A standard in the Tiki world with tart citrus, flavorful rum and a bit of a kick from dry absinthe... tropical deliciousness.
Tiki cocktails can sweep you away to another world.
Their over the top decorations and bright fruity flavors make us think of the slow tropical afternoons without a care in the world.
Yes, the Dr. Funk has all that, but it does it in a unique way. Rather than hitting you with tons of coconut and pineapple flavors it gets its fruitiness from citrus, a touch of grenadine and funky rum.
Add in a whisper of absinthe and you've got one funky Tiki drink.
Absinthe in a Tiki cocktail?
Yup, and it's damn good too!
Absinthe has a really dry bold anise flavor to it like black licorice. I know that's a really powerful flavor, but you only use a tiny amount in the Dr Funk to give a complex background layer.
When combined with funky Jamaican rum and the crisp tartness of lemons and limes it works beautifully.
When purchasing a bottle of absinthe you don't need to go over the top. There are fancy bottlings well over $100 but you don't need that to just add 1/4 oz to a cocktail.
My favorite is the St George spirits because it comes in a nice small bottle with a better price point that is exactly what I need, and lasts forever.
You'll need some funky Jamaican Rum
The key ingredient in the Dr. Funk is the rum.
Funkiness is a term used to describe the bold overripe fruit flavors that come from certain styles of rum. That "funk" brings an awesome flavor to the final cocktail but you've got to have the right rum.
The Jamaican rums from Hamilton are incredible and I would really recommend them to anybody. You can also go with a rum from Appleton Estate or Hampden Estate for other Jamaican options.
Make sure to get a "dark" or "gold" rum, NOT white. White rum has its place in classics like the Daiquiri, but not here.
Balance out the Dr. Funk
A combination of equal parts lemon and lime gives a full flavored tartness to the Dr. Funk that goes so well with absinthe.
To balance out all that citrus you need to add some sweetness in the form of grenadine and simple syrup.
Whip up a batch of homemade grenadine to use in your drinks!
Grenadine adds the smallest hint of fruitiness and balance while the simple syrup fills in the remaining gap.
Overall the drink still comes off as slightly tart and dry, but you still need to add the cocktail syrups to keep things in check.
The history behind the Dr. Funk
The drink was first created by, and named after, a Polynesian physician Dr. Benard Funk. It was a potent combination of absinthe, lime, grenadine and soda water probably capable of blowing your head off.
When one of the famous Tiki founders, Don Beach opened his first Tiki bar the drink was on the menu as a more tame version with a light rum added to the mix.
It would then be adapted and adjusted for years, and this version is one from Martin Cate in his book Smuggler's Cove that was first brought to my attention by a distinguished spirits YouTube video.
This versions balances out the tartness and uses a flavorful and funky dark or gold Jamaican rum that's absolutely delicious!
Dr Funk Cocktail
- 2 1/2 oz Dark or Gold Jamaican Rum
- 1/4 oz Absinthe
- 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
- 1/2 oz Lime Juice
- 1/4 oz Grenadine
- 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
- 1 oz Soda Water
- Mint for Garnish - optional
- Add all the liquid ingredients EXCEPT the soda water to your cocktail shaker.
- Add about a cup of crushed ice to the shaker or crack regular cubes into your shaker by whacking them with the back of a spoon.
- Shake hard for a few seconds and pour the drink with ice into a tiki mug or large glass using your cocktail strainer at the end to get all the liquid into the glass.
- Stick in a straw and add a fancy tiki garnish if you'd like. It's really great with mint to get a fresh minty scent with each sip but it's still great without it.
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