This simple, five ingredient, tropical cocktail dates back to the 1970s. The Jungle Bird was first served as the welcome drink at the Kuala Lampur Hilton’s grand opening in 1973. Beverage Manager Jeffery Ong is responsible for creating this iconic drink that eventually became recognized as Malaysias national cocktail. Its international fame and recognition earned its self a place in John J. Poister’s The New American Bartender’s Guide in 1989 and then again in Jeff Berry’s 2003 book, Intoxica.
The Jungle Bird has a sharp flavor compared to other tropical cocktails for its use of the bitter Italian amaro, Campari. This ingredient is not often found in tropical drinks for its bitter qualities. However, it’s softened when combined with dark rum (preferably Jamaican), pineapple juice, lime juice, and simple syrup. It shares three of the five ingredients with another “tiki” classic, the Planter’s Punch.
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