drink, I like to order rye and tonic with a dash of bitters. If they give you an equal proportions pour, it’s a rewarding libation. You might even find yourself making it at home, once in a while. I guess  this place is trying to appeal to the cocktail hipster crowd, but in order to be a proper dive bar, the drinks can’t be too good.

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