At Russell’s Fireside Dining Room in Montana’s Glacier National Park, nature is best served with a cocktail.
The restaurant and bar serves up a Laydie of the Mountain made with Montana gin, vodka, St. Germaine, and lavender bitters and simple syrup for the aromatically inclined. Or, if a hike through the Rocky Mountains doesn’t sound appealing, test out a Stormy at the Pass made with Montana hibiscus coconut rum and ginger beer.
Eight specially designed cocktails are on the menu and primarily feature state-made ingredients with flavors inspired from what you can find around the park. Needless to say, Russell’s isn’t your run-of-the-mill National Park bar.
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Before there was Russell’s, there was the Lake McDonald Lodge, the building that houses Russell’s. The Swiss chalet-style lodge was built more than 100 years ago, long before tourists flooded into the park. There weren’t any roads or railroads that ran to the building location, so throughout the winter of 1913-1914, local stone and timber were slid across the frozen Lake McDonald to the location for the lodge. The outside was made to look Swiss, while the inside was built in the style of a hunting lodge with as much local inspiration as possible. There are, however, a few crucial mistakes that live on to this day — the Native American-inspired totem pole, for example, even though the tribes in that area never used totem poles, the National Parks Service notes.
The local theme wasn’t always possible at the bar, however. Montana’s first distillery in over a century, RoughStock Whiskey, was built in 2005. Fourteen more distilleries making whiskey, rum and gin have joined RoughStock since, the The Great Falls Tribune writes. On the brewery front, there are around six-and-a-half breweries per 100,000 residents. Russell’s features 10 of them (and two Montana wines).
The National Park system is something to behold. It’s hard to underestimate how important wilderness preservation and an understanding of nature is, and Glacier National Park has plenty of it with 734 miles to hike, camping spots and lakes galore. That said, the cold winters, hot summers and the great outdoors aren’t for everyone. At Russell’s, you can have your nature and your fancy cocktail, too.