The Jungle Bird is the best tiki cocktail.
I love the tropical vibes of most tiki drinks, but it’s hard to find one that veers away from the expected fruity flavors. That’s where the Jungle Bird excels: it’s got pineapple, lime and brown sugary blackstrap rum, but with the addition of Campari it has an unexpected bitterness that elevates what would otherwise be saccharine sludge.
You might assume, because of the current popularity of amari and Campari in particular, that the Jungle Bird is a modern take on the tiki genre — but it was actually created almost a half century ago in the Aviary bar in Kuala Lumpur.
You can order a Jungle Bird in Grant Achatz’s Aviary bar in Chicago, too — and while the flavors are all there, the presentation elevates the drink into something else entirely.
Instead of shaken and strained over ice, the Aviary version is layered. A quick stir with the giant glass straw displaces suspended rum-filled bubbles. How do they do it??
Nevertheless — if you can’t make it to Chicago (or would rather not spend $30 on a cocktail) you can still make the classic version at home.
A note on the pineapple juice: I typically favor fresh juices in cocktails, but when it comes to pineapple, a good bottled version works well.
1 1/2 oz Cruzan blackstrap rum
1 1/2 oz pineapple juice
3/4 oz Campari
1/2 oz lime juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
Shake with ice, then strain over a large ice cube.