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Red drink in a nick and nora glass with mini paper plane clothes pinned to rim
Just don’t try throwing this across a classroom like a real paper plane

How to Make a Paper Plane Cocktail

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's...a paper plane?

Jonathan Lind is a NYC-based bartender, founding Bar Director at Crown Shy, and has worked at celebrated establishments like Eleven Madison Park.

April 17, 2024 5:02 pm

Let’s make a paper plane! First, grab a sheet of paper, a standard 8.5” by 11” will do. Start by folding — wait! Wrong paper plane. REWIND!

While many folks have encountered the Paper Plane at their local cocktail bar, it’s worth taking a moment to acknowledge and appreciate the story behind this wonderful equal-parts recipe. It was created by the master of modern classics, Sam Ross, a bartender known for his industry temple to tippling, Milk & Honey, for a menu he was writing at the Chicago bar Violet Hour. The blend of bittersweet amari and high-proof bourbon (shoot for something around 45% ABV) gives you an absolutely addictive whiskey cocktail that works brilliantly on its own or with heavy, flavor-forward dishes (thinking fully-dressed burgers here).

A quick note on the recipe: There is much disagreement amongst bartenders exactly when to take creative liberties with classic cocktails, and no cocktail has come up more than the Paper Plane. The drink was written specifically with Aperol and Amaro Nonino in mind because of the slightly sweet Aperol and the specific combination of botanicals that make up the Amaro Nonino recipe. If you want to make an authentic Paper Plane, invest in the proper bottles; all amari are not created equal!

Paper Plane

Servings: 1 cocktail

Copy Ingredients

  • ¾ oz. bourbon
  • ¾ oz. lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. Amaro Nonino
  • ¾ oz. Aperol

Copy Directions

    1. Combine all of your ingredients into a shaker tin. Fill that bad boy up with ice, close up your tins and shake with vigor! You really want to incorporate as much air and chill as possible, so really give it the business. Once your tins are almost too cold to hold comfortably, you’re ready to roll.

    2. Double strain your cocktail into a coupe by adding the use of a fine mesh strainer. This is a matter of preference, as I don’t particularly want ice chips floating in my drink. They taste like nothing and they just dilute the drink.

    3. Once strained, garnish with a lemon twist or the ever-popular paper plane (like made of real paper), and enjoy!

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