Young and Hungry

Biodynamic Drinking: Funxion’s Cocktails Are Healthier, Taste That Way, Too

Strolling into Funxion, the self-described "first FIT Restaurant and Bar in America," is sort of invigorating. At first. Beyond the funky furniture and retro tunes, the place prides itself on offering healthy food and drink options—and that includes the boozy cocktails. You've probably heard about the health benefits of moderate drinking. Well, this joint takes it to a whole other level.

According to its website, the venue offers "only clean filtered spirits with the minimum of impurities" and "leaves out the sugar-loaded cordials and high frutose syrup-based concentrates and replaces them with 100% juice mixers, fresh fruits, veggies and superfoods."

Frankly, after sampling a few of the drinks, I found myself longing for some impurities. Tasty, satisfying impurities.

First, I ordered the aptly named "Clear Confusion," a $10 mixture of Elemental organic vodka, fresh carrot juice, fresh orange juice and house-made ginger syrup. The reason for this moniker became apparent, as I was clearly confused as to how anyone could muscle their way through this awful libation, or how any of the bartenders are able to sleep at night after serving it to the public.

When I asked about the fresh juices and in-house syrup blends, each denoted on the menu with an "fx," the bartender used words like “biodynamic," “certified organic," and “dietician approved." She also pointed out that each drink has low or zero calorie mixers. What she failed to mention was that it had low to zero flavor, as well.

I only tasted carrots—not a hint of sweetness from the orange juice. And if there really was ginger or vodka in there, it was completely masked by jus de  carotte.

I had to set aside my "clear confusion" and opted to give the place a second chance, thinking that maybe I just don’t like rabbit food, anymore. I perused the menu once again and ordered another $10 cocktail, the "Cardinal Sin," which certainly sounded less good for you. It was a blend of Oronoco rum, beet and berry mix, coconut soda water, fresh lime juice, and mint leaves. This one, though not as awful of an assault on the palette as the aforementioned carrot monstrosity, played with my gag reflex, as well. The color brought to mind an image I had seen the night before while watching the Discovery channel's "Shark Week," but the drink itself was gritty and one-note. I detected no underlying flavor from the coconut, nor any hint of lime. It simply tasted like gravelly beets.

I guess there is a reason this is the "World’s First Fit Bar."

Funxion, 1309 F Street NW, (202) 386-9466

Trixie Tamerlane is the author of From The Other Side: Pourings from the Mind of a Bartender

Photo by Trixie Tamerlane

  • yup

    I could see how this restaurant wouldn't appeal if you enjoy super sugar sodas, artificial sweeteners, or calorie-laden cocktails. I think it's a palate thing.

    Folks who most enjoy Funxion are those of us who don't add much fat, sugar, or salt to our diets. It takes some getting used to! But when you're used to healthier fare, Funxion can be pretty impressive!

  • Reesa

    You don't have to like 'super sugar soda' or artificial sweeteners, or 'calorie laden cocktails' for this place to not appeal to you. I don't add salt to any thing but corn, I'm a 2 sugar/no cream coffee kind of girl and I don't go looking for fattening things, and I think the drinks are too focused on being and seeming healthy, and not focused enough on what it's going to taste like to the unsuspecting victim.By all means, be healthy, but have the decency to make my drink taste like a drink. I mean, if you're going to drop $10 for one drink, you should at least be able to taste the alcohol, and not just a salad someone threw into a blender. But, to each his own..

  • Jen DC

    Indeed, this place sucks. Don't drink the carrot juice solo - it has an unappetizing metallic taste to it. Which is sad, b/c carrot juice is naturally sweet. I don't know what they are doing to their carrots...

    Otherwise, service is spotty - I ordered buffalo sliders and one regular sized burger and only the sliders arrived. I was charged twice for sparkling water, which I had requested from the bar, hoping it'd be gratis. Nope. There also seems to be a lack of communication between the front bar and the rear bar, which leads to double production or no production of food and drink.

    I hate that place.

  • Mike on H Street

    Just walked by there earlier today and they were offering samples of their bison chili pizza topped with avocado. I didn't need anyone to tell me that the pizza was made without "added salt, fat or sugar" - it was obvious from the taste.

    I'm a big fan of bison - I love the texture and the taste - and the pieces that were on my sample were no exception. But overall the pizza was bland and had the overly sweet flavor that comes from tomato sauce made almost exclusively from tomatoes.

    It didn't do anything to entice me to stop for lunch.

...