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Perfect Paper Plane Cocktail

Embark on a journey to exquisite taste with our Paper Plane Cocktail recipe. Sip on this balanced blend of bourbon, Amaro, Aperol, and lemon juice, perfect for any occasion.

August 6, 2023
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Paper Plane CocktailPhoto By Canva
Difficulty Easy
Servings 1 people
Preparation 5 mins
Cooking 0 mins
Total 5 mins



  1. Chill a rocks glass or a coupe glass in the freezer or by filling it with ice water.
  2. Add the bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Aperol, and fresh lemon juice into a cocktail shaker.
  3. Fill the shaker with ice, cover it, and shake vigorously for about 20 seconds. This step ensures that all the flavors blend well together and the mixture becomes chilled.
  4. Strain the cocktail into a chilled coupe glass or any other cocktail glass you prefer.
  5. Garnish with a small slice of lemon and serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Paper Plane Cocktail
Serves 1
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.3 g0.4%
Protein 1 g2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.


  • Make sure your bourbon is of good quality as it is the primary ingredient and will significantly affect the taste.
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice is best to use for a bright, fresh flavor.
  • If you can't find Amaro Nonino, you can substitute with other types of Amaro. However, Amaro Nonino is recommended for its unique flavors.
  • Shake the cocktail vigorously with ice to chill and properly dilute the ingredients. This helps blend the flavors and gives the cocktail a pleasant texture.
  • Chill the glassware in the freezer or by filling it with ice water while you prepare the cocktail. This ensures your drink stays cold from the first sip.
  • Use a fine-mesh strainer when pouring the cocktail into the glass to remove any ice shards or small particles.
  • Serve the Paper Plane in a rocks glass or a coupe glass, both of which work well for showcasing the cocktail's color and aroma.
  • The cocktail should be served immediately after making to ensure the flavors are fresh and vibrant.
  • For the garnish, a twist of lemon peel can also add a nice touch.
Rate This Recipe

Every cocktail lover is always on the hunt for their next favorite mix, and the Paper Plane Cocktail may be just the ticket. This cocktail is a harmonious blend of sweet, sour, and slightly bitter notes, making it the perfect drink for any occasion. Whether you're hosting a fancy cocktail party or just relaxing after a long day, this cocktail recipe is easy to make and sure to impress!

What Is a Paper Plane Cocktail?

The Paper Plane cocktail is a modern and well-balanced cocktail that gained popularity in the craft cocktail revival of the 21st century. It is known for its equal parts of four main ingredients: bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, and fresh lemon juice. The cocktail offers a harmonious blend of sweet, bitter, and citrusy flavors, making it a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts.

The combination of bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, and lemon juice results in a cocktail that is both refreshing and complex. The bourbon provides a rich and slightly smoky base, while the Aperol contributes a touch of citrus and a gentle bitterness. Amaro Nonino, a type of Italian amaro, adds depth with its herbal and fruity notes, and fresh lemon juice balances the drink with its bright acidity.

The Paper Plane cocktail is typically served straight up in a rocks glass or a coupe glass. It's often garnished with a twist of lemon peel to enhance the aroma and add a visually appealing element.

Where Did The Drink Paper Plane Come From?

The "Paper Plane Cocktail" is a modern classic in the world of mixology. This intriguing drink was first created in 2007 by Sam Ross, an Australian bartender renowned for his innovative cocktail creations. Ross was working at the famous Milk & Honey bar in New York City when he concocted the Paper Plane, and it quickly took off. Now, it can be found on cocktail menus around the globe.

Our recipe for the Paper Plane Cocktail stays true to Ross's original formula. It involves a simple but flavorful mix of bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Aperol, and lemon juice. These ingredients come together to create a balanced, slightly bitter, and tangy drink that's also incredibly refreshing. One sip of this cocktail, and you'll understand why it's considered a modern classic.

But the beauty of the Paper Plane Cocktail is not just in its original format. It lends itself well to variations and experiments, allowing for individual tweaks and twists. For instance, swapping bourbon with rye whiskey adds a spicier kick, or using a different Amaro can offer a unique herbal undertone. No matter the variation, the essence of the Paper Plane remains - a sophisticated, complex cocktail that's easy to make and easier to enjoy.

What Is A Good Substitute For A Paper Plane Cocktail?

