I recently received an email from one of the myriad beverage e-newsletters I subscribe to with the subject "The Most Overrated Cocktails". Clearly this was clickbait, and what can I say? -- it worked. I'm generally wary when anyone calls something overrated, so I opened the article with a healthy amount of skepticism. The author had interviewed a handful of prominent bartenders, asking each of them what they thought was the most overrated cocktail that their customers ordered. While there were a few who singled out a drink or two, I was pleased to see that many of them seemed as unimpressed with the question as I. Lots of responses were along the lines of, "If a customer enjoys it, who am I to say it's overrated?"
We at Libacious believe that judgement of drink orders has no place in a bartender's job description. We reserve our judgement for picking the best ingredients and the best presentation. "Snob" is not a moniker any of us aspire to. Cocktails, coffee, tea and other beverages are one of life's pleasures, and why in the world would one want to place judgement on something if it makes a person happy?
After reading that article, I immediately went and made one of the drinks an interviewee had declared overrated. Sure, the Jungle Bird has seen a resurgence in popularity in the last few years, but that's because it's simple to make and delicious to drink. Neither of those things is reason to incur any disdain, as far as I can tell. If someone who has never before explored the world of cocktails finds entrée via a Cosmo or a Mojito, what's the problem? You might stop with your Moscow Mule, or it might be the first step towards a lifetime of libation exploration. We're always excited to suggest drinks we think you'll like trying, but as far as we're concerned, if it's what you want, it's good with us. Cheers, indeed!
The Jungle Bird
This is one of the simplest tiki drinks around, so it's a great jumping-off point if you've been wanting to add a little bit of the tropics to your repertoire. It originated at the Kuala Lumpur Hilton's Aviary Bar in the 1970s, and these days you can find a bevy of riffs on the sweet-bitter-fruity combo. The mix of flavors really is something: from the tart lime, to the molasses-y depth of the dark rum, to the unmistakable hit of Campari herbs, this bird sings all the way down.
1 1/2 ounces dark rum (Jamaican or blackstrap)
3/4 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1 1/2 ounces pineapple juice
Shake and strain over crushed ice or one big cube. Garnish with a pineapple wedge.