The Yellow Bird is a fun rum cocktail that is filled with tropical fruit. While the primary recipe features orange juice, pineapple and banana also make an appearance in many variations on the Yellow Bird. It's a drink that is a hit on the beaches of the Caribbean, though you will be hard-pressed to find two Yellow Birds made the same way.
As is common in tiki-style cocktails, the Yellow Bird uses both a light rum and a dark rum. A touch of Galliano (the anise and vanilla liqueur) is added to bring in another layer of flavor and make things a bit more interesting as well. It's quite the interesting flavor combination and you'll enjoy every sip of it.
No matter how you make it, the Yellow Bird makes a great summertime cocktail. It's particularly fitting for those lazy days on the beach.
Squeeze the lime juice into a cocktail shaker with ice.
Add all of the remaining ingredients.
Garnish with the cherry and a sprig of mint, if you like.
Variations on the Yellow Bird
As you might expect, the name 'Yellow Bird' is a popular choice for a number of yellow-colored, tropical cocktails. The recipe above is one of the most popular and oldest recipes and it is one that bartenders should pay attention to.
If you're in the mood for a slightly different Yellow Bird, try one of these:
The Blended Yellow Bird - Apparently, this frozen version is a popular cocktail on cruise ships. It is made by blending 1-ounce light rum, 1/4 ounce each Galliano and creme de banane liqueurs, 2 ounces orange juice, and 1-ounce pineapple juice. Once blended, pour the drink over ice in a hurricane glass. You can also skip the blender and shake the ingredients.
The Coffee Yellow Bird - Many Yellow Bird recipes come from Caribbean vacation hotspots and this is a popular one that you might find in your travels. It's interesting because it adds a coffee liqueur into the tropical fruit mix: 1 1/2 ounces light rum, 3/4 ounce creme de banane, 1/2 ounce Tia Maria (coffee liqueur), 2 1/2 ounces orange juice, 1/2 ounce pineapple. The drink is shaken then strained over fresh ice.
You can find many other Yellow Bird recipes as well. Some skip the orange juice in the Galliano recipe, others are a simple mix of rum, banana liqueur, and orange juice, and still, others add vodka into the mix (often skipping the juice and opting for sour mix with 151-proof rum).
It is clearly one of those drinks that are popular enough to be adapted as the bartender and drinker see fit.
How Strong Is the Yellow Bird?
When it comes to alcohol content, the Yellow Bird falls in line with many similar tropical cocktails. They tend to contain a nice amount of liquor that is offset by the abundance of fruit. This makes the drinks light but deceptive. They taste so great and the alcohol is masked that it's very easy to have one too many (not the best idea on a sunny beach).
Be sure to drink plenty of water with the Yellow Bird as it weighs in around 18% ABV (36 proof). It's not the strongest cocktail you can mix up, but it's also not the lightest.