The Jungle Bird Cocktail is a bittersweet and fruity tropical rum drink. You need just a handful of ingredients to make this simple and tasty balanced cocktail.
So what exactly is a Jungle Bird Cocktail?
The Jungle Bird is a tiki cocktail created in the 1970s at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton. It was served as a tropical welcome drink to visitors at the hotel. And this complex cocktail hits all the right notes: sweet, tart, fruity, and bitter.
The cocktail was crafted by Jeffrey Ong at the hotel’s Aviary Bar. And this is where the drink’s unusual name comes from. Also, The Jungle Bird is said to have been served inside a porcelain bird-shaped vessel and sipped from its tail.
Today the Jungle Bird is a permanent and popular fixture on Tiki bar menus and cocktail bar menus across the globe. Rum, pineapple, and lime are common ingredients in tropical cocktails. But what isn't a common one is Campari!
Campari is normally a part of dry dinner drinks like a Negroni. But this bitter aperitif works surprisingly well in this tropical mix. The pineapple and lime help smooth out the bitterness and the rum and simple syrup bring a touch of sweetness that balances it all out beautifully.
Ingredients and Notes
The Jungle Bird Cocktail is a simple drink that has a unique combination of ingredients that work surprisingly well together. The ingredients you will need are:
- Dark rum. Dark rum is aged longer than white rum. And it has a dark color and a deep, rich flavor with caramel notes that work beautifully in this drink.
- Campari. A bitter liqueur made from a secret blend of herbs, spices, and fruits. This ingredient adds delicious complexity to this otherwise fruity cocktail.
- Pineapple juice. You can make your own fresh pineapple juice or buy some from the store.
- Simple syrup. This brings a touch of sweetness to this drink. Feel free to adjust how much you add according to personal preference.
- Lime juice. Freshly squeezed is always best!
Jungle Bird Cocktail Garnish
This cocktail has an iconic garnish that adds lots of fun and flair to this drink. A pineapple wedge with a few pineapple leaves and a cocktail cherry creates a "jungle bird" adornment for the glass. It is simple to put together but very striking.
Of course, you could always skip the garnish entirely or pair it down. Some alternative garnish ideas you could use include:
- A pineapple wedge
- Lime wheel
- A cocktail umbrella
- Maraschino cherries
- Lime wedge
- Edible flowers
Which rum is best for making this drink?
The original recipe for the Jungle Bird called for ordinary dark rum. Later, many bartenders updated the recipe to feature Jamaican rum in their versions, while many others choose blackstrap rum for its richness. There is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing rum for this cocktail. Any dark rum that you prefer best can be used. And if all you have is white rum, although not ideal, that would work too!
How to Make a Jungle Bird Cocktail
This is an easy cocktail recipe to make at home. It doesn't require any fussy steps or bar equipment other than a cocktail shaker. You can find the full recipe at the end of this post, or see the step-by-step instructions below:
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes.
Add the cocktail ingredients to the shaker and shake for about one minute.
Strain into a serving glass filled with ice.
Add any desired garnishes and enjoy immediately.
It is easy to make and serve this cocktail in a pitcher when catering to a crowd. Simply add the cocktail ingredients to a large pitcher multiplying the amount according to how many servings you desire.
Mix together and allow to chill in the fridge until ready to serve. Pour the drink into serving glasses filled with ice and add any garnishes if desired.
When to serve Jungle Bird Cocktails
- This refreshing drink is a perfect summertime cocktail for slow-sipping
- It is a fun and boozy option for happy-hour drinks
- A great unique dinner party drink option - see pitcher-style recipe variation!
- Late-night summer evening drink
- Guys' or girls' night drinks
- Perfect for beach holidays or Tiki nights
CAN YOU MAKE A THIS COCKTAIL IN ADVANCE?
Yes, you can prepare this cocktail ahead of time if hosting an event. Simply mix the cocktail ingredients together and then it in the fridge for as long as needed. When you are ready to serve, pour the cocktail over ice and enjoy.
Jungle Bird Cocktail
- 1 cocktail shaker
- 1 serving glass
- 1 ½ ounces dark rum or blackstrap rum
- ¾ ounce Campari
- 2 ounces pineapple juice
- ½ ounce lime juice freshly squeezed
- ½ ounce simple syrup
- ice cubes
- Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes.
- Add the cocktail ingredients to the shaker and shake for about one minute.
- Strain into a serving glass filled with ice.
- Add any desired garnishes and enjoy immediately.