This classic paper plane cocktail is the ultimate four ingredient cocktail recipe. Made with Aperol, Amaro Nonino, Bourbon and lemon juice. You definitely can't go wrong with this beautiful drink.
What Is A Paper Plane Cocktail
This well balanced cocktail was originally invented in 2007 by bartender Sam Ross in New York City. The cocktail is traditionally served in a coupe glass and made up of four main ingredients, namely; Aperol, Amaro Nonino, Bourbon and lemon juice.
Bourbon - Providing the paper plane cocktail with is rich, oaky flavour, bourbon forms the base of this delicious cocktail. Bourbon is made up of a grain mixture and aged in charred oak barrels. Love Bourbon? We've got a whole post about the Best Mixers For Bourbon.
Aperol - Who doesn't love this popular Italian aperitif? With its bright orange color and bitter yet sweet citrus flavour. Aperol is made from a secret blend of herbs and spices and gives this cocktail is stunning orange color. Check out our Guide To Aperol.
Amaro Nonino - This full bodied Italian liqueur gives the paper plane cocktail a hint of bitterness and balances out any sweetness from the Aperol. Amaro Nonino is made from a combination of herbs and spices, including saffron and quinine.
Lemon Juice - Adding a splash of freshly squeezed lemon juice gives any cocktail a refreshing citrus twist. Not only does it balance out the sweetness of a classic cocktail but it adds a hint of bitterness.
How To Make A Paper Plane Cocktail
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Add the Aperol, lemon juice, Bourbon and Amaro Nonino.
- Shake the cocktail shaker for 15-30 seconds.
- Strain the mixture into a coupe glass and garnish with a lemon peel.
Best Bourbon For Paper Plane Cocktail
We love talking all about Bourbon, whether that's making a refreshing Bourbon Lemonade or discussing all the best things to mix with Bourbon.
When it comes to choosing the best bourbon for any cocktail recipe it all depends on personal preference. For the paper plane cocktail, it is best to use a Bourbon that works well with all of the other ingredients. A smooth yet slightly sweet Bourbon would be ideal. Some great options include:
- Woodford Reserve
- Basil Hayden's
- Buffalo Trace
- Bulleit Bourbon
Garnishes For Paper Plane Cocktail
Lemon Twist - The classic garnish for a paper plane cocktail is a lemon twist. This can be achieved my peeling a strip of lemon rind and twisting it over the top of the drink. Alternatively, try using an orange peel or grapefruit peel.
Sage Leaves - Top the paper plane cocktail with a few fresh sage leaves for a beautiful herby touch.
Dehydrated Orange Slice - For a beautiful garnish option, add a dehydrated orange or lemon slice to the top of the cocktail. This gives the cocktail an intense citrus flavor and adds a slight crunchy texture.
Cinnamon Stick - Adding a cinnamon stick to your glass can give this cocktail a warm and spicy flavor. This is ideal when making this cocktail in cooler months.
Twists and Variations
Paper Plane Royale - Add a splash of champagne or Prosecco to give this cocktail a bubbly twist for celebrations.
Paper Boat - Swap out the bourbon for rye whiskey and add a few dashes of bitters to give this cocktail a spicy twist.
Mezcal Paper Plane - Garnished with grapefruit, this smoky twist is easy to make. Simply swap out the Bourbon for Mezcal and finish it off with a grapefruit twist.
Paper Plane Cocktail Without Amaro Nonino
It is very easy to make a paper plane cocktail without using Amaro Nonino. Simply swap it out for another bitter liquer. Something like Campari or Aperitivo Cappelletti works well and will maintain the balance of this delicious cocktail.
To make a paper plane cocktail without Amaro Nonino, you will need:
- ¾ oz Bourbon
- ¾ oz Aperol
- ¾ oz fresh lemon juice
- ¾ oz bitter liqueur, such as Campari or Aperitivo Cappelletti
- Lemon twist, for garnish
When To Serve
Because of its balance flavors this cocktail is a great addition to many dishes. Everything from pasta to meaty dishes. This cocktail is sure to impress all dinner party guests.
Who doesn't love a happy hour cocktail? The paper plane cocktail is the ultimate happy hour cocktail. It's boozy, balanced and beautiful.
A refreshing alternative for the classic mimosa, paper plane cocktails are a great addition to your next brunch gathering. Plus, they go great with eggs Benedict.
- 1 oz Aperol
- 1 oz Bourbon
- 1 oz Amaro Nonino
- 1 oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Lemon rind for garnish
- To a cocktail shaker, add all the ingredients for the paper plane cocktail.
- Shake vigorously for 30 seconds.
- Strain the cocktail into a coupe glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
- Use a chilled glass for the best results.
- Swap out the lemon juice for grapefruit juice for a variation.