In this weeks interview, we chat with Jamie Boudreau of Canon in Seattle. Throughout the years he has won countless awards including the Cheers Rising Star award in 2010. He has become one of the most influential members of the bartending community first on his blog spiritsandcocktails and now as the host of Raising the Bar on the Small Screen Network. Watching his videos and reading his blog was one of the main motivations behind me becoming interested in the cocktail movement.
How did you get involved in bartending and when did you realize this would be a career and not just a job?
I’ve been working in a bar since I was 16 years old, but it wasn’t until around 2002 that I decided that this was going to be my career.
What do you enjoy most about owning your own bar?
Calling the shots! It’s nice to be able to try things that previous people that I’ve worked for didn’t want to try and knowing that if I fail, it’s all on me.
Why is whiskey your booze of choice for collecting?
I’ve always been a whiskey fan, and quite frankly because it’s collectible! If I collected gin I feel that there isn’t much room to grow and within a year or two I would have almost all of them. That will never happen with whiskey.
If you could step back in time with what you now know, what would you tell your past self about opening your own place.
Do it sooner (I should have done it in 2002 when I first contemplated it) and that it will consume more of your life than you could possibly imagine.
You have traveled the world picking up tidbits of information from a vast array of bartenders. What are some of the more salient points that have stuck with you?
By far the most important part of the bar is hospitality. I’ve been too many great bars and many poor to mediocre bars, but the one thing that keeps them all busy is a friendly bartender. Everything else is secondary.
Why did you decide to create a boozy ice cream float?
I’ve always liked doing adult twists on things that I’ve enjoyed as a child. Both food and drink. We did a rootbeer float with fernet ice cream last year and we’ve done a Ramos gin fizz with Fruit Loop milk in the past as well.
How did you settle on the “Last Word” cocktail as the basis? Were there other cocktails that you tried that didn’t work? If so, what were they and why did they fail?
I decided on the Last Word because we had an ice cream sandwich with chartreuse ice cream on the menu and just thought it’d make a great float. All the ingredients were in house and I banged it our pretty quickly. No failed floats yet.
Do you have any projects or ideas you are currently working on?
We haven’t even reached our second year as a restaurant/bar yet so right now I’m just working on getting things as efficient and smooth as possible, and then we’ll see from there. As for drinks, we change the menu every two months and we just did the change so it’ll be another month or so before I start coming up with the new menu.
928 12th Ave
Seattle, WA, 98122