Jungle Bird Cocktail
Jungle Bird OriginsThe Jungle Bird is my new favorite cocktail. Developed in the 1970's, the Jungle Bird was served as a welcome drink to visitors at the 5-star Hilton Kuala Lumpur hotel. It was developed by a bartender named Penangite Jeffrey Ong See Teik. Since then, this tasty cocktail has been poured in tiki bars around the world.
The Jungle Bird is Not Your Ordinary Tiki CocktailI like the Jungle Bird cocktail because it takes what would otherwise be another overly sweet rum and pineapple drink and mellows it out with a pour of Campari. The bitterness of the Campari is magic with dark rum, pineapple and lime. The original recipe calls for black strap rum. I have used dark rum and spiced rum and liked both. I have yet to get my hands on some black strap rum, but look forward to tasting the Jungle Bird cocktail with its original rum. It is a drink worthy of experimenting with a variety of rums to find the one you like best.
Fresh Pineapple JuiceAll the recipes and history I have read about this cocktail say that it is essential to make this cocktail with fresh pineapple juice as canned pineapple juice just doesn't compare. Making fresh pineapple juice is not always convenient and might deter you from making this drink on the regular. As a substitute, I have found pasteurized pressed pineapple juice from Trader Joe's to be reliably good and it has a decent shelf life. This juice tastes fresh and doesn't have that metalic taste that you get from canned pineapple juice.
Up? On the Rocks? Or with a Splash of Soda Water?
Note: SNFD is an Amazon Affiliate and we make a small commission when you purchase through our links.While I like this drink served freshly shaken and up, I also serve a Jungle Bird using a single over-sized ice cube. Alternatively, you could serve it on the rocks with a splash of soda to lighten it up.
How to serve the Jungle BirdOriginally this drink was served in a bird-shaped ceramic tiki glass. While tiki glasses are always fun, they pigeon-hole the drink into the tiki category. For me, this drink has more sophistication and appeal than the average tiki drink. I like this cocktail served freshly shaken in a chilled martini glass. This presentation takes it out of the tiki drink realm and adds the refinement I think the Jungle Bird deserves. I am a particular fan of stemless martini glasses. These stemless glasses from Amazon are similar to the ones I use for straight up Jungle Birds, as well as many other cocktails. They are not as tippy as stemmed martini glasses and they are dishwasher safe. Alternatively, it can be served in a highball glass with one large cube. Garnish with a pineapple leaf and an edible flower. No umbrellas please!
Simple Sugar SyrupAnd argument could be made that the Jungle Bird does not need any simple sugar syrup. I suggest you mix one up, taste it and then decide. I use a tiny bit of simple sugar syrup in mine. To make simple sugar simply bring one part sugar and one part water to just barely a boil in a pan. Immediately turn down the heat and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. You can add a handful of herbs to the syrup once it is off the heat and let it steep if you want to add some flavor. Once the syrup has cooled, strain out the herbs and you are good to go.
.Plain simple sugar syrup will keep in the fridge for about a month. Flavored sugars should be used within a couple weeks.
More Favorite SNFD CocktailsPrint
Jungle Bird Cocktail
Campari adds a savory and sophisticated twist to a Tiki bar rum, lime and pineapple drink that would otherwise be overly sweet. When I serve this the usual reaction by my guests is “this is a GREAT cocktail.”
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 2 1x
- Category: Cocktails
- 3 ounces dark, spiced or black strap rum
- 1 1/2 – 2 ounces Campari
- 3 ounces pineapple juice
- 1 1/2 ounces lime juice
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- Edible flower (optional)
- Pineapple leaf (optional)
- Fill a cocktail shaker three quarters of the way up with ice. Add all the liquid ingredients and shake for about 10 seconds until the shaker is cover with condensation.
- Pour into prepared glasses and garnish with an edible flower and a pineapple leaf.
- If serving straight up I like to dip martini glasses in water and chill in freezer 20 minutes before mixing drink.
- If serving on the rocks, I use a highball glass with one large ice cube.
- Dial up the bitter and take down the sweet by adding more Campari and or reducing or eliminating the simple sugar.