Promising Signs of Better Cocktails at Dr. Funk

We were disappointed to see downtown San Jose’s Dr. Funk have quality control issues with their cocktails over the past six months or so. Many of the drinks had been prepared in an unbalanced method, unlike the excellent drinks program that launched the bar in late 2021.

Last night we ventured down for their Traditional Tiki Tuesday event where happy hour specials are in effect all evening and where a guest DJ spins records. DJ Ship Rex was in the house, as he is now every 4th Tuesday of the month, playing an energetic set of vintage and vintage-sounding songs. Really tight.

I ordered the Mai Tai, which once again is made with Appleton Estate 12 and Smith & Cross Jamaica rums. I’m pleased to report the balance of ingredients was as it should be and that the house made orgeat still tastes pretty great. A second Mai Tai made with Planteray Xaymaca tasted just as a good, maybe a little bit more forward with funky rum notes than the standard issue.

The cocktail menu has been updated. Prices are higher (that’s $17 for a Mai Tai now, though still only $12 on happy hour) and the number of drinks has been pared back a little. There are now 16 items, notably bringing back the namesake Dr. Funk cocktail that was omitted from menus starting in late 2022. Mrs. Mai Tai had a fabulous Missionary’s Downfall, shaken and served in a highball glass. She also had the Siren’s Shore that has Amaro, mango, Smith & Cross, and coconut. Julie says this wasn’t as good as the Missionary’s Downfall but I thought it was a pleasant surprise how the herbaceous flavors worked with the coconut.

It is welcome to see Dr. Funk’s bartenders consistently using jiggers, as shown in all their recent social media posts. Some of the cocktails including the Zombie are batched and provided on tap, though there was no issue with my called rum Mai Tai. Dr. Funk has a pretty nice rum selection so there’s plenty to explore if that’s your thing.

DJ Ship Rex

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