The Paper Plane Cocktail has become one of our all-time house favorites – in a somewhat unlikely fashion. Amari – bitter and complex Italian liqueurs of which Campari is the best known, were having a major moment a few years back. (Note, they’re still great.)
Someone bought me a bottle of Amaro Nonino, a somewhat obscure one, as a welcome gift. I was grateful of course, but a little perplexed about what to do with it. Then I noticed that the Nonino family’s thoughtful marketing team had enclosed a booklet that included a cocktail recipe. The rest is history – I’ve probably bought a case of this Amaro (so way to GO, Marketing Team!) – made countless rounds of this drink, and spread its gospel wide.
The Paper Plane Cocktail is a four ingredient equal parts drink with the aforementioned Amaro Nonino, Bourbon, Aperol, and lemon juice. The Amaro is very orange forward but much more complex than the Aperol, giving the cocktail impressive depth. And coupled with the lemon it remains bright and refreshing. It’s equally appropriate by a fireside and on the patio – it just works all year round. With most equal parts drinks, you really don’t want equal parts – they’re too sweet for our modern tastes. I think it’s best to heavy up on the primary spirit and dial down the secondary ones. With this one, equal parts work.
Serve up, and unless you’re feeling cute, no garnish. If you’re feeling cute, garnish with a tiny paper plane on a cocktail pick.
- 3/4 oz Bourbon
- 3/4 oz Amaro Nonino
- 3/4 oz Aperol
- 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
- Add ingredients to an ice-filled shaker and have at it for 20 seconds or so.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, no garnish.
The Paper Plane Cocktail was invented by Sam Ross, and is featured on the Amaro website. Apparently, it’s named after the MIA song, Paper Planes, also a favorite. Both date from 2007.