On Tuesday of last week, we had driven to Issaquah to pick up my work from an art show and decided to go home by way of Seattle. We ended up in Capitol Hill exactly at 5 o’clock, just in time to get a seat at the bar at Canon, Jamie Boudreau’s new place (which is in the old Licorous location, btw). And if that weren’t cool enough, our bartender turned out to be none other than the legendary Murray Stenson, previously of Zig Zag Cafe. He said he had only worked half a dozen shifts or so at Canon, and he was still feeling his way around the bar, but it was a true pleasure to finally get to watch him at work.
The cocktail menu had some interesting drinks on it, but none of them seemed quite what we wanted. Murray pierced us each with a penetrating stare and asked a few pertinent questions (clear or brown? bitter or sweet?) After a short interrogation, he determined that what I wanted was a drink made with either bourbon or rye, bitter or herbal in tone, but soft and easy. He whisked away and poked around in the shelves, returning shortly with a cocktail. A version of the Currier (this was the only drink name we were able to get out of Murray all night), it had Buffalo Trace bourbon, Rose’s lime juice, fresh lime and kummel, a caraway-scented liqueur. Really interesting, balanced and complex.
Jon’s first drink was a gorgeous concoction of excellent rum and amaro and I forget what else. It was delicious. I have no memory of his second drink, except that I know it had Campari in it. Dang, I knew I should have been taking notes. I do remember that we had a plate of ricotta gnudi with kale and shiitakes that was truly delightful and paired rather well with our first round.
As we sat admiring the liquor collection, my eye was caught by the tequila selection almost immediately over my head. I asked if I could have something with tequila for my second cocktail, and Murray’s eyes lit up. “Oh yeah!” he said, and dashed off. The drink that appeared before me definitely had tequila and green Chartreuse, but I’m not at all sure what else. Some sort of juice, and a bit of lime zest. It paired perfectly with the Barron Point oysters we were eating.
Needless to say, Canon is an amazing bar (dare I say, even on a night when Murray isn’t working). We are SO going back as soon as possible.