Created in 1978 in the shade of the Aviary Bar at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton, the Jungle Bird cocktail is a mysterious and sublime drink that has made a welcome if unlikely reappearance in Midtown Manhattan on the new menu at The Lantern's Keep, a dark cocktail bar which opened last year, adjoined to the Iroquois Hotel.
Head bartender Theo Lieberman (who also pours at Milk & Honey and Raines Law Room) prefers to use a recipe tweaked by Giuseppe Gonzalez at PKNY; it features fresh lime, pineapple juice, Campari and Cruzan Black Strap rum, lending the drink a complex, molasses-like sweetness. With its frothy texture and clean, bitter finish, this forgotten tiki classic might just be enough to put you in mind of a wave washing across a moonlit Malaysian beach. If you can't get yourself to Manhattan, make it at home, with the same recipe they use at Lantern's Keep.
The Jungle Bird Recipe
.5 oz lime
.5 oz sugar
.75 oz Campari
1.5 oz pineapple
1.5 oz Black Strap rum
Shake and strain into an old-fashioned glass over a chunk of ice. Just please don't try to drink out it out a coconut shell.