Paper Plane

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Cocktail History

The Paper Plane is a modern classic cocktail that was created in the late 2000s by bartender Sam Ross during his time working with Sasha Petraske at Milk & Honey in New York City, New York. Though mostly a reworked Last Word, the 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 Petraske was a fan.

Cocktail Ingredients

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

Bourbon: This is the base spirit. We used Four Roses Bourbon Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey because it’s smooth and mellow and features hints of fresh fruit, honey, and spice that work well in cocktails like this one.

Aperol: This is a bitter Italian apéritif. It adds notes of gentian, rhubarb, and cinchona.

Amaro Nonino Quintessentia: This is a bitter liqueur. It’s made by infusing grappa with fruits, herbs, and botanicals and features notes of citrus, gentian, and caramel in its taste. If you can’t locate a bottle of this liqueur, you can also try Amaro Averna, but it won’t be quite the same.

Lemon Juice: This adds sour citrus flavors for balance. We prefer to use fresh citrus juice because it’s less bitter than the bottled stuff and tastes better.

Lemon Peel: This is the garnish. It adds fresh lemon aroma. We fashioned ours into a small paper plane for obvious reasons.

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 it 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 bitter-sweetness, 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)
$11.49

AuthorThe Essential Cocktail BookPrep Time5 minsRating

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 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 ice to a shaker.

2

Shake for 10-20 seconds.

3

Strain into a cocktail glass.

4

Garnish with lemon peel.

Paper Plane

Tools & Glassware We Recommend

More Modern Classic Cocktails

If you like this cocktail recipe, here are a few others modern classics 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

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2 Comments

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

    Our house cocktail this summer!

    • Sips From Scripts
      Posted December 1, 2021 8:00 am 0Likes

      We’re glad to hear that! Alex absolutely loves this drink and makes it often.

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