This jungle bird cocktail recipe is our go to drink for happy hour at home! A classic tiki cocktail that’s cold, refreshing, and perfectly balanced. It is made with dark rum, pineapple juice, Campari liqueur, and lime juice. The traditional sweetener used for this cocktail is demerara syrup, but we usually substitute maple syrup. It’s juicy, complex yet easy to drink, and FULL of tropical vibes! This recipe is for 1 cocktail, but most cocktail shakers are large enough to fit ingredients for 2 drinks.
When quarantine hit in March of 2020 we (like a lot of folks out there!) developed a really strong happy hour at home game.
It started with classic daiquiri cocktails (rum, lime, sugar – YUM), and was then up-leveled to jungle birds. The appeal of this tiki cocktail recipe was how simple it was to make. It required ingredients that we already had on hand or were inexpensive to buy, and didn’t require any special glassware!
If you’ve followed along with Nyssa’s Kitchen for awhile I’m sure you’ve seen this tropical drink pop up again and again in my Instagram stories. Y’all are ALWAYS asking what a jungle bird is, and what ingredients you need to make it. So I thought.. let’s make this signature cocktail thing official and share the recipe on the blog!
Why you’ll love this jungle bird cocktail
This classic tiki cocktail is…
- Ice cold
- Perfectly balanced
- Easy to make
- Even easier to drink!
What is a jungle bird cocktail?
A jungle bird cocktail is a delightfully refreshing and complex tropical rum cocktail.
It is simpler to make than most tiki cocktails, and requires only 5 ingredients – most of which a well stocked bar would already have. It has all the classic ingredients that you’d expect in a tiki cocktail – rum, pineapple juice, and lime juice, but with the unique addition of Campari.
Campari adds a distinct bitter note to the cocktail that offsets the sweeter ingredients. Making it more complex and balanced than many tiki style drinks, yet still refreshing and easy to drink.
History of the jungle bird cocktail
It’s said that this modern twist on a tiki cocktail was first made created in the 1970’s at the Aviary bar at the Hilton Hotel Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia as a welcome drink for guests. It was typically garnished with a pineapple wedge and pineapple leaves, to mimic the feathers of a tropical bird.
The cocktail has seen somewhat of a resurgence in popularity recently, likely because it was highlighted in the book Beachbum Berrys Intoxica – dubbed “the best bar guide for tropical drinks ever published” by Joe Bob Briggs.
What is in a jungle bird cocktail
The ingredients in a jungle bird cocktail are fairly straightforward.
This is what you’ll need:
- Dark rum – Traditionally this tiki drink is made with blackstrap rum, but Jamaican rum, or any type of dark rum will do.
- Pineapple juice
- Campari liqueur – Campari is what gives this cocktail it’s complexity. It adds a distinctly bitter note that balances all the other flavors perfectly.
- Fresh lime juice – Always fresh lime juice for the best flavor!
- Sweetener – We usually use maple syrup instead of simple syrup, so that is how I’ve written the recipe. It adds a more flavorful, round undertone, similar to demerara syrup (which is what is traditionally used to make this drink).
How to make a jungle bird cocktail
This tiki cocktail is one of the easiest tropical drinks I have ever made.
All you need to do is:
- Combine the dark rum, Campari, pineapple juice, lime juice, and maple syrup in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.
- Shake vigorously until well chilled and frothy.
- Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice.
- Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a few pineapple leaves if desired.
- Cheers & sip away!
SO easy, and absolutely delicious! So good you’ll probably be craving your next one before you even finish the first 😉
Campari vs Aperol
Campari and Aperol are both Italian aperitifs, but they taste quite different. Aperol is sweeter, less bitter, and has a lower alcohol content.
You could substitute Aperol for Campari in this recipe like they have in this Bon Appetit recipe, with some slight adjustments to the other ingredients to keep the flavors balanced.
Best rum to use
Our favorite rum when whipping up a jungle bird is Kraken Rum. It’s affordable, delicious, and the perfect dark rum for making mixed drinks.
Traditionally a jungle bird is made with blackstrap rum, but any other type of dark Jamaican rum would also do.
I would avoid swapping the dark rum for a white (light) rum, which would taste out of place in this drink.
A few notes on this cocktail
There are a few ways you can personalize this drink.
- To make it slightly less bitter, try reducing the Campari to 1/2 an ounce.
- To make this drink slightly less sweet, try reducing the maple syrup to 1/4 ounce, or eliminating it all together.
- For a brighter more citrus forward drink, add an additional 1/4 ounce of fresh lime juice.
When to serve this tropical rum drink
This juicy cocktail would be perfect as a:
- Signature drink (it’s definitely our house cocktail!)
- Happy hour beverage
- Summer drink
- Cocktail hour drink
- Birthday party drink
- A tiki themed party drink!
Love this tiki cocktail? Try these other NK cocktail recipes!
- Spiced Apple and Tangerine Spritz
- Spiced Hibiscus Vodka Sour
- Honey Rose Kombucha Margarita
- Dark Cherry Kombucha Rum Punch
If you loved this jungle bird cocktail, let us know by leaving a REVIEW and RATING below!
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This jungle bird cocktail recipe is our go to drink for happy hour at home! A classic tiki cocktail that’s cold, refreshing, and perfectly balanced. It is made with dark rum, pineapple juice, Campari liqueur, and lime juice. The traditional sweetener used for this cocktail is demerara syrup, but we usually substitute maple syrup. It’s juicy, complex but easy to drink, and FULL of tropical vibes! This recipe is for 1 cocktail, but most cocktail shakers will be large enough to fit ingredients for 2 drinks.
Photography inspiration: Well Seasoned Studio
Photograph of Nyssa shaking the cocktail: Brooke Fitts Photography
- 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) dark rum
- 3/4 ounce (1 1/2 tablespoons) Campari
- 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) pineapple juice
- 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) lime juice
- 1/2 ounce maple syrup (1 tablespoon) – or simple syrup
There are a few ways you can personalize this drink
To make it slightly less bitter, try reducing the Campari to 1/2 an ounce
To make this drink slightly less sweet, try reducing the maple syrup to 1/4 ounce, or eliminating it all together
For a brighter more citrus forward drink, add an additional 1/4 ounce of fresh lime juice
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Category: drink
- Method: shaken
- Cuisine: tiki