The jungle bird cocktail is a super fragrant, tropical cocktail that you’ll want to enjoy all summer long! Rich aged rum, sweet pineapple juice and Aperol are stirred up with crushed ice to make a beautiful red cocktail.
Sweet pineapple juice and rum are meant to be together. Combined, they are just so fragrant and inviting and summery. Lime and bitter liqueur balance the fruity profile and add much needed dimension to the cocktail. They take the drink from what could be a generic tiki cocktail to something much more compelling.
The bitter liqueur, specifically, is a magical little twist that keeps you coming back for more. It cuts the sugar and adds structure to the soft pineapple rum flavors. We use Aperol in favor of Campari to keep this jungle bird extra approachable, but by all means use your favorite bitter liqueur. We list out all kinds of great substitutes in the post below.
I also outline how to make that stunning pineapple garnish, so keep on reading!
what is a jungle bird cocktail:
A jungle bird cocktail is a tropical drink that was developed in the Hilton Kuala Lumpur bar in Malaysia in the 1970s. It was unique at the time for blending Campari, a bitter Italian aperitif, with a tiki-style cocktail. And the combination is completely inspired.
The ripe pineapple and soft aged rum smooth over the abrasive qualities of Campari, while the bitterness counters the cloying sweetness. There’s a wonderful synergy between the bitter liqueur and the tropical flavors, both of which are strikingly more delicious together than alone.
how to make the best jungle bird cocktail (and simple substitutions):
Pineapple juice: This sweet, tropical and fruity juice is a delicious balance of sugar, flavor and acid. Canned pineapple juice works great. If you have a juicer, though, you can make your own fresh pineapple juice for the ultimate flavor bomb!
If you can’t get your hands on pineapple juice, try guava juice or passion fruit juice instead. You may need to tweak the sugar and acid ratios on the drink a bit, but both juice types will give a delicious tropical flair to the jungle bird cocktail.
Dark rum: Aged rums are filled with delicious flavors of burnt sugar, chocolate, coffee, liquorice, tobacco, toffee and vanilla. They have a silky smooth texture and introduce warm, rich aromas to the pineapple cocktail. There’s a lot going on in the jungle bird, so don’t feel pressured to use your best aged rum here. We just want the roasty profile and rounded texture-- most flavor nuances will get lost.
If you don’t have a good dark rum on hand, silver rum will work too. The drink will be fresher, grassy and more tropical.
Aperol: The gorgeous reddish-orange hue, citrus notes and subtle bitterness all come from this Italitan aperitif. The jungle bird is traditionally made with Campari, but we’ve found we really love it with Aperol. It’s a little less assertive, smoother and more tropical.
If you do love bitter flavors, though, give Campari a try. Your jungle bird cocktail will be a touch hotter, less sweet and a little more bitter. You could also use your favorite bitter aperitif here and adjust the drink balance as needed! This is a great list of red bitter liqueurs to try.
Fresh lime juice: Lime juice adds tart acid and fresh, zesty flavors. You’ll get much more flavor from squeezing a fresh lime than from the pasteurized juice in a bottle, but either will give you the pop of acid this drink needs. Either way, make sure to measure the juice and don’t eyeball it!
Crushed ice: You can find jungle bird cocktails served on the rocks or over crushed ice, but we prefer the ice cold slushy consistency from the latter. Even better, the crushed ice chills the drink down so quickly, there’s no need to bust out the shaker. Just mix it all up in the glass, fill with crushed ice and serve.
what you need for a jungle bird cocktail:
- dark rum
- pineapple juice
- aperol or other bitter liqueur
- lime juice
- simple syrup
- fresh pineapple, for garnish
how to make a jungle bird cocktail:
- Make the pineapple garnish.
- Combine rum, pineapple juice, aperol, lime juice and simple syrup in a highball glass.
- Fill with crushed ice and stir until cold.
- Garnish the glass and enjoy!
how to make a pineapple garnish:
- Slice the top off the pineapple, 1-inch below the base of the leaves.
- Carefully cut the top into 8- 10 vertical wedges, making sure to leave the pineapple flesh attached to the leaves. The thinner you cut the wedges, the more elegant the garnish will look. But it will also be more delicate, and the leaves will be more likely to break off of the pineapple flesh.
- Hold a section of leaves up to your glass, mark the angle you want it to sit at. Cut a ¾-inch notch in the pineapple where you marked it.
- Slide the pineapple garnish onto the rim of the glass and proceed with the cocktail!
Note: I have found a serrated knife to be the most effective tool for slicing through pineapple leaves. Just don’t use your best bread knife here-- the rough leaves won’t do it any favors!
more rum cocktails to try!Print
jungle bird cocktail
Ripe pineapple, a touch of bitterness, lime and smooth dark rum get mixed up with slushy cold ice for the perfect remedy for a hot summer!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1
- Category: Drinks
- Method: Stirred
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 1 ½ oz dark rum
- 1 ½ oz pineapple juice
- 1 oz Aperol
- ½ oz fresh squeezed lime juice
- ½ oz simple syrup
- pineapple leaves, for garnish
- Combine rum, pineapple juice, Aperol, lime juice and simple syrup in a highball glass.
- Fill with crushed ice; stir until chilled, about 15 seconds.
- Garnish with pineapple leaves and serve.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 219
- Sugar: 21g
- Sodium: 2.3mg
- Fat: 0.1g
- Saturated Fat: 0g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 24g
- Fiber: 0.2g
- Protein: 0.2g
- Cholesterol: 0mg
Keywords: jungle bird cocktail