The Paper Plane cocktail is a sophisticated blend of ingredients, so any substitute would ideally need to capture its unique combination of sweet, bitter, and sour notes. Here are a few alternatives:

Last Word: The Last Word cocktail shares a similar balanced profile of sweetness, sourness, and bitterness. It is made with equal parts gin, lime juice, green Chartreuse, and maraschino liqueur.

Boulevardier: If it's the whiskey element of the Paper Plane that you enjoy, consider a Boulevardier. This cocktail uses bourbon (like the Paper Plane), but mixes it with sweet vermouth and Campari for a more robust and bitter flavor.

Negroni: A classic Negroni also shares some of the bitter characteristics of a Paper Plane, using gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth.

Sour Cocktails: If it's the sour element you enjoy in the Paper Plane, consider other sour cocktails such as a Whiskey Sour or a Pisco Sour.

Remember, the beauty of mixology is its versatility. You can always experiment with these cocktails, adding or changing ingredients to better suit your palate.

What Can I Use Instead Of Nonino In Paper Plane?

Amaro Nonino Quintessentia is a unique ingredient known for its warm, complex flavors and slightly bitter finish. However, if you don't have this particular amaro, there are several substitutions you could consider:

Averna: This is a Sicilian amaro that has a more pronounced citrus flavor with a bit more sweetness.

Montenegro: This amaro has a more floral and bright profile, with less bitterness than Nonino.

Cynar: Cynar is another Italian amaro that is a bit more bitter than Nonino, but it would bring an interesting twist to a Paper Plane. Note that Cynar is made from artichokes, which gives it a unique flavor profile.

Ramazzotti: Ramazzotti is a good option as it also contains orange flavors, though it tends to be a bit spicier and less sweet than Nonino.

Remember that the flavor of the cocktail will change depending on what you use as a substitute. Part of the fun of cocktail-making is experimenting with different ingredients to find a combination you enjoy!

What Does Amaro Nonino Taste Like?

Amaro Nonino is an Italian digestif that is sweet, bitter, and spicy, all at the same time. It's made from a variety of herbs, spices, roots, and citrus peels, which contribute to its complex flavor profile.

On the nose, Amaro Nonino often gives off a strong scent of bitter orange peel, complemented by notes of warm spices like cinnamon and cloves. The taste typically starts sweet, with hints of caramel, honey, and vanilla, followed by a middle palate of bitter and herbal flavors such as gentian root and rhubarb. This complex concoction then finishes with a mildly bitter, warming and citrusy aftertaste.

Every batch of Amaro Nonino is slightly different, reflecting variations in the herbs and spices used, but the overall profile is consistently well-balanced and complex. This rich tapestry of flavors makes it an excellent choice for sipping on its own or as a component in cocktails like the Paper Plane.

Remember, Amaro Nonino is an acquired taste. Some people are immediately drawn to its complexity and unique flavor profile, while others might need a little time to fully appreciate it. Nonetheless, it's a fascinating and rewarding spirit to explore.

What To Serve with a Paper Plane Cocktail?

The Paper Plane cocktail is a flavorful and well-balanced drink that pairs wonderfully with a variety of appetizers and small bites. When serving a Paper Plane cocktail, consider these delicious options to complement its flavors:

Charcuterie Board: A selection of cured meats, cheeses, olives, nuts, and crusty bread is a classic choice that offers a range of flavors and textures to enhance the cocktail.

Stuffed Mushrooms: Serve stuffed mushrooms with ingredients like cream cheese, garlic, herbs, and breadcrumbs for a savory and satisfying pairing.

Bruschetta: Topped with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, and a drizzle of balsamic glaze, bruschetta provides a burst of freshness that complements the cocktail's citrus notes.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip: Creamy and cheesy spinach and artichoke dip pairs well with the cocktail's herbal and bitter elements.

Deviled Eggs: The creamy and tangy filling of deviled eggs contrasts nicely with the cocktail's bold flavors.

Truffle Popcorn: Elevate classic popcorn with a drizzle of truffle oil and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese for a luxurious and indulgent pairing.

Sushi Rolls: Opt for sushi rolls with fresh ingredients like avocado, cucumber, and tuna to provide a light and refreshing accompaniment.

Baked Brie with Jam: Warm, melted brie paired with a fruity jam or preserve creates a delightful contrast to the cocktail's bitterness.

Recipe byPetite Gourmets

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