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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Drinks and Food » » The real Dr. Funk
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The real Dr. Funk
bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11127
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-10 12:16 am   Permalink

I do not dabble in cocktail research too much, because my friends Jeff Berry and Ted Haigh (and many others here) are far more advanced in the art and history of mixology than I will ever be. But sometimes during my Polynesian pop research I happen upon some curious info that had escaped even those formidable gentlemen so far. In this case it is from the early days of pre-Tiki Polynesian pop, from 1919. This post by Haole'akamai:

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=28914&forum=1

got me interested in the book "White Shadows in the South Seas". My 1919 printing did not have any of the clothing photos in it, but in the beginning I found what might be the earliest "South Seas Love Idyll with idol" photograph:



..so that was pretty cool. But leafing through the text, this passage jumped out at me:



Now to me the Dr. Funk cocktail had always been the unloved stepchild of Poly pop mixology, I just could not warm up to its licorice taste, and the mug being not Tiki.
But the fact that he had been a real person, intimately connected to one of the greats of South Seas fiction, now got my attention. After a little searching I found out that he was a GERMAN doctor in Apia, Samoa at the turn of the century, when Samoa was a German colony. Bernard Funk was friends with Robert Louis Stevenson, and indeed was present when he died.

That was all I could gather, marveling at the fact that a cocktail ascribed to a German ended up being presented in a Fu Manchu mug. It is likely that the origin of the cocktail had already been forgotten by the time of the Tiki period.

Unfortunately, I was unable to gather any more specifics about the inception and recipe of the potion. Your turn!


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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11127
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-10 11:23 am   Permalink

OK, since everybody is just so mazed by this revelation that they are struck mute, here is the earliest recipe I could come up with, from my 1947 Trader Vic's Bar Guide:



...and here are two snippets of info I gleaned from Google:

>> Information about Bernard Funk was more limited but the staff of the Apia Public Library kindly sent me a photograph and short biography from the 1907 edition of The Cyclopedia of Samoa.<<

>>R.L. Stevenson was helped into the great hall, between his wife and body-servant, Sosimo,
losing consciousness instantly, as he lay back in the arm-chair that had
once been his grandfather's. Little time was lost in bringing the
doctors, Anderson of the man-of-war, and his friend Dr. Funk. They
looked at him and shook their heads ... he had passed the bounds of
human skill....<<

I propose to restore the man's honor by creating a new Dr. Funk MUG, maybe with his likeness, and/or some visual reference to R.L. Stevenson's stories. But for that we have to find the earliest, most authentic recipe.


 
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Blowfish
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 09, 2006
Posts: 158
From: Hula-ifornia
Posted: 2008-07-10 11:31 am   Permalink

I for one applaud your efforts! Very cool to have turned that up.... and much like you I have always wondered, why the fu-man-chu mug.

It is time for a new Dr. Funk mug!


 
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Bora Boris
Mr. Unreasonable

Joined: Mar 25, 2005
Posts: 2571
From: Boogie Wonderland
Posted: 2008-07-10 12:00 pm   Permalink

I wonder if things got blurry early on between Dr. Funk and Fu Manchu since they were both Doctors?



Maybe they went to medical school together?

It would be cool if there were a picture of Dr. Funk so we could see if he had any facial hair and how he wore it.


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GatorRob
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2004
Posts: 1770
From: 3 hrs 33 mins to paradise
Posted: 2008-07-10 12:23 pm   Permalink



Let's not forget that the good doctor apparently had a son too (Dr. Funk's Son), who, according to Trader Vic, was a "chip off the old block". He also has a distant cousin named Doctor Fong.

This topic was partially discussed once before
over here. The highlight of that thread concerning this cocktail comes from James T.:

Quote:

On 2004-12-22 20:18, tikibars wrote:
The problem with this drink is that it has several variations: Dr. Funk, Dr. Funk of Tahiti, Dr. Fong, etc.

Unlike the mai tai or Zombie, who's recpies can easily be traced back to original classics, the mysterious Doctor has changed his identity and mutated too many times to track down the original.

