You can't flip through a tiki cocktail book without finding…
The Jungle Bird is a great example of a tiki drink that isn’t particularly sweet. There are other tiki drinks that aren’t fruit forward, of course, but the Jungle Bird is a particularly good example because it uses a generous amount of Campari, a bitter Italian aperitif that gives the cocktail both its signature color and flavor. Most of the variations on the Jungle Bird that we make are Campari-based, but Campari certainly isn’t the only bitter liqueur out there to work with when building a Jungle Bird-style cocktail.
The Blue Bird is definitely not a Jungle Bird, but the bittersweet profile of that cocktail definitely inspired this one. Instead of Campari, which would give the drink a red color, we used Suze, a bitter French liqueur, to give us that bitterness we were looking for. Suze is yellow in color and that allowed us to bring some more color into this drink in the form of blue curacao, which has a sweet orange flavor that tied in very well with the Suze. Combined with white rum, lime and pineapple juices, you end up with a cocktail that could certainly be a cousin of the original Jungle Bird because it has a very similar bittersweet orange flavor to it.
We used 1/2 oz of Suze in this recipe, which allows the liqueur to stand out quite well. If you’re not a particular fan of bitter liqueurs, reduce the Suze to 1/4 oz. You’ll still get a hint of bitterness – but it won’t be more than a hint. For the rums, we opted for Selvary white rum, though other brands of smooth, aged white rums can easily be used, and used Blackwell for our dark rum float. Meyers, or another Jamaican dark rum, can be substituted.
We finished off the Blue Bird with a dark Jamaican rum float. Jungle Birds typically use dark rum for their sweet molasses notes and those flavors work well in this drink, too, though floating the rum preserves the blue color of the cocktail until you start to drink it.
1 1/2 oz Selvary white rum
1/2 oz blue curacao
1/2 oz Suze
2 oz pineapple juice
1/2 oz lime juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz dark Jamaican rum
Combine all ingredients, except dark rum, in a mixing glass or cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously until well-chilled, then strain into a tall glass filled with crushed ice. Float dark rum on top and garnish with a lime wheel and a few cherries before serving.