Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe

Get ready to treat yourself with this amazing paper plane cocktail recipe. Bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, and a lil’ splash of lemon juice, all mixed it up for a seriously delish sip. Bottoms up!

Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe featured

Have you discovered the paper plane cocktail yet? If you haven’t, it’s about to change your cocktail game. Created by the genius Sam Ross back in ’08, this zesty, slightly bitter baby has been soaring high in the cocktail world. Bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, and a hint of zesty lemon juice make this a delicious drink that gives off whiskey sour-meets-negroni vibes. A straight-up distinctive cocktail for anyone who loves to savor that sweet ‘n bitter combo in their drinks.

Whether you’re entertaining, having an at-home date night, or feel like mixing up a tasty after dinner espresso martini for one, the paper plane cocktail is a winning recipe. Plus, it’s absolutely gorgeous, so your friends will be asking for the recipe when you show off your mixology skills to make them jealous.

The Paper Plane is similar to the Aviation and The Last Word in terms of complexity but it offers a unique balance of sweetness and bitterness that sets it apart, making it a tantalizing choice for cocktail connoisseurs.

Why You’ll Love This Cocktail