Hatching the Jungle Bird.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, you may not know that Malaysia, in fact, has a national cocktail and it’s proudly called the Jungle Bird. Unfortunately, the classic concoction suffers an odd predicament – it is more well-known in bars overseas than on our shores.
The Jungle Bird came about in the 1970s, in a period of time known as the ‘tiki cocktail era’ for its emphasis on flavours of the tropical fruity kind. The drink was allegedly crafted for the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali who was in town for a match, when he requested for an ‘omakase’ creation from a bartender. This, however, is only one of the many origin stories of the drink. Only one feature stays the same – its place of birth was at the Aviary Bar in the former Hilton KL on Jalan Sultan Ismail.
The original Jungle Bird was made with dark rum (later replaced with blackstrap rum), pineapple, lime juice, syrup and Campari. Judging from the ingredients, the initial sourness of the drink due to the lime is expected, followed by the sweetness of the rum and the tropical acidity from the pineapple. These different flavours are finally pulled together by the Campari, lending the drink a bitter finish.
In PS150, co-founder Angel Ng, hatches the Jungle Bird with a Southeast Asian twist. As the blackstrap rum is not commonly found in Malaysia, the Chinatown-based bar created its own blend of “pandan and spices like cardamon, star anise, cinnamon and clove to give a hint of bitter kick that match well with Campari,” she explains. Further innovations to the cocktail include replacing the simple syrup with homegrown Josephine pineapple, which has a nuttiness that complements the heavy molasses flavour of gula Melaka.
Without further ado, here are the ingredients for the Jungle Bird a la PS150.
Pandan infused white rum (30 ml)
Spice infused white rum (20 ml)
Campari (20 ml)
Lime (20 ml)
Gula melaka syrup (20 ml)
In the spirit of ‘omakase’ we are going to leave the mixing to you. Go forth and cocktail!
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