Paper Plane

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Cocktail History

The Paper Plane is a modern cocktail that was created in the late 2000s by Sam Ross at Milk & Honey in New York City, New York. Though essentially a reworked Last Word, this equal-parts recipe combines four completely different ingredients, including bourbon, Aperol, lemon, and the unique Amaro Nonino Quintessentia, to amazing effect. Its name is also believed to be in reference to the M.I.A. song “Paper Planes,” of which Sasha Petraske (Ross’s coworker at the time of the drink’s creation) was a fan.

Cocktail Ingredients

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Bourbon: This is a type of whiskey made in the United States with at least 51% corn, grains, malted barley, and water. We used Four Roses Bourbon Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey because it’s smooth and mellow and features hints of fresh fruit, honey, and spice. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Spiritless Kentucky 74 Non-Alcoholic Bourbon Whiskey in place of the whiskey.

Aperol: This is an apéritif made in Italy with gentian root, rhubarb, cinchona, sugar, and alcohol. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Free Spirits Non-Alcoholic Aperitivo in place of the bitter liqueur.

Amaro Nonino Quintessentia: This is a bitter liqueur made in Italy with grappa, fruits, herbs, botanicals, and alcohol. For a mocktail version of this drink, try Dr. Zero Zero ArmarNo Non-Alcoholic Amaro in place of the amaro.

Lemon Juice: This is the liquid juice of a lemon. We used freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Lemon Peel: This is the peel of a lemon that has been cut into a strip.

Bartending Tools

To make this cocktail, you’ll need the following bar tools:

Jigger: This is used to measure and pour ingredients. We used the Japanese jigger from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Boston Shaker: This is used to shake ingredients. We used the Boston shaker from the A Bar Above 14-Piece Silver Bar Set.

Hawthorne Strainer: This is used to strain out ice and solid ingredients after the cocktail is shaken. We used the A Bar Above Hawthorne Strainer.

Paring Knife: This is used to cut ingredients. We used the OXO Good Grips 3.5 Inch Paring Knife.

Juicer: This is used to juice citrus. We used the ALEEHAI Manual Fruit Juicer.

Peeler: This is used to remove the garnish peel from the citrus. We used the OXO Good Grips 2-Piece Peeler Set.

Tasting Notes

The Paper Plane features bright notes of citrus and deep amaro, and it has an extremely well-balanced taste that leads with citrus, marries bitterness, herbal notes, and bourbon spiciness, and finishes with a slightly bitter lingering aftertaste.

Our Opinion of This Cocktail Recipe: We both thought it was a delightfully sweet but complex cocktail. Alex especially found it to die for and has had it several more times since making his first. And Kendall, who isn’t big on Aperol or most amaros yet, will definitely be requesting the Paper Plan again.

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Which of our palates is yours most like?
Find out if your palate is most similar to Alex’s or Kendall’s by answering five questions.

Take Our Quiz →

Alex’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“The iconic Paper Plane lives up to its reputation, with a classic equal-parts flavor successfully combining all of the ingredients together. A splash of citrus tartness, a bit of Aperol bittersweetness, the Amaro Nonino’s unique herbal recipe, and finally the bourbon’s slight oaky spiciness make this drink one for the books. I’ve made it several times prior to writing this since buying the Amaro Nonino, and I will absolutely make it several times more. If you’re on the fence about any of its disparate ingredients alone, try this drink, and it very well may change your mind.”

Kendall’s Take: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“I’m not usually big on Aperol, but as far as those drinks go, this is one of my new favorites! It has a sourness that makes you want to keep right on sipping, and it’s perfectly balanced so no one flavor overwhelms the others. I would definitely drink this again.”

Recipe

This cocktail recipe was adapted from The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks by the editors of PUNCH and Megan Krigbaum.

Sale
The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks with 150 Recipes
The Essential Cocktail Book: A Complete Guide to Modern Drinks with 150 Recipes
Hardcover Book; Editors of PUNCH (Author); English (Publication Language); 352 Pages – 09/05/2017 (Publication Date) – Ten Speed Press (Publisher)
$13.05 Amazon Prime

AuthorThe Essential Cocktail Book

Yields1 ServingPrep Time5 mins

Ingredients
 ¾ oz Bourbon
 ¾ oz Aperol
 ¾ oz Amaro Nonino Quintessentia
 ¾ oz Lemon Juice
 1 Lemon Peel

Method
1

Add bourbon, Aperol, amaro nonino, lemon juice, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with lemon peel.

Ingredients

Ingredients
 ¾ oz Bourbon
 ¾ oz Aperol
 ¾ oz Amaro Nonino Quintessentia
 ¾ oz Lemon Juice
 1 Lemon Peel

Directions

Method
1

Add bourbon, Aperol, amaro nonino, lemon juice, and cubed ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with lemon peel.

Paper Plane

Make It a Mocktail: Use Spiritless Kentucky 74 Non-Alcoholic Bourbon Whiskey in place of the whiskey, Free Spirits Non-Alcoholic Aperitivo in place of the bitter liqueur, and Dr. Zero Zero ArmarNo Non-Alcoholic Amaro in place of the amaro to try a booze-free version of this drink.

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More Modern Cocktails

If you like this modern cocktail recipe, here are a few others we’ve tried that you may enjoy:

Mott & Mulberry Cocktail Recipe

Mott & Mulberry: A rye cocktail made with Luxardo Amaro Abano, apple cider, lemon juice, Demerara syrup, and apple slices

Oxford Comma Cocktail Recipe

Oxford Comma: A gin cocktail made with dry vermouth, Green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, celery shrub, and lemon

Boo Radley Cocktail Recipe

Boo Radley: A bourbon cocktail made with Cynar, cherry liqueur, a lemon peel, and an orange peel

Mountain Man Cocktail Recipe

Mountain Man: A bourbon cocktail made with lemon juice, peach liqueur, ginger syrup, maple syrup, and candied ginger

This post contains affiliate links, meaning we make a small commission each time you purchase a product using our links. Product images sourced from Amazon Product Advertising API. Amazon affiliate links last updated on 2024-04-21.

1 Comment

  • Katie White
    Posted December 1, 2021 12:22 am 0Likes

    Our house cocktail this summer!

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