Canon is a little cocktail bar in Capitol Hill next to Lark and across from Cafe Presse on 12th. It has wide blinds in the window and its bar-tops are rumored to be stained with bitters. On one of my runs as a wine rep, I came across this little hidden whiskey house and was intrigued from the get-go. You see, I love whiskey and bitters. If I can’t get my hands on the fancy S***, my cheap well-drink of choice is Whiskey & Ginger (real ginger-ale, bar “ginger-ale” should be barred) with artisan bitters and a slice of lime. For a crafted cocktail, I love anything with whiskey and vermouth like a Manhattan. The bitter the better. I like old man drinks and Canon is where you can get one. No sweetheart, you won’t find some cheesy over-sugared “cosmo” on the menu here.
Seattle is really exploding with the whole speak-easy, prohibition style old-fashioned cocktail bars with bartenders in cute little vests to match. I read up on Canon and realized my intrigue was onto something as Jamie Boudreau, the mastermind running the canon, had been praised as the next best bartender/mixologist in America. But I was intrigued not just by his thoughtful inventions like the Vermouth experiment (a tiny 3 mini Manhattans with each a unique Vermouth including Punt e Mes) but I was curious about his food. After all, the cocktail is intended as either an appetite stimulant or an after-dinner digestive “remedy”. Bitters stimulate our digestive juices, they really do taste like medicine for a reason! If you have a good tummy warming cocktail, you should have some noshes to accompany them. Indeed, Canon is the best kept foodie secret. Pictured above was a Cassoulet, which is a type of is a rich, slow-cooked casserole originating in the south of France, containing meat (in this case, sausage) and white haricot beans with a roasted chicken leg. It was truly flavorful, considerate and complex in textures. I like that there was this creamy rich sauce and then perfectly cooked buttery beans, herbaceous sausage rich in sage (I heart sage), and this crispy skinned chicken whose meat was super moist and creamy. And it was good enough for 2 and a steal at 20. We also had some other small plates like Ricotta Gnudi (a type of ricotta dumplings) and seared salmon with black truffle and leeks. These were simple, tasty and downright wonderful. Because food’s friend is wine (cocktails are food’s rebound), I found myself enjoying some unique and obscure French red wines. I highly recommend Canon- but make a night of it. Start off with some caramel popcorn, order a couple small plates and enjoy a glass or two of a unique wine and finish with nice digestif cocktail like the Vermouth experiment. Cheers!