Jackson Cannon isn’t the kind of bartender to pour a mix over ice and call it a margarita.  The Boston-based Cannon is at the cutting edge of the craft cocktail movement—he’s a nationally known master mixologist, whose bar, The Hawthorne, has received several James Beard Award nominations for “Outstanding Bar Program”as well as the Tales of the Cocktail 2017 Spirited Award as “Best American Hotel Bar.”

So when Cannon approached R. Murphy Knives about collaborating on a bar knife, the historic Massachusetts company listened. This meeting of the minds resulted in the Jackson Cannon Bar Knife, introduced in 2013, and the Jackson Cannon Bar Saw, which came to market in 2017.

The Original Jackson Cannon Bar Knife

But before cocktails and cutlery came into his life, Cannon was pursuing a musical career.  He studied at Berklee College of Music and traveled the world in support of alt and blues musical artists. After a foray into booking music acts in Cambridge, he got his first taste of bartending.  Cannon learned the craft and its history with gusto and, with three colleagues, formed the Jack Rose Society, intent on preserving the legacy of the American cocktail. Cannon eventually served as bar manager at Eastern Standard, the restaurant at Hotel Commonwealth, near Fenway Park. In 2011, he opened The Hawthorne, the hotel’s bar, as co-proprietor and bar director.  The bar, which has a foundation of 400-plus cocktails that range from classics to creatives, has a hipster spin on a cozy living room setting.

When it came to bar tools, Cannon soon realized that he was burning through a lot of cheap knives and that there was a gap in the availability of good knives for bartenders. He partnered with R. Murphy Knives—a firm founded in 1850 as manufacturers of dental and surgical instruments—to create a knife specifically for bar use. The Jackson Cannon Bar Knife features a four-inch carbon stainless steel blade with squared off tip, making easy work of slicing citrus peels, notching garnishes and removing seeds from fruit.  That bar knife led to another design, the Jackson Cannon Bar Saw, with a six-inch notched, straight-edge high carbon stainless steel blade, perfect for cutting thick-skinned fruit like pineapple and melon. Both knives’ blades stay sharp, resist acids in citrus, and come with hardwood handles.

The Original Jackson Cannon
(photo credit: Melissa Ostrow)

“As a musician by training, I’ve always had an eye on the intersection of art, work, service, drink and culture,” says Cannon, explaining both his weltanschauung and dedication to his craft. “I have long appreciated the attention to detail for their hand-crafted products that R. Murphy has, and decided that we should combine our shared commitment to craftsmanship and collaborate to produce the best bar knife possible.”

The Jackson Cannon Bar Knives are 15% off for a limited time at Amusespot.com.
Use code CANNON when checking out.

The Hawthorne
(photo: Gustav Holland)
The Hawthorne (photo: Gustav Holland)

Here’s a cocktail recipe from Jackson Cannon’s bar, The Hawthorne.

Use the Jackson Cannon Bar Saw to cut up the pineapple for juice.

The Gladstone
1½ oz. Absolut Elyx vodka
½ oz. fresh pineapple juice
½ oz. simple syrup
½ oz. white creme de cacao
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
1 dash Bittermens Elemakule Tiki Bitters
Shake all ingredients and serve in a coupe. Garnish with grated chocolate.

Or grab a proper one at The Hawthorne:

500A Commonwealth Avenue,
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 532-9150
Open Nightly From 4 p.m. – 1 a.m.
(photo credit: Gustav Holland)