Dr. Funk Mai Tai with Denizen Vatted Dark Rum

Denizen Merchant’s Reserve rum has a well-earned reputation for being a great single-bottle Mai Tai rum. It’s a blend of aged Jamaican rum along with some molasses-based rum from Martinique, intended to reproduce the rum used in Trader Vic’s “Second Adjusted Formula” from the 1950s.

While at Dr. Funk I thought I’d give their excellent Mai Tai a try with Denizen’s more recent blended rum product, the Vatted Dark. This is a 100 proof blend of Demerara Rum from Guyana along with unaged Rhum Agricole from Martinique. The complex and savory notes work well in a Mai Tai and other cocktails, and the Dr. Funk version delivered.

I also tried the chicken skewers that have a wonderful ginger glaze. These were quite tasty and served alongside seasoned rice. A very good portion for the price.

Chartreuse Swizzle

First time having this cocktail originally created by Marco Dionysos, but if Dr. Funk‘s version is any indication this is a cocktail I need to put into the rotation. Quite refreshing with Green Chartreuse, Falernum, Lime, and Pineapple.

¾ oz Lime Juice
1 oz Pineapple Juice
½ oz Falernum
1¼ oz Green Chartreuse
Shake with nice or swizzle in a tall glass

I just picked up a bootle of Green Chartreuse. Any cocktail recommendations using it are welcome, please leave a comment.

Hukilau in San Jose

Dropped by to see how Hukilau is doing. This Hawaiian restaurant is located in San Jose’s Japantown and seemed to have made it through the pandemic unscathed. You can’t sit at the bar, but there are a few tables in the front area to sip drinks or sample appetizers. The large “tiki room” in the back is where most guests having a meal will sit.

Hukilau is listed in Critiki.com’s list of tiki destinations, but is more Hawaiian than tiki. There are a coupe tikis on posters and the bar has a thatch covering but otherwise that’s it. A great place for a beer and some food, though.

Rum House

The pour of Worthy Park Special Cask Series: Port Cask at Dr. Funk was really great. Such a flavorful Jamaican rum, aged 10 years with two in the Port wine barrel. Though, I’m not sure that I tasted a lot of “port” in the sipping glass. Nonetheless this was a great option from Dr. Funk’s growing rum list.

Rum Subs in a Mai Tai

Had a very nice Mai Tai at Dr. Funk in San Jose with just Appleton 12 Jamaican Rum. This produced a cocktail that was less boozy and less funky than Dr. Funk’s standard Mai Tai that is made with Appleton 12 and higher proof Smith & Cross Jamaican rum. I’m often a big fan of Mai Tais made just with Appleton 12, though the one with Smith & Cross is better at Dr. Funk.

Most good bars will allow customers to try cocktails with a different, name-called spirit when requested by the customer (always politely, of course). We usually do this in a Mai Tai, but for rums a Daiquiri is also a good option. This can be a great way to discover new rums, especially if you’re not keen on drinking them neat. Dr. Funk has an expanding rum list (which has grown so large it’s no longer listed on the menu), so I’m looking forward to exploring their selection.

Speaking of Dr. Funk, we’re having the monthly 1st Sunday Ohana meet-up starting when they open at 4:00 and ending … later. I know many of the local folks will be attending the Brunch and Fashion Show at Trader Vic’s that same day but try to join us if you can or if you’re skipping Vic’s.

Dr. Funk Navy Grog

Unlike the Mai Tai which has a well-established canonical recipe, the Navy Grog does not. There’s the Don the Beachcomber version. There’s the Trader Vic’s version. There are versions that blend key ingredients from both. And then there are places that do something different. This is the Dr. Funk Navy Grog.

Still a heavy cocktail with lots of grapefruit and rum, but it does not lean into the traditional ingredients such as honey or pimento dram. Instead, Dr. Funk introduces a different set of spices including Grapefruit Bitters. It is worth trying and you might even prefer this recipe.

Dr. Funk March Matchiness Meetup

The South Bay Ohana meetups at Dr. Funk in downtown San Jose are currently the 1st Sunday and 3rd Wednesday of each month. This month the theme was March Matchiness, which gave Mrs. Mai Tai and I an excuse to wear this Witchdoctor matching set we bought a couple years ago and designed by Devon Deveraux.

We finally got to try the food at Dr. Funk and found it be pretty good. Service was great as always, even for us with a larger group and some people coming and going.

Come join us at the next meet-up on Sunday April 3.

Sling of Davy Jones at Dr. Funk

I was pleased to try this Singapore Sling riff at Dr. Funk, which I found to be a wonderful blend of complex flavors. It is made with “wild roses, velvety honey, bright citrus, Cocchi Rosa aromatized sweet vermouth, Becherovka herbal bitters & gin.”

Ken Wongdejanan really crushed it on this one. The cocktail program at Dr. Funk continues to impress and seems to be extraordinarily strong across all cocktail styles.

A Round of Mai Tais at Dr. Funk

Mai Tai Monday is from Dr. Funk, again. Honestly, I wasn’t planning to have the amazing Dr. Funk Mai Tai, but when a certain someone buys a round for the table in honor of birthday boy @vonschiltach, I’ll consider it a blessing. Mahalo!

Dr. Funk was quite busy on Saturday, as you’d expect on a weekend. But there was also a Sharks game and some temperate conditions, so the entire inside of the bar and the outside patio were all filled. There was even a private party all the way around the side the building. But, the staff at Dr. Funk were really working well and our service all evening was great and the cocktails were made perfectly. It was quite helpful that we had reservations (pro-tip!) and we also found the garage on 3rd street to be much easier to get into than the one we usually use on Market/San Pedro Square.

Patron & Saints at Dr. Funk

It’s always nice when the drink menu provides guidance on the booziness of the cocktails. I was looking for something lower on the scale that I hadn’t tried yet at Dr. Funk and the Patron & Saints was recommended… or maybe prescribed. You know.

Patron & Saints is “a funky milk punch made with Jamaica’s Overproof Rum-Bar, Denizen, Southeast Asian pandan, rich Madagascar vanilla & citrus. Enjoy as a single serving or double serving.” Most definitely sweet and satisfying, heavy on vanilla and served over a big rock of ice.