A mixologist mixing a cocktail

A Sip of History: Tracing the Roots of the Jungle Bird Cocktail at Hilton Kuala Lumpur

A mixologist is pouring the mixed cocktail into a glass.

In the world of cocktails, there aren’t many that can boast the same level of intrigue and enduring popularity as the Jungle Bird. This tropical drink, known for its distinct blend of flavors and captivating presentation, has captured the hearts of cocktail enthusiasts worldwide. But did you know that the very first Jungle Bird was concocted at Hilton Kuala Lumpur? Join us as we delve into the fascinating history of this iconic drink and its creation.

Two glasses of cocktail from Aviary Bar.

The Jungle Bird first came to life in the early 1970s, during an era when tiki culture and tropical-themed cocktails were regaining popularity. The story goes that the cocktail was created by Jeffrey Ong Swee Teik, a beverage manager hailing from Penang. In 1973, Hilton Kuala Lumpur was the first 5-star hotel to open in Malaysia and Jeffrey Ong managed the Aviary Bar located within the hotel. Inspired by the exotic ambiance of the hotel, lush surroundings, and the colorful birds perched in a caged area that could be seen from the bar, Ong set out to craft a welcome drink that would evoke the spirit of the jungle while delighting patrons.

 

Ong carefully selected a range of ingredients to capture the essence of the tropics. The Jungle Bird's recipe combines dark rum, Campari, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and pineapple juice. The medley of contrasting ingredients created a harmonious flavor profile that is both intriguing and satisfying. The cocktail was traditionally served in a ceramic bird-shaped vessel, adding an element of whimsy to the drinking experience. This distinctive presentation quickly became synonymous with the Jungle Bird and contributed to its growing allure.

 

While the Jungle Bird gained popularity among hotel guests and locals in Kuala Lumpur, its true breakthrough came through the publication of 'The New America Bartender's Guide' in the late 1980s. The guide, written by John J. Poister, featured the Jungle Bird as one of its highlighted recipes, giving the cocktail significant exposure to a broader audience. It served as a definitive resource for both professional bartenders and home mixologists, and its inclusion of the Jungle Bird helped propel the cocktail into the spotlight. The book's wide distribution ensured that the recipe reached countless cocktail enthusiasts across the United States and beyond, sparking a renewed interest in tropical cocktails and tiki culture. Word of the Jungle Bird's exceptional taste and captivating presentation spread rapidly across the cocktail community. Bartenders around the world started featuring the Jungle Bird on their menus, introducing it to new audiences and solidifying its status as a modern classic. 


The Jungle Bird's journey from its creation at the Hilton Kuala Lumpur to its status as a globally recognized cocktail is a testament to the power of inspired craftsmanship and the ability of a drink to capture the imagination. Its blend of flavors, combined with its unique bird-shaped presentation, has made it an icon in the world of mixology. The fact that the Jungle Bird is equally at home in a tricked-out tiki lounge as it is in a moody cocktail bar speaks to the drink's inherent appeal and adaptable nature.

Aviary Bar

Today, after 50 years since its creation, the Jungle Bird remains a true celebration of tropical indulgence. So, the next time you sip on this delightful concoction, raise your glass to Hilton Kuala Lumpur and the creative genius of Jeffrey Ong, for bringing us this remarkable cocktail that has stood the test of time.

Jungle Bird cocktail 50th anniversary cocktail glass and its box.

RELATED ARTICLES

Merentasi Tradisi: Going back to the future with Hilton’s Ramadan campaign

The familiar ring of Ramadan is approaching. Beyond fasting, the holy month is a time of reflection, spiritual growth, family bonds and cultivating empathy and compassion. Intricately linked to that is the joy of reunions and feasting as soon as the sun sets.

Read More...

Conrad Bali: A Paradise of Your Own on the Island of the Gods

The beautiful island of Bali holds countless wonders and treasures — some yet to be uncovered, and that could be an experience specially tailored to you and your loved ones.

Read More...

Unveiling the Legacy and Origins of Yee Sang: A Malaysian Tradition

Unveiling the Legacy and Origins of Yee Sang: A Malaysian Tradition   In the heart of Malaysia lies a culinary treasure steeped in history and tradition-the vibrant Yee Sang. This iconic dish, synonymous with Chinese New Year celebrations, holds a story that intertwines cultures and embodies the spirit of togetherness and prosperity. The origin of…

Read More...

Your Home for the Holidays – Unforgettable Experiences Await at Hilton Properties in Malaysia This Festive Season

As the holiday season approaches, Hilton Hotels in Malaysia are gearing up for a spectacular celebration, offering unique experiences and activities to make the festive season truly memorable. Let's take a closer look at the exciting activities happening at various properties across the country.

Read More...

Hilton Holidays: A Guide to Delicious Festive Offerings at Hilton Hotels in Malaysia

Bright-colored baubles, Christmas cheer and New Year celebrations. Fill your tummies with wonderful feasts and create unforgettable memories. Whether you’d like quiet conversations over high tea or to have fun dancing the night away, we have just what you’re looking for at Hilton.

Read More...

Indulge in Culinary Heights: A List of Must-Try Delights at Rooftop 25 Bar & Lounge, Hilton Garden Inn Kuala Lumpur

Elevate your dining experience to new heights at Rooftop 25, a laid-back rooftop bar and lounge at Hilton Garden Inn Kuala Lumpur Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman South. Offering exceptional flavors and stunning vistas, the poolside eatery lends an air of relaxation, allowing you to savor each bite amidst the soft glisten of city lights, the...

Read More...

Hilton Properties in Malaysia Shine at Food & Hotel Malaysia 2023 Exhibit

Hilton properties in Malaysia celebrated a momentous victory at the Food & Hotel Malaysia 2023 Exhibit, showcasing their culinary creativity while embracing the core theme of sustainability.

Read More...

MICE at Hilton: Various Venues for Your Ultimate Team Getaway

MICE at Hilton: Various Venues for Your Ultimate Team Getaway Gone are the days where we’re stuck at home having to stare at the screen for hours on end to get thoughts, ideas and executions across. Inspiring work spaces and locations can spark so much creativity – even the simplest sound of the outdoors or…

Read More...
a couple dining at banquet of hoshena

From Talking Plates to Mesmerizing Fireworks: Enchant Your Senses at The Banquet of Hoshena, a Magical Dining Experience

Prepare to embark on a culinary journey like no other as you step through the doors of the Banquet of Hoshena.

Read More...
Fadzril Fakaruddin

Seni Weekend: Of Art, Exploration, and Rediscovery

Seni Weekend at DoubleTree by Hilton Putrajaya Lakeside offers a unique family activity and staycation. Artist Fadzril Fakaruddin's Studio Residency includes diverse weekend workshops, while participants enjoy art, refreshments, and the hotel's amenities.

Read More...