Dr Funk´s Son encased in a tower of crushed ice.

Who is Dr Funk and who is Dr Funk`s son?

Dr Funk is a classic Tiki drink named after a a German doctor who practised in Samoa treating among others the famous author Robert Louis Stevenson, sometimes in the beginning of the 20th Century, maybe even earlier. Most likely he created the drink as a medicinal tonic for his patients.

The German Dr Bernard Funk was employed in 1867 to practise privately in Apia, Samoa in the eighteen-nineties. So how did a German doctor in Samoa wind up getting an absinthe cocktail named after him being served in a Fu Manchu mug ? That question remains to be answered…this cocktail was almost always served in some variation of the Fu Manchu mug, except Trader Vic’s Doctor Funk of Tahiti, which is served in a chimney glass. As far as i know the original recipe has never been tracked down because the mysterious Dr Funk has mutated too many times.

A general description of the Doctor Funk cocktail recipe appears in the 1921 book, Mystic Isles of the South Seas: “It was made of a portion of absinthe, a dash of grenadine,—a syrup of the pomegranate fruit,—the juice of two limes, and half a pint of siphon water. Dr. Funk of Samoa, who had been a physician to Robert Louis Stevenson, had left the receipt for the concoction when he was a guest of the club. One paid half a franc for it, and it would restore self-respect and interest in one’s surroundings when even Tahiti rum failed.”

First time i read about this drink i found it very interesting. I have read books about the South Seas since i was a child, and i can recall reading a book about Louis Stevenson.

DR FUNK – Recipe from Beachbum Berry’s Intoxica!

2 1/2 oz. Dark Jamaican Rum

2 1/2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice

1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

1 1/2 oz. Club Soda

1/2 oz. Grenadine

1/4 oz. Absinthe

Shake all ingredients except club soda in a cocktail shaker with 1 cup of crushed ice. Pour into Fu Manchu mug or 12 oz. chimney glass. Top with soda and more crushed ice to fill

So who is Dr Funk`s son?

It was made by Trader Vic: The Trader didn’t claim to have invented the Doctor Funk, but he was the proud father of its son, a variation with a float of 151-proof rum instead of Pernod. ‘This is the drink that I originated,’ he wrote, ‘and I think that it’s better than Doctor Funk.”

I decided to make it  served with the glass inside in that beautiful tower of ice which i`ve seen in pictures.. super chilling the drink. When it comes to this tower of ice, i have seen two variations, one with a tower of crushed ice and one without crushed ice but plain, so i decided to make both. (The crushed ice tower is in the pic at the top.)

I haven`t seen any instructions anywhere in to how to make this ice tower so i made mine by placing the glass inside of a plastic ”bucket” a bit bigger than the glass filling the space in between with water and the into the freezer overnight.

For the crushed ice variety i filled the space first with crushed ice and the added water to freeze it all together. The one that is made with plain ice turned to be a bit cracked as the ice cracked a bit when i poured some warm water on the outside of the plastic bucket to loosen it from the glass.

DR FUNK´S SON (Trader Vic’s Bartenders guide)

Ice tower made with plain, not crushed ice

1/2 Lime

1/2 oz lemon juice

1 dash grenadine syrup

1 dash sugar syrup

1/2 oz 151 proof rum

2 oz dark Jamaica rum

2 oz club soda

Put everything in a mixing glass with ice and stir, pour into a 12 oz glass. Garnish with mint sprig and lime shell and fruit stick. I must admit that half the reason for me doing this drink was for the excitement in making of the ice towers..and then i find the history of Dr Funk very interesting.

7 Replies to “DR FUNK AND DR FUNK`S SON”

  1. Thank you for these recipes and your insights. I remember my first Dr Funk’s Son — I was a young grad student, in Dallas to deliver my first paper. The conference hotel was north of downtown. It was north of the Hilton at Mockingbird and Central Expressway. I just had to visit Trader Vic’s. I don’t remember what my first drink was, but I do remember that I was comped a drink of my choice when they learned I had walked a couple of miles just to visit them — nice folks! The glass was packed in an ice volcano, all sitting on a folded napkin and a saucer to catch the melting ice. They closed this location just a few years later, so, if you know the history, you might be able to estimate when I had been a young graduate student delivering his first paper!

  2. we rember how memorable that drink was, especially sitting at the Trader Vics Bar in nyc. Loved the place and the drink
    or after 4 maybe we dont remember.

  3. Chris – thanks, and as for the timing..well, i don`t know..? i had these ice towers lying in the freezer for a week before i got the time to make these drinks.

    Maybe there`s a icy mystic flowing in the air? Just a day before i was ready to post these drinks, Dr Bamboo, the best drawing artist on the planet did post one of the most awesome post and drawing i`ve ever seen – on the ice cone…duh..

    Rick,i think its really fun to experiment with ice, and the glasses were cold but not too cold to hold for a little while. But that´s why they are always served on top of napkins..the ice melts quite slowly though.

    Franky – Cheers and thanks!

  4. Holy smokes those ice towers are awesome!

    Great post on a pair of great drinks – uncanny timing too. ; )


  5. Beautiful shots Tiare. The garnish looks quite fun. Was the glass too cold to hold on to?

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