Until recently, I was satisfied with my bar knife—the small paring knife I use to strip swaths of lemon zest and halve limes. But then I saw Boston bartender Jackson Cannon’s knife, and I knew that my bar armory (barmory) was sadly ill-equipped.
Cannon's knife is a strange little thing, cut short at an angle with a small, graspable hilt. It doesn't look like any other type of knife—certainly not one you would find in a kitchen. And you wouldn't. It's based on a type of blade used to cut shoe leather in the 19th century.
Here's the story: When Cannon first opened The Hawthorne, his ultra-swank Boston cocktail den, he went in search of a signature bar knife. He called up R. Murphy Knives (a small Massachusetts company that's been making a huge range of blades for 150 years, and which Cannon refers to as his "knife farm") and requested that they bring over a selection of knives—"the weirder the better." One caught Cannon's eye. “I fell in love with this real ugly duckling,” he says. “I couldn’t put it down. I was doing everything from cutting fruit to opening boxes with it.”