While it opened a little more than a year ago, in September 2011, Canon: Whiskey and Bitters Emporium is still fresh on the Seattle cocktail scene. In fact, we ve spoken with several local cocktail devotees who admit they haven t yet been. Which is a mistake, because if you revere cocktails made with care, precision and a dose of history, Canon is a must.

Opened by virtuoso mixologist Jamie Boudreau (who s shaken and stirred at many cocktail spots in Seattle, including Vessel and Rob Roy), Canon has a subtly splendid style, one that echoes an earlier time period. Its dark wood, tin ceiling, luscious antique-y wallpaper, mahogany bar stained deep with angostura bitters, and intimate ambiance provide the chance for a transformative moment. Here, it seems to say, your life just might change.

At least, you ll know you re in for a very good drink, a fact made evident by the massive bottle shelf behind the L-shaped bar, packed with a vast array of spirits, liqueurs and mixers, along with old bar bottles and bar equipment. When sitting at the bar by yourself or with a friend in the thick of the action, the way Canon is best experienced gazing at the choices, it s pretty obvious that this is a place in which the creation of cocktails is serious business.

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