Of the many fruits of Montana’s quirky and creative denizens, the Hopshnop liqueur from Big Fork’s Whistling Andy distillery is particularly unexpected. Born from a collaboration with Bonsai Brewing Project (based in Whitefish, MT), the Hopshnop is a bright and bracing way to introduce the citrusy, floral bitterness of a good IPA into some of your regular cocktails.
It starts with Bonsai Brewing Project’s mash for their Due North India Red Ale, a hoppy 7% IRA that clocks in at a sturdy 85bu, and those hops show up brilliantly in the liqueur. What comes across most is the floral character of the hops and the aroma, with the bitterness showing up on the finish to cap it all off. Think of it less as a straight spirit and more as an extra layer of flavor to splash into other citrus-tinged drinks: try a splash added to a gin and tonic for a more robust botanical effect, or do a Hopshnop rinse on a glass of rich bourbon to add a bit of crispness. Chilled and served neat, this would make a fine digestif in place of a pastis or sipped alongside a heavy meal like an aquavit. As another thing to consider, Whistling Andy does not use any artificial flavorings or colorings, so you can be assured that everything in their bottles is natural and crafted with attention to the details.