Canon, a self-described whiskey and bitters emporium, is definitely deserving of all the buzz and accolades it has earned, including being named one of the best bars in the world by Drinks International in 2014. Even at 5 p.m. on a Monday night, within minutes after opening, the intimate charming bar was packed with booze lovers. Count me in! Perched at the corner of the bar to closely watch the bartenders in action, they did not disappoint and treated us to a show indeed. Boasting the largest spirit collection in the western hemisphere at 3,500 labels and counting, I just had to ask Hailey, our bartender, how on earth they kept track of where each bottle went. Out came the iPad with a library of all their spirits by shelf. Spirit search time!
I was overwhelmed with the huge “lavish libations” menu and had to take some time to choose what to try. My friends had been to Canon before so went right after some favorites-the “Campfire in Georgia” and the Truffle Old Fashioned. After lighting up some cinnamon French oak on the plate with a mini-blow torch, Hailey dropped the glass cover over the drink concoction of mescal, peach-habanero shrub and fresh oj to infuse the cocktail with smokiness galore. Quite the production:
The smokiness theme continued with the Khaleesi Cocktail that features “dragon’s blood smoke” (not kidding!) which is blown into a glass skull and then transferred into a mix of canon high west rye, bourbon, punt e mes, strawberry, and tonka bean. WTF! Exotic ingredients that added up to a tasty cocktail for my friend that I got to taste. Thanks K!
Now, for my cocktail selection, I decided on a slut theme, starting first with the aged cocktail list offering of the “Hanky Panky” made up of gin, sweet vermouth, fernet branca, orange zest and aged in the cutest little bottle for three years. Yes, you swig the Hanky straight from the bottle! That went down just fine and I followed it with The Tramp consisting of Plymouth sloe gin, giffard apricot, fresh lime juice and dry sparking wine. Less serious but highly entertaining sipping out of a glass this time. Classy.
With all that alcohol, either load up on some carbs before you go or, better yet, order a basket of bread with smoked butter. DAMN. The booze was awesome but the smoked butter was heaven on a baguette. They have other nibbles including smoked salmon, squash, beef, etc. Needing something other than bread, I ordered the bourbon nuts. With one bite of warm caramel corn/pretzel/bourbon smoky nuts, my taste buds swooned again. I loved their warning on the food menu:
“Alcohol, eggs, sex, undercooked foods and most enjoyable things in life can and will kill you if you give them enough time. Live life to the fullest until then.” Amen, Canon. I’ll be back.
Open 5 p.m.-2 a.m. daily, visit Canon, 928 12th Avenue on Capitol Hill in Seattle. Be prepared to pay $25 in advance to get a reservation. Don’t worry-it’s pricey so that $25 will go towards the many cocktails and nibbles you will enjoy. Life is short. Cheers!