Paper Plane Cocktail
Classic Paper Plane Cocktail
Invented by legendary Aussie bartender Sam Ross in 2007, the Paper Plane cocktail is a beautiful balance between the bitter of Amaro & Aperol, the bright sour & acidity of fresh lemon juice, and the complex sweetness of bourbon. The easiest of ratios to remember, it is equal portions of the 4 parts (Amaro, Aperol, Bourbon, and lemon juice). It is hands down one of our absolute favorite bourbon cocktails to drink, and we aren’t the only ones. Often when ordering out, the bartender will give a knowing glimmer in their eye when asked if they can make a Paper Plane. We’ve heard time and time again that it is one of their personal favorites. Thank you Stephen for introducing it to us.
Video: Watch How to Make Paper Plane Cocktail
A few notes on the ingredients. Amaro will vary tremendously in bitterness and flavor profile. The Paper Plane was originally made with Amaro Nonino Quintessetia and that is still the favorite of most. Other good substitutions we’ve tried are Amaro Montenegro, and Cardamaro Vino Amaro. Amaro itself is a fascinating deep dive and if you want a good starting point, check out Brad Parson’s book, Amaro: The Spirited World of … (it has a long subtitle). For the second ingredient, Aperol, it is nearly always the choice in a Paper Plane, but Campari is a proper substitute, however it will be more bitter than Aperol. Campari was actually Sam Ross’ original choice in the Paper Plane, but he later found Aperol to be a better balance in the cocktail. For the bourbon, you can’t go wrong with Buffalo Trace, but feel free to play with your favorites. And please use fresh lemon juice. It makes a huge difference over any bottle lemon juice.
Paper Plane (Bourbon Cocktail)
- In a shaker filled with ice, add the amaro, aperol, bourbon, and lemon juice. Shake vigorously for about 15 seconds.
- Strain and pour into a coupe or Nick & Nora glass. Enjoy.
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