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Culinary Arts

How to Make a Paper Plane Cocktail

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Sep 16, 2020 • 1 min read

The Paper Plane is a modern bourbon cocktail with a flawless balance of bittersweet flavors.



Lynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana Teach MixologyLynnette Marrero & Ryan Chetiyawardana Teach Mixology

World-class bartenders Lynnette and Ryan (aka Mr Lyan) teach you how to make perfect cocktails at home for any mood or occasion.

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What Is a Paper Plane Cocktail?

The Paper Plane cocktail contains equal parts bourbon, lemon juice, the bitter orange aperitif Aperol, and the digestif Amaro Nonino Quintessentia. This bourbon cocktail tastes like a more complex whiskey sour, with its sweeter ingredients wonderfully complementing the sourness of the lemon juice.

What Are the Origins of the Paper Plane Cocktail?

Award-winning bartender Sam Ross created the Paper Plane cocktail in 2007 at the Violet Hour bar in Chicago. Ross—already well-known for inventing another popular modern cocktail, the Penicillin—conceived of the drink as a contemporary riff on the prohibition-era gin cocktail the Last Word. For the drink’s Italian liqueur component, Ross originally used Campari but soon switched to Aperol once he brought the cocktail to New York’s Milk & Honey bar (now called Attaboy). Ross named the cocktail after the hit M.I.A. earworm “Paper Planes,” which he listened to on repeat during the summer he developed the drink.

Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe

2 cocktails
Prep Time
3 min
Total Time
3 min


  • 1½ ounces bourbon
  • 1½ ounces Aperol
  • 1½ ounces Amaro Nonino Quintessentia
  • 1½ ounces fresh lemon juice
  1. Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and fill the shaker two-thirds full with ice.
  2. Shake for approximately 20 seconds.
  3. Using a cocktail strainer, pour the mixture into two chilled coupe glasses or cocktail glasses.

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