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  • Writer's pictureBamboo Sam

The Jungle Bird

A 1970's drink with a Tiki soul.

Jungle Bird cocktail

The Jungle Bird is one of those drinks that is so ubiquitous that I assumed it was one of the original Tiki greats like the Zombie or Mai Tai. However, this drink was first created in 1978 at the Kuala Lumper Hilton long after Tiki's golden age had devolved into syrupy sweet drinks with sweet and sour mix and Bacardi 151! It works, of course, because it adheres so closely to the Planter's Punch model of, "1 of sour, 2 of sweet, 3 of strong, and 4 of weak".

The bitter component here is Campari, an Italian apéritif. It's dominate flavor is a bitter orange with additional herbal overtones. Aside form the Jungle Bird it is best known for its use in the Negroni.

The Strong here is a good Jamaican rum. You can go pretty bold here with your rum choice as the pineapple juice sweetens it up while the Campari adds complexity while rounding off some of the hogo in bolder Jamaicans. A good bet for the passive drinker is a blended Jamaican like Appleton Estate Reserve or Plantation Xamayca. I'd steer away from Myers on this one as it's a bit too molasses forward for my taste.

Jungle Bird Cocktail

Jungle Bird

Source - Beachbum Berry

  • 1/2 ounce lime juice

  • 1/2 ounce demerara syrup

  • 4 ounces pineapple juice*

  • 3/4 ounce Campari

  • 1 1/2 ounces Jamaican rum*

Pour everything into a shaker and shake well with ice cubes. Gated pour into a Collins glass. Garnish with pineapple fronds and enjoy!

*Bamboo Sam's customizations: We'll start with the rum. If I'm all in it's Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still, otherwise, Appleton Estate Reserve. At Smuggler's cove this is made with 2 ounces of pineapple juice instead of the 4 ounces called for by the bum. Combined with the rum variations it allows you to transform this drink from a all cocktail to a rocks glass sipper. Variation IS the spice of life after all.

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