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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Drinks and Food » » Recipe: jungle bird
Recipe: jungle bird
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 05, 2011
Posts: 1616
From: Long Beach, CA via Dallas, TX
Posted: 2014-04-09 11:10 am   Permalink


1/2 ounce simple syrup (see note)
1 1/2 ounces blackstrap rum, preferably Cruzan
3/4 ounce Campari
1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice, fresh or a high-quality brand
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
Pineapple wedge, for garnish

1.In a mixing glass three-quarters filled with ice, pour 1/2 ounce of simple syrup, the rum, the Campari, the pineapple juice and the lime juice. Shake until chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass over one large piece of ice. Top with pineapple wedge.
YIELD: 1 drink
NOTE: To make simple syrup, warm 1 cup sugar in 1 cup water in a saucepan over low heat until dissolved. Cool to room temperature before using. (There will be extra syrup; refrigerate if not using immediately.)

A Bird Walks Into a Bar ...

On the concise drinks menu for the downstairs bar at Celeste, a cocktail den that opened in Chicago in February, there’s a small section titled Classics. The four drinks under that heading are the manhattan (of course), the Negroni (natch), the Brown Derby (a little more arcane, but a classic) and the Jungle Bird.

Jungle who?

In the last year or so, the Jungle Bird, a hitherto obscure tiki drink, has bloomed into a bartender favorite whose popularity goes well beyond the parameters of the resurgent tiki culture. Part of its appeal is simplicity. It has only five ingredients: rum, Campari, pineapple and lime juices and simple syrup.

The cocktail is on the menu at Three Dots and a Dash, the ever-crowded subterranean tiki palace down the block from Celeste. Also in Chicago, the Aviary, a Frankenstein-ish mixology laboratory where cocktails arrive with special equipment, is testing a molecular version on customers. (Spheres of dark rum are involved.)

In New York, you can order the drink at Attaboy on the Lower East Side, the NoMad hotel bar, Lantern’s Keep in the Iroquois New York hotel and Milk & Honey near Madison Square Park. Theo Lieberman, the head bartender at Milk & Honey, fell under the drink’s spell after being served one by Giuseppe Gonzalez at Painkiller, which is now closed. Mr. Lieberman has been pushing it since.

“I honestly think it’s so unlike anything else,” he said. “The two big drinks for bartenders in New York are Negronis and daiquiris, and the Jungle Bird is kind of a perfect hybrid between the two.”

This all amounts to an unlikely second act for a drink invented at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton in 1978, a year when the tiki craze was all but dead and buried in this country. The tiki historian Jeff Berry found the recipe in a 1989 paperback, “The New American Bartender’s Guide,” and reprinted it in his 2002 book, “Intoxica!”

“It definitely was on no one’s radar before I published it,” he said.

Mr. Gonzalez took that recipe and tweaked it, eventually replacing the prescribed dark Jamaica rum with the more intense blackstrap rum. This is what he served at Painkiller, and it is the version Mr. Lieberman offers at Milk & Honey.

Mr. Berry said he knew why mixologists like the drink. “The reason, I am 100 percent positive, is because there’s Campari in it, which makes it the only vintage tiki drink that today’s amaro-loving bartenders can relate to,” he said.

But Fred Sarkis, the program director at Celeste, who also first tasted the drink at Painkiller, said the Campari was just one element that set off his taste buds. “The mix of velvety texture, sweetness, fruit and bitter really captured my attention,” he said.

For the home bartender, it’s a rare tiki drink that can be made without any special syrups or rare rums.

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Kill Devil
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 16, 2011
Posts: 284
From: Chicago
Posted: 2014-04-10 07:41 am   Permalink

Jungle Bird is a good drink, reminds me of the below:

Mystery Train
1.5 oz Myer’s Rum
1.5 oz fresh pineapple juice
.75 oz Demerara sugar syrup (2:1)
.75 oz fresh lime juice
.75 oz Campari
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

Shake with ice and strain into glass misted with Pernod.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 16, 2013
Posts: 630
From: Wolverhampton, UK
Posted: 2014-04-27 1:50 pm   Permalink

Seeing as Three Dots & A Dash (the bar) is a hot new thing, I have been drinking way through their menu at home - one drink I enjoyed several times now is the Jungle Bird.

My tips for making it at home:

Experimenting with which dark jamaican rum to use, they all pretty much worked except Myers (where it was a bit heavy). I read Three Dots make it with '...bajan rum, dark jamaican rum...' so I tried 50:50 Cockspur & Myers ~ that worked fine!

The use of Campari is a bit controversial, I appreciate it might not be to everyones taste. The dilution from the shaking & pineapple juice balance the bitterness, the Campari adds a 'red fruity flavour' to the drink. Its miles away from being a 'normal Campari drink' (eg a negroni).

If you 'dry shake' (or shake this drink with half a shaker of ice at first), you get a pleasing foamy head on it (like in my pic below).

Anyway, a drink I recommend trying!


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Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Oct 05, 2008
Posts: 933
From: Agoura Hills, CA
Posted: 2014-05-01 6:42 pm   Permalink

A Jungle Bird without Campari would seem to be an entirely different cocktail.

Throw me in with the Cruzan Blackstrap camp when it comes to a Jungle Bird. The cocktail has never been a favorite of mine but I really enjoyed the one I was served at Hale Pele with Cruzan Blackstrap. It's the only way I'd make it now, since it can stand up to the Campari in a way other rums can't.

if it's not a little complicated, it's probably not worth it.
5 Minutes of Rum

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 23, 2006
Posts: 464
From: Stuart, Florida
Posted: 2014-05-11 10:51 am   Permalink

I just made the Jungle Bird recipe as posted by tikilongbeach and I have to say it is a very tasty drink. I am not usually a big fan of Cruzan's Blackstrap rum but pairing it with the Campari in this drink works well and, at least for me, is so far the best use of the Blackstrap rum.

I bet you feel more like you do now now than you did when you came in.


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Tiki Centralite

Joined: Jan 23, 2014
Posts: 74
Posted: 2014-05-11 6:00 pm   Permalink

I thought this made an interesting combination, and Cruzan Blackstrap is a personal favorite, but the Campari seemed to take over the drink a little too much. I may try it again with either less Campari or the addition of something else to cut the dryness a bit.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 23, 2013
Posts: 788
Posted: 2014-11-25 3:30 pm   Permalink

Hate to be the wet blanket here, but I finally got myself some Campari and made 2 versions: one with Blackstrap, one with Coruba. Both were instant yucks and unfortunately discarded. Now I will have a Negroni every once in a blue moon and certainly don't feel the same about that drink. I'm thinking maybe I should have ditched the 1.5 oz of pineapple juice in favor of the 4 oz as seen in Remixed, page 133.

Am I missing something with this drink? I realize its a sipper and one to nurse a bit more than the average drink.
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