The Jungle Bird is a rum-and-pineapple based drink that encompasses the best of a tiki cocktail and adds a beautiful bittersweet note.
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What is the Jungle Bird ?
The Jungle Bird is a blend of tiki and classic cocktail, just delicious enough to make you want another, but familiar and classic enough to please most people. I think the orange aperitif is what really makes the Jungle Bird stand out among other tropical cocktails.
The exact person who invented it isn’t clear, but it’s well known this drink originated in the Kuala Lumpur Hilton hotel’s Aviary Bar. It’s their signature drink and their glasses are absolutely amazing.
- 2 oz dark rum
- 0.75 oz orange aperitif
- 0.5 oz simple syrup
- 3 oz pineapple juice
- 0.75 lime juice
- In a shaker combine rum, orange aperitif, syrup, pineapple juice, lime juice, ice. Shake very well.
- Strain into a rocks glass with ice.
- Garnish with pineapple.
- Any orange aperitif will do. I used a sweet one but a bitter one will work too.
- The garnish is important here. If you want to recreate the bird, you need a toothpick, several pineapple leaves, a pineapple wedge, and a cherry.
- If you want to turn this into Salty Bird, use the same recipe but add a pinch of salt to the shaker.
When is this drink best ?
The Jungle Bird is a tropical drink, so it works very well in the summertime, and in any place you’d want to let loose and be a bit overindulgent. There’s a bit of work with the garnish so this could be overdressed for brunch but would definitely work for a night on the town.
My thoughts on Jungle Bird
I liked Jungle Bird, and I liked the addition of the orange aperitif which isn’t very common in tropical drinks. It brings a nice balance to it, and if you use bitter orange it will tone down the sweetness. I’m not sure about the use of lime and simple syrup; the pineapple does a good enough job of sweet and sour on its own in my opinion.
I think a spiced rum could also work nicely here, but it may ruin the complexity for some. A pineapple or coconut flavored rum perhaps ?
If you like Jungle Bird, you might also like…
Painkiller – will not chase your hangover away, but tastes great
Belladonna – two rums, and very fruity
Notes, substitutes, and tips
Dark rum is what pairs best with pineapple juice, and these are the base for the Jungle Bird. If you were to use light rum it might taste a bit watered down.
Always try to get freshly made fruit juice. If you can’t that’s okay, but the freshness really elevates the drink.
The orange aperitif is an important addition, but which you use will change the final taste. I used sweet orange aperitif, which is still bitter but not nearly as tough as a bitter orange aperitif. If you use Campari you will get a more pronounced red in the drink.
I didn’t recreate the bird for this cocktail since I know 100% I’d fail at it, but I did try to at least give the illusion of bird feathers with the pineapple leaves. If you’ll attempt the bird, toothpicks are your friends.