Last week we visited Hale Pele to kickoff a nice Tiki weekend. While the summer sun continues to shine, we thought we’d post the recipe for another cocktail we had there called the Jungle Bird. As tropical drinks go, this one’s a bit unusual because it contains Campari. Because of that ingredient, it tends to lean toward the bitter end of the spectrum which is just perfect for us!
Even if you are not a fan of the bitter aperitivo or other bitter flavored cocktails, it’s worth tasting the Jungle Bird. It’s not as bitter as you would expect from three-quarters of an ounce of Campari. A healthy dose of pineapple and a little simple syrup and lime distracts attention away from the amaro. However, all of that pineapple doesn’t overwhelm the drink either. It stays somewhat under the surface of an otherwise complex flavor profile.
Part of the success of this drink is due to the rum selection. If you use a white rum, you won’t have the same effect. The original recipe can be found in Beachbum Berry’s Tiki+ iOS app, but it also appears in his book, Beach Bum Berry Remixed. According to Berry, the Jungle Bird is a 1978 recipe from the Kuala Lumpur Hilton which specifies dark Jamaican rum, but at Hale Pele they use Cruzan Blackstrap. This rum can easily overwhelm other ingredients, but not here. It is absolutely amazing in this drink.
1.5 oz dark Jamaican rum (or Cruzan Blackstrap)
.75 oz Campari
.5 oz lime juice
.5 oz simple syrup
4 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
Shake with ice and pour unfiltered into a lowball, tumbler or double old fashioned glass. Garnish with a cherry, orange wheel, orchid blossom, mint, etc.
It took us a long time to burn through our blackstrap, probably because we don’t make enough Dark & Stormys, but we bought another bottle to make this drink. Actually, we like to use blackstrap rum as a float on other cocktails too, but it’s nice to finally have one that works well with it as the base. Besides, Cruzan rums are not very expensive. Overall, this choice of spirit lends a delicious, velvety depth, like chocolate or maple syrup. And even though it sounds like too much flavor or simply an odd mix when you look at the ingredients on paper, it’s one we will keep enjoying.