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Mixology Hour: Bringing Home the Art of Craft Cocktails

While whiskey straight up may be the stereotypical cowboy drink, it’s certainly not the only option for wetting your whistle in the West. The Ranch at Rock Creek is an experiential oasis, perfectly suited to a martini before the Homestead Supper Club, a Negroni as a fireside aperitif, or a margarita by the pool.

The Motherlode Cocktail sits ready to be enjoyed after mixology hour in the Great Room
Read on to find the recipe for this cocktail, The Motherlode. 

Cocktails are a cultural experience, steeped in centuries of creative pairings. The beauty of mixology is that you can adapt recipes to the setting, the season and the individual.

Bar Manager Ned Derosier’s cocktail menus in the Silver Dollar Saloon and the Great Room change frequently to highlight local spirits and seasonal abundance. For example, summer cocktails might feature foraged sage, huckleberries and Flathead cherries. You’re sure to get a taste of wild Montana when you saddle up to the bar.

Artisan cocktails in the Silver Dollar Saloon at The Ranch at Rock Creek luxury guest ranch
In fact, you can literally saddle up to the bar in the Silver Dollar Saloon. 

Premium wine, beer and spirits are part of the included amenities, and our nightly social hour creates an opportunity to taste local microbrews, artisan cocktails or regional wines along with hors d’oeuvres from the kitchen that complement the meal ahead.

The Ranch at Rock Creek helped the Montgomery Distillery release their new whiskey during Autumn Harvest Weekend 2015
The Ranch hosted a special Montgomery Distillery’s spirits tasting during our 2015 Autumn Harvest Weekend.

Both bars feature award-winning microbrews from our local Philipsburg Brewing Company and several other Western Montana craft breweries. The Ranch is proud to rotate over 15 Montana-made beers throughout the year and feature over a dozen spirits from a growing number of Montana distilleries, like Missoula’s Montgomery Distillery and Headframe Spirits in Butte. This year, we have also introduced two new gluten-free hard ciders from Western Cider in Missoula. Our local libations seem to broaden with each passing year.

Mixology Hour in the Great Room

Last fall, Ned began hosting a special Sunday night mixology hour as part of our evening social hour in the Great Room. He noticed guests would often ask him about tricks of the trade, favorite spirits and recipes. He realized they were looking for ways to bring the art of mixology home.

Artisan cocktails with a Montana flare are served nightly in the Great Room at The Ranch at Rock Creek
The Great Room not only hosts mixology hour and social hour, it is a hub of activity at The Ranch. 

Instead of a class in making one recipe or using one style of spirit, mixology hour usually starts with a question and answer session. Ned caters to preferences, tailoring instruction to each group.

He often shares the essentials for any good cocktail, and how proportions and flavors work together to achieve an exceptional drink. From there, guests might have a tasting of local spirits, get behind the bar and try a few techniques or learn to make their favorite cocktail.

Ned explained, “It’s all designed to help people get more comfortable with cocktails. Like fly fishing, archery or our new photography workshop, it’s an experience that has the power to become a hobby. They can bring home what they learned and put their skills to use right away.”

Bar Manager Ned strains a Motherlode cocktail into a coup glass during mixology hour

Guests can get as in-depth as they would like. For example, Ned can share recipes for homemade orgeat syrup or brandied cherries to elevate their bars with more crafted elements. Mixology hour can even inspire guests to start experimenting with flavors and developing their own signature recipes.

In honor of the upcoming holiday, Ned shared a recipe for one of his Mother’s Day cocktails. Using Stonehouse Distillery’s Montana white rum, he makes the motherlode of all daiquiris. (A motherlode in local mining terms is a rich vein of ore. Mom will know she hit the jackpot when she tries this cocktail). He also included a mocktail version for teetotalers and mothers-to-be.

Cheers to Mother’s Day

Bar Manager Ned Derosier puts instructs how to make The Motherlode cocktail in honor of Mother's Day

The Motherlode


  • Juice of one lime (approx. 1.5 oz. lime juice)
  • 1.5 oz. of Stonehouse Distillery Montana white rum or your favorite white rum
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 oz. Heering Cherry Liqueur, cherry brandy, or grenadine
  • Ice
  • Cherries for garnish


  • Citrus juicer
  • Shaker with strainer
  • Spoon
  • Coupe glass


  1. Juice 1 lime.
  2. Pour equal parts lime juice and simple syrup into a shaker.
  3. Pour 1.5 oz. locally distilled white rum into a shaker.
  4. Top with ice. Shake vigorously.*
  5. Cover with a strainer. Strain into a coupe glass.
  6. Sink a spoon into the glass, turn spoon so backside is facing out.
  7. Pour 1 oz. of Heering Cherry Liqueur, cherry brandy, or grenadine down the spoon so it sinks to the bottom.
  8. Garnish with cherries, preferably brandied or Bordeaux cherries.
  9. * The key to this drink is to shake it thoroughly with ice. It is served straight up and frosty cold.

To make this into a Motherlode Mocktail, double the measurements of the non-alcoholic ingredients, shake vigorously with ice and sink a double doze of grenadine into the bottom. Garnish with cherries. This tangy cocktail tastes very close to the real thing.

Make The Motherlode for mom this year as the cherry on top of a perfect celebration. Cheers to all mothers!

Looking for a last minute gift to wow your mom? Our Luxury Spa & Nature Retreat lasts until June 7 and then continues this September 4 through November 15, 2018.