Alcoholic · Beverage

Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe

This bourbon whiskey based Paper Plane cocktail is a must try! The taste varies from sweet and tangy, with a perfect balance between Bourbon, Aperol and Amaro. Even for non-whiskey drinkers, this is THE interesting, complex, deliciously yummy drink to celebrate with at your holiday parties.

A delicious Bourbon Whiskey based Paper Plane Cocktail recipe made with bourbon, Amaro and Aperol.
A delicious Bourbon Whiskey based Paper Plane Cocktail recipe made with bourbon, Amaro and Aperol.

The Paper Plane Cocktail is a strong cocktail. It has to be right – it got all those strong liquor and rightly named bourbon Amaro Aperol cocktail. At the same time, I find it so deliciously addictive which can be a little dangerous 😛 This cocktail has three alcoholic liquors in equal amounts. 🙂 But the thig is even if you aren’t a whiskey/bourbon drinker, it would still get you hooked. It did to me.

I love mixing cocktails and serving them in cute vintage glasses. I love the way they look (guilty as charged – I’m all in for the aesthetics). Honestly I love making cocktails more than drinking them. There is nothing like, crafting a cocktail for a friend and handing over the glass to them. Ah! seeing their faces light up in anticipation is – priceless.

A delicious Bourbon Whiskey based Paper Plane Cocktail recipe made with bourbon, Amaro and Aperol.
A delicious Bourbon Whiskey based Paper Plane Cocktail recipe made with bourbon, Amaro and Aperol.

What is a Paper Plane cocktail?

The Paper Plane is an IBA official cocktail (Trust me, I had to look it up. Had no clue what an IBA is. :P). Apparently, Paper Plane cocktail is named after the M.I.A track “Paper Planes,”. This delicious bourbon-amaro-aperol cocktail was developed in 2008 for the Violet Hour bar in Chicago. (Notes to self – will check out this bar when I’m in Chicago next).

Trust me when I say this, when I tried this cocktail at a friend’s the first time, my first thought was that it tastes so much like The Last Word, which is also an equal-parts-ingredients based drink. In fact I made the Last Word cocktail so many times last year for my husband and friends. I wish I had a post written up on that so that I could link it here. 🙁

A delicious Bourbon Whiskey based Paper Plane Cocktail recipe made with bourbon, Amaro and Aperol.

Ingredients used in Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe

  • Bourbon whiskey
  • Aperol
  • Italian amaro
  • Lemon juice

Lets talk about Amaro liquor

What Kind of Liquor is Amaro Nonino? – Amaro Nanio liquor was invented in 1992 by a distiller named Antonio Nonino in Friuli, Italy. It’s unique because it’s made using grappa, infusing it with herbs, fruits and botanicals.

What does Amaro Nonino liquor tastes like? – The bittersweet liqueur has flavor notes of orange, honey, vanilla, licorice, allspice, mango, pepper, and cocoa. It’s got a very unique flavor rofile which can be an acquired taste for many.

Though, I haven’t tried any other Amaro Nonino based cocktails except for Paper Plane, but I strongly feel that, if you like this liquor, then you MUST try this Paper Plane cocktail recipe. I personally feel Bourbon and Amaro match very well.

Let’s talk about Aperol liquor

So, what is Aperol Liquor? – It is a Italian liqueur that’s an aperitif: a liquor designed for sipping before a meal. It’s considered an Italian amaro or bitter (amaro means “little bitter”), but it’s the sweetest in the family. It was invented in Padua, Italy in 1919 by brothers Luigi and Silvio Barbieri.

What does Aperol taste like? – Aperol has a complex orange taste. Its a sibling of Campari, but Aperol tastes sweeter because of bitter orange, gentian and cinchona flower.

What other cocktails can be made with Aperol? – Aperol and Gin go really well in cocktails. In fact there are so many cocktails out there that can be made using Aperol like Aperol Spritz which is a very popular cocktail.

A delicious Bourbon Whiskey based Paper Plane Cocktail recipe made with bourbon, Amaro and Aperol.

How to make a Paper Plane Cocktail

  • Shake: Add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Fill it with ice and then shake until very cold. 
  • Strain: Strain the drink into a cocktail glass. 
  • Garnish: If you’d like, a lemon peel makes the glass more festive.

Tips and Tricks for bourbon Amaro Aperol cocktail

  • However, if you cannot find Amaro Nonino, some of these liqueurs may be suitable substitutions like – Amaro Averna, Amaro Montenegro, Boutique Italian Sweet Vermouth (such as Fred Jerbis), Cynar (which is also Italian Amaro), Angostura Bitters*
  • Bourbon can be swapped for Rum
  • Campari can be swapped for Aperol
  • Amaro Nonino can be swapped for Grand Mariner, and add a dash or two of bitters.
A delicious Bourbon Whiskey based Paper Plane Cocktail recipe made with bourbon, Amaro and Aperol.

How about some other whiskey based recipe?

Like, Honey-Ginger-Whiskey Cocktail

or, even a Chocolate Whiskey Cake

Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe

A classic bourbon whiskey cocktail mixed with equal amounts of Amaro, Aperol, bourbon, and lemon juice.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Cocktail Shaker

Ingredients
  

  • 2 ounce amaro (preferably Nonino)
  • 2 ounce Aperol
  • 2 ounce bourbon
  • 2 ounce lemon juice

Instructions
 

  • Combine amaro, Aperol, bourbon, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously until outside of shaker is frosty, about 20 seconds. Strain into 2 coupe glasses
Keyword whiskey cocktail, last word cocktail, aperol cocktail, bourbon cocktail, MIA cocktail

2 thoughts on “Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe

  1. There is no substitute for Amaro Nonino. That’s like saying you can sub a sweet potato for for a regular potato and not change the flavor of the end result.

  2. No, no, no, no. All of your swaps are dead wrong. Cynar is not even close to Nonino. Campari is much more bitter than Aperol. Grand Marnier is an orange cognac…those flavor profiles are all way off the mark and will not net the same result as using the actual recipe.

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