Le Funk d’Ete

Saturday night's alright … alright …

After a long day, it's sometimes time for a cocktail with a bit of spunk — and funk! meaning Rhum agricole comes out for cocktail mixing. This time around, I was inspired by a stash of passion fruit syrup found at the back of the bar fridge. Now passion fruit syrup is used for a few things, but mainly classic Zombies. While its a delicious drink, I was looking for something with a bit more … Funk! To amp up the funk factor, I also used a whisper of Fernet Branca, and a few dashes of House Made Grapefruit bitters.

Passion fruit syrup can be made ahead of time — using fresh passion fruit, cooked into a 2:1 simple syrup. strain the pulp and seeds out using a fine mesh strainer, store in the fridge.


Le Funk d'Ete

(created by Janice Mansfield, 2011)

  • 2 oz. Rhum Agricole
  • 0.75 oz. passion fruit syrup
  • 0.5 oz. grapefruit juice
  • 0.25 oz. lime juice
  • scant tsp. Fernet Branca
  • 3-4 drops House Made grapefruit bitters

Shake well in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Double strain over ice into a highball glass.  Garnish with grapefruit twist and lime wedge.  Serve with a straw.

The Expat

One of the perks of living in a city with one or more barkeeps who live and breathe cocktails, is the educational opportunities that come along with their quest for cocktail supremacy!  Clive’s Classic Lounge here in Victoria, is one such bar, with one such executive barkeep!  Shawn Soole has been bringing a steady stream of cocktail expertise from around the world (about one a month), and inviting local industry and cocktail enthusiasts to sit in on the sessions.  Last week’s session with John Gakuru of Sagatiba cachaca was a timely to start moving away from the brown spirits  (we have been suffering through a bit of a bleak, cool spring here on the West Coast).

Sagatiba is newly available on the market here in BC, and I have to say, I’m excited by the prospect of a neutral spirit that actually has some flavour to it, and just in time for summer sipping!

As an aside, word is Sagatiba only has 64 calories per ounce, making it a great alternative for those folks who feel the calorie count on anything other than vodka is getting them into dangerous territory diet-wise.

So, in the spirit of Sagatiba and all things spring (a gal can hope for good weather even if isn’t forthcoming!), I whipped up this variation on a mule.  I’m calling it the Expat, — a fusion of tropical and English country garden ingredients.  It’s a little sweet, a little sour, and a little spice …  Make up a batch of rhubarb syrup and keep it in the fridge for up to a month for entertaining with cocktails, or just have a splash over ice topped with soda.


The Expat (created by Janice Mansfield, 2011)

  • 1 1/2 ounce Sagatiba
  • 3/4 ounce rhubarb syrup*
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

Shake with ice in a cocktail shaker, Strain into a highball glass filled with ice, top with

  • 4 ounces Ginger Beer.

Garnish with rhubarb and serve with a straw.

* Rhubarb Syrup

dissolve 3 cups sugar in 1 1/2 cups water.  Bring to the boil and add 6 cups chopped rhubarb.  Lower head and simmer until the rhubarb is soft, about 10 minutes .  Let cool and strain out the rhubarb.  Keep in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Variation on a Bramble

I recently received some Polish vodka to try (Zubrowka being among them), and endeavoured to go in with an open mind — for the vodka that is.  I am a brown spirits afficionado — never met a brown spirit I didn't like — if its got age and funk on it, I'm there!  Cocktails with deep and complex flavours are also my preference, hence the graviation to rums and whiskys.  Thus, when I



 received the vodka to try, I was somewhat skeptical.  The vodkas that typically inhabit my liquor cabinet are in large part, ones with more flavourful and spicy notes, often rye-based.  (my review of the two vodkas will be up soon over at Foodie.ca).

Anyhow, the short story is that I wanted to try these vodkas in a couple of "non-vodka" cocktail recipes – substituting the vodkas for gin — the Bramble (by Dick Bradsell, 1984) was one of them.   I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Zubrowka stood up! 

I did make one major modification to enhance the grassy notes of the Zubrowka vodka — I used agave syrup rather than simple syrup.  Other than that, the proportions were the same as the classic Bramble: 2 oz. Zubrowka, 1 oz. fresh lemon juice, 1/2 oz. agave syrup, over crushed ice, float 1/2 oz. creme de muir.  (According to Angus Winchester, it should look like blood dripping from a finger priced by bramble thorns – I think we came close with this one!)