How to make:
SHAKE all ingredients with ice and strain into glass filled with crushed ice.
Pineapple wedge (ideally cut to resemble a bird’s plumage) & cherry
Bittersweet and fruity with pungent rum notes sipped through crushed ice. Properly Tiki-tastic.
John J. Poister’s 1989 The New American Bartender’s Guide confirms this Tiki-style cocktail as originating at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton where it was created as the welcome drink for the hotel's opening on 6th July 1973 by the Beverage Manager, Jeffrey Ong.
The New American Bartender’s Guide specifies the following recipe:
1½ oz Dark rum
¾ oz Campari
4 oz Pineapple juice
½ oz Lime juice
½ oz Sugar syrup or to taste
With the instruction to mix all ingredients "with cracked ice in a shaker or blender and serve in a special ceramic-bird container or use a chilled Hurricane glass. Garnish with a cherry, orange and lemon slice, and an orchid."
The hotel’s bar was called Aviary, so the Jungle Bird name was appropriate, particularly as guests could see birds kept in a netted area near the swimming pool through a glass panel in the bar. The birds were eventually freed by the hotel’s Colombian General Manager, Ricardo Tapia, while the hotel itself became the Crowne Plaza Mutiara before eventually being demolished in 2013 to make way for development.
The cocktail was originally served in a ceramic bird vessel sipped from an opening in the tail, and then latterly, perhaps due to thefts of the original vessel, in stemmed wine goblet with an engraved bird on the side.
The rediscovery and popularity of the Jungle Bird was much helped by its appearance in Jeff “Beachbum” Berry's influential Intoxica book. Indeed, it has since become something of a national cocktail in Malaysia, as by reported Kim Choong in the country’s ThirstMag.com from where much of the above is based.
Jeffrey Ong passed away, something of a national hero, on 26th February 2019 aged 71 with the national newspaper describing him as "the creator of Malaysia’s only internationally recognised classic cocktail."