Sunday, September 28, 2008

Only Funkin'

It sometimes seems that those of us who write cocktail blogs are especially prone to following similar lines of booze-soaked thinking. I sometimes think it must be some sort of collective-subconscious inspired in part by our prodigious drinking habits...

Case in point - I embarked upon this post with the aim of writing about a certain pair of Tiki cocktails of which I am rather fond when, hey presto, I check my blog reader to see that Tiare - the fabulously-talented mixologist from A Mountain of Crushed Ice - has beat me to the punchbowl as it were. Her research & descriptions of those classic cocktails, the Dr. Funk and Funk's Son specifically, are both spot-on and well-done (as always). That she prepared the drinks in a pair of beautifully-executed ice towers (!), makes her post an incredibly hard act to follow. Nevertheless, I'll make an attempt to contribute something to the topic of the inestimable Doctor Funk...

In my recent and fairly long-winded vacation recap, I mentioned a number of spirits I had acquired in my travels. One of these was a French Pastis flavored with Violets - an interesting spirit of 45% ABV which reminds me considerably of a combination of the best elements of both Herbsaint and Crème de Violette. After getting a feel for its strength & (very) pleasant flavor, I began searching for a use for the stuff in cocktails. Despite a few marginal successes with some recipes from the Savoy cocktail book, the savory use of Absinthe/Pastis as an addition to many of Tiki barman Donn Beach's libations continued to spring to mind...

One of the finest examples of this modifier is the good Samoan doctor's cocktail, which Trader Vic speculated was originally invented to cure the cathard (the loss of ones' mind from the heat). After a bit of experimentation with the various recipes for the original, alongside a variety of substitutions for different ingredients, I settled with a riff on the (slightly-simplified) Dr. Funk recipe which Jeff "Beachbum" Berry prepared for an episode of The Cocktail Spirit filmed at the close of this year's Tales of the Cocktail. Maybe there is something to this boozy collective-subconscious thing after all? In any case, here she is, a very funky libation named after an old song by another hard act to follow - Bad Manners (©):

Only Funkin'
1½ oz. flavorful white Rum (Rhum Barbancourt white)
¾ Tsp. Pastis au Violette
¾ Tsp. Hibiscus Grenadine
¾ oz. fresh Lemon juice
¾ oz. Violet "Tea" Syrup (see below)
1 oz. Seltzer
2 Tsp. heavy dark Rum (Cruzan Blackstrap)
Combine all ingredients except Seltzer & dark Rum in a cocktail shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake well & strain into a chimney glass ¾-filled with crushed ice. Top with Seltzer, give a brief stir and float the dark Rum on top, adding more crushed ice if necessary. Garnish with a long twist of Lemon & an edible Violet.

Violet "Tea" Syrup
1 Cup: white Sugar
¾ Cup: Water
2½ Tablespoons: Blue Violet Herb Mix
1 Tsp. dried Hibiscus flowers, coarsely ground
Combine ingredients in a saucepan & bring to a gentle simmer over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for five minutes & remove from heat. Allow Violet Mixture to steep until liquid cools to room temperature before fine-straining out solids & bottling (a small tea ball/infuser will minimize this step considerably).

Can't find a Violet-flavored Pastis or get ahold of the required herbal blend? The following substitutions work fairly well & produce almost the same beverage with only marginally more work. For the Violet Pastis, a mixture of approximately 2/3 Herbsaint & 1/3 Crème de Violette is fine. For the Violet "Tea" Syrup, a 3:1 blend of Monin Violet Syrup (or an equivalent commercial syrup) with strong Green tea will more or less replicate the flavor you're seeking...

Cheers & Enjoy!


Stampin Fairy said...

looks wonderful!

thanks for adding me to your watch list. Check my blog later today for an update in the "liquid creations" section.

Kaiser Penguin said...

It's like you were abducted by Thomas Keller when you created this recipe. Now I know how most folks feel when they look at the exotic cocktails I write about. I'd love to make this, but totally don't see myself making the 3-4 ingredients required that I don't have :)

Tiare said...

Thanks Chris for your kind words! but was it that you meant when you wrote " uncanny timing"?? i first didn`t know what that word meant..

But this drink here is great!

Need some ingredients..i have noticed though that the homemade Hibiscus syrup seems to more and more be a stable!

For my part i don`t want to be without the addition of Hibiscus flowers in it EVER! and i can thank you for that;-)

Tiare said...

Just found out about your B-Day! Congrats and please visit the MOR where you have a PM!