Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Rum Cocktails

Italian Bird

light-red Italian Bird cocktail in a rocks glass with ice, garnished with bright-green pineapple sage leaves
Image: / Tim Nusog

The Jungle Bird cocktail features dark rum, Campari, pineapple juice, lime juice and sugar. It was created in the 1970s, when it was first served as a welcome drink to visitors of the former Kuala Lumpur Hilton. Since then, the Jungle Bird has found its place on Tiki bar menus and earned a spot in the modern-classic cocktail canon. It has even spawned several riffs over the years, including the Italian Bird from DC drinks pro Francesco Amodeo. This nuanced concoction moves away from the Tiki sphere while still delivering a refreshing, bittersweet experience.

This cocktail is built around the comfortable confines of aged rum and Campari but then is taken in a new direction with fino sherry, honey syrup and salt. The rum provides a flavorful base, while the Campari lends its trademark notes of bitter orange, rhubarb, cherry and spice. Fino sherry is dry and nutty, adding dimension to the cocktail. The honey syrup sweetens the affair, and the salt ties the room together with a pinch of harmony. Don’t worry about the drink tasting salty at all—the minor pinch merely enhances the other flavors.

Rather than calling for pineapple juice like the Jungle Bird normally does, the Italian Bird is juice-free. However, it pays homage to the original with a pineapple sage garnish. The absence of pineapple removes this drink from the Tiki sphere and moves it toward classic Italian bartending, playing up the bitter red Italian liqueur Campari.


  • 1 1/2 ounces aged rum

  • 3/4 ounce Campari

  • 1/2 ounce fino sherry

  • 1/2 ounce honey syrup

  • 1 pinch salt

  • Garnish: pineapple sage


  1. Add the rum, Campari, sherry, honey syrup and salt into a mixing glass with ice and stir until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice, and garnish with pineapple sage.