My theory is that the popular Fu Manchu-style Tiki mug was so widely produced, and is so iconic and charismatic, that each Tiki restaurant in each city simply made up their own drink to put in it, and they all eventually became known generically as Dr. Funk (or Dr Fong at Chef Shangri-La in honor of the Chef himself, Paul Fong).

So I doubt there is one standard recipe for whatever concotion comes served in the Fu Manchu mug.



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cheekytiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 09, 2004
Posts: 1091
From: The Haole Hut, London, UK
Posted: 2008-07-10 12:38 pm   Permalink

Dr Funks Son!


Great thread Sven.


 
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MrBaliHai
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 01, 2002
Posts: 799
Posted: 2008-07-10 2:04 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-07-10 11:23, bigbrotiki wrote:
OK, since everybody is just so mazed by this revelation that they are struck mute, here is the earliest recipe I could come up with, from my 1947 Trader Vic's Bar Guide:


That's essentially the same version that appears in da Bum's Intoxica!, which, oddly enough, he credits to Don the Beachcomber. Another drink recipe rip-off by that thievin' bastid Bergeron?

In any case, now I know what I'm going to make after work tomorrow night.



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[ This Message was edited by: MrBaliHai 2008-07-10 14:04 ]


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rugbymatt
Grand Member (8 years)  

Joined: Jun 03, 2005
Posts: 1202
From: Sacramento
Posted: 2008-07-10 2:36 pm   Permalink

Auch du Lieber!

 
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Trader Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 06, 2003
Posts: 385
From: Portland, OR
Posted: 2008-07-10 4:11 pm   Permalink

Interestingly enough, Trader Vic marks his Doctor Funk recipe in his "Book of Food and Drink" as a Trader Vic original.

Perhaps he's referring to the recipe, which calls for plenty of Rum.

Great find!
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MrBaliHai
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 01, 2002
Posts: 799
Posted: 2008-07-10 5:07 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-07-10 11:23, bigbrotiki wrote:
OK, since everybody is just so mazed by this revelation that they are struck mute..


Actually, I found it quite fascinating and gave you some
nice props on my 'blog for your excellent discovery.
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MrBaliHai
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 01, 2002
Posts: 799
Posted: 2008-07-10 5:29 pm   Permalink

There's a general description of the Doctor Funk recipe in the 1921 book, "Mystic Isles of the South Seas". Sounds quite similar to the '37 Don the Beachcomber version:

"I had been introduced to a Doctor Funk by Count Polonsky, who told me 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."

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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11127
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-11 10:03 am   Permalink

Well thank you Mr Bali Hai! For the mention, and for the additional research. That confirms what came through in my unearthed text, that there was no rum in the original, and that maybe one of those rummies Don or Vic added it later. Perhaps it will be delicious sans rum!

And I think that Boris' suggestion can't be all wrong, the step from Dr. Funk to Dr. Fu is a small one...


(cool link)

...also considering that sometimes G.I.s referred to Polynesian restaurants as "Fu joints", probably because of their Chinese food offerings, the whole Jekyll and Hyde switch from German Dr. Funk (correctly pronounce "Foonk") to the Chinese Dr. Fu face mug seems likely.


 
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The Gnomon
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 1290
From: MD-DC-VA
Posted: 2008-07-11 12:50 pm   Permalink

Anyone know what Bernard Funk looked like? Maybe he sported a Fu Manchu. I can find any pics of the guy yet.

 
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Unga Bunga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5811
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2008-07-11 12:54 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2008-07-11 10:03, bigbrotiki wrote:

...also considering that sometimes G.I.s referred to Polynesian restaurants as "Fu joints", probably because of their Chinese food offerings, the whole Jekyll and Hyde switch from German Dr. Funk (correctly pronounce "Foonk") to the Chinese Dr. Fu face mug seems likely.


On the island of Jive, Dr. Funk can also be pronounced;



(Sorry to derail Sven,I do like this thread )




 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11127
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2008-07-11 1:37 pm   Permalink

Unga, yo such a fu!

 
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