Junglee Bird Cocktail

Junglee Bird Cocktail
A spicy mango syrup and a touch of saline solution are teamed with the usual rum and Campari in this modern take on the classic tiki cocktail Jungle Bird.Thomas Payne

"In Hindi, the word junglee means 'from the wild,'" says Ashwin Vilkhu, whose family owns the beloved New Orleans restaurant Saffron. "My mother would call me junglee as a kid because I was a bit of a handful. I wanted to riff on one of my favorite tiki cocktails, the classic Jungle Bird, as it's got a touch of bitterness with ripe pineapple flavors." Vilkhu's Jungle Bird variation contrasts elements of the traditional rum-based recipe with a Punjabi-inspired mango syrup and a touch of kosher salt solution.

Equipment

Junglee Bird Cocktail
In this updated version of the classic tiki cocktail Jungle Bird, homemade mango syrup and saline solution are paired with the traditional rum and Campari.
Yield: makes 1 drink
Time: 1 hour

For the Saline Solution and Mango Syrup:

  • 2½ tsp. (½ oz.) kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 medium, semi-ripe Alphonso mango (1 lb. 2 oz.), unpeeled
  • 2 tbsp. raw cane sugar
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp. Kashmiri chile powder (or substitute cayenne)
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch of dried mint

For the Cocktail:

  • 1½ oz. (3 Tbsp.) white rum
  • ¾ oz. (1 Tbsp. plus 1½ tsp.) passion fruit liqueur
  • ½ oz. (2 tsp.) Campari
  • ¼ oz. (1 ½ tsp.) falernum
  • ½ oz. (1 Tbsp.) fresh lime juice
  • Large mint sprig, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Make the saline solution. In a heatproof liquid-measuring cup, add the salt and ⅔ cup boiling water; stir to dissolve. Set aside and let cool to room temperature, then transfer to a squeeze bottle.
  2. Make the mango syrup: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Place the mango on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the fruit is lightly browned on the bottom and just beginning to release its juices, about 20 minutes.
  4. In a medium pot, bring 2 cups of water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Add the mango and cook until the flesh is very soft when poked with a knife, 18–20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mango to a heatproof bowl, leaving the cooking liquid in the pot; set the mango aside until it is cool enough to handle.
  5. Peel the skin off the mango; using your hands, squeeze the pulp off of the pit. Transfer the pulp to the pot of water, add the sugar, bring to a boil, and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens slightly, 5–7 minutes. Transfer to a blender, then add the lemon juice, chile powder, pepper, and mint. Blend until completely smooth. Set the syrup aside and let cool to room temperature, then transfer to a glass bottle or squeeze bottle. If not using immediately, store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  6. Make the cocktail: Fill a tall pilsner glass halfway with crushed ice. Add the rum, passion fruit liqueur, Campari, falernum, lime juice, ¾ ounce (1 tablespoon plus 1½ teaspoons) mango syrup, and a dash of saline solution. Swizzle thoroughly, then top the glass with more crushed ice. Garnish with the mint sprig, then serve immediately with a straw.