The Funkmaster Flex martini is the foster child of the Dr. Funk cocktail.


2 1/2 Oz. Myer’s Jamican rum

1/4 oz. Pernod anise liquer

1/2 oz. lemon juice

1/4 oz. grenadine

1/4 oz. sugar

1 lime

Club soda

The Dr. Funk is made with crushed ice in a shaker.  The lime is cut in half, squeezed and the shells and sugar are added.  Shake well and pour all ingredients into a Tiki glass and top with club soda.


The Dr. Funk is an early 60’s Tiki bar favorite.  The Boston of the late 70s boasted the Kon-Tiki, named after the Thor Heyerdahl’s non-fiction book KON TIKI which chronicled the tale of floating from Fiji to America by raft, located in the Sheraton Boston slot now occupied by the SideBar.

Comm. Ave.’s Somerset building featured Aku-Aku’s “Polynesian” food and cocktails.  Both food and drink featured lots of sugar, copious amounts of Red Dye #2 and paper umbrellas.

The 80s brought the demise of these establishments leaving the Harvard Square and Fanueil Hall Hong Kongs’ to carry the flag of Dr. Funk.

As it does so often cocktail culture began strip mining the past in the 21st. Century as Lansdowne St.’s Tiki Bar and Kingston St’s, Peeping Duck brought a revival of faux Cantonese food and Tiki Bar drinks.

During my brief but educational tim at the Harvard Square Hong Kong we served the Dr. Funk, along with a variety of Tiki drinks.

The Funkmaster Flex was born of hip-hop.  At the dawn of the 21st. Century I was working once a week in a bar in one of Boston’s outer reaches.

(This tavern is no longer in existence)

A gentleman stepped to the bar and asked for a “hip-hop” drink.

Nice or nasty? “, I asked.

Nice AND nasty,” he replied.


When I was asked for a “nice” hip-hop drink the Henne Russian was my go-to.  2 parts Hennessy, 1 part Kahlua and a splash of milk.  On the rocks for clubs, which rarely permit glassware at hip-hop events much less stemware, and as a martini in more genteel environments.  The Henne Russian is a remixed version of the Brandy Alexander with the Hennessy lending the cache’ of hip-hop and Kahlua standing in for the brown Creme de Cacao of  the 1940’s classic.  (The Brandy Alexander’s classic version featured half-and-half which is too thick for modern mouths).

When “nasty” was requested my mix was the Beat Box, 2 parts Hennessy to 1 part Peppermint Schnapps.  The Beat box was a remix with a quickness of the classic Stinger again up-scaling from brandy to Hennessy and replacing white Creme de Menthe with Peppermint Schnapps.

A burn to the tip of the tongue with a long, sweet swallow to follow.

As detailed in my recipes for the Floratini and Metropolitan gender is a primary factor in cocktail preference.  Most men, with a few significant exceptions like burn.  Most women, with a few significance exceptions, like sweetness.  This determines the flavor profile of the drink.

Nice AND nasty!”


Bartending can accelerate the brain without resort to coffee or Red Bull  as your reputation and your employer’s reputation is hanging on every drop.

Funk is the root of hip-hop.  James Brown’s epochal “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag,” featured the baritone sax of Maceo Parker as the hook playing tag with the staccato guitar of Jimmy Nolen, ushering in an era.  Beginning with James’ throaty “Papa…” the chorus, verse, chorus, verse bridge structure reversed the constraints of pop and served notice that rhythm ruled.  The seminal funk of James Brown gestated into the Sugarhill Gang’s 1979 “Rapper’s Delight” and music would never be the same.

Nice AND nasty,” the guest repeated.


From the CD jukebox in the corner the Jay-Z/Jermaine Dupri hit “Money Ain’t a Thang” blared in all of its materialistic majesty.

“…bubble hard in my Double R…new whips…money ain’t a thang”, Jay-Z’s authoritative flow gave words to the cover art of HARD KNOCK LIFE PART II bringing car culture to the beat.

Nice AND nasty!”

My brain is in cocktail overdrive and all I can think about is cars!  (Disclosure: I don’t even have a driver’s license).  And then an idea made its way into one of unused sections of my cerebellum.  YO! MTV RAPS had begun featuring a segment featuring NY’s HOT 97 personality Funkmaster Flex displaying “tricked out whips”.  “Whips” are mentioned prominently in the Jay-Z/Jermaine Dupri jam “Money Ain’t a Thang” jam playing on the jukebox at that very instant.

So I took a chance that the gentleman knew who Funkmaster Flex was and declared:

“I’ll make you a Funkmaster Flex,” I said and began the mental process of remixology.

Cocktail knowledge is based on basing drinks on other drinks so I knew that Dr. Funk’s remix into Funkmaster Flex would stay in mind.

To make the drink “hip-hop” I substituted Hennessy for Myer’s rum.  The tavern I was working at did not carry Pernod which is just as well as the chartreuse coloration of Pernod French anise would detract from the Funkmaster Flex’s visual appeal.  I substituted Sambuca which is clear and offered the virtue of being hotter/nastier than Pernod.

As of late drinks have been served in ever larger glasses and seeing as how the tavern did not offer martini glasses, we were in the outer reach of Boston, I made the drink in an iced 16 oz. acrylic glass.  This necessitated using sour mix, O.J. and pineapple juice to create visual value and make it “nice“.  2 drops of grenadine gives the impression of added value and casts the cocktail in a lovely color that calls to mind Tropicana’s Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice.

“Here is your Funkmaster Flex!”

“Yo, this is nice AND nasty!”

Thus the Funkmaster Flex was born and it has been a player in my cocktail repertoire since back in the day.


1.5 oz. Hennessy

3/4 oz. Sambuca

1 oz. sour mix

1 oz. O.J.

1 oz. Pineapple juice

2 dots grenadine

Fill a martini glass with ice water.

Fill a 24 oz. shaker with ice.

Pour all ingredients into the shaker and top shaker with mixing glass.

Shake until the frost line climbs to the top of the mixing glass.

dispose of ice water in martini glass.

Break shaker and mixing glass into martini glass.

Garnish with lemon flag.




Oh yeah, feel free to rename this concoction. (“Nice and Nasty” would almost certainly fit the bill).  As always position the glass under the bar spots for maximum visual appeal.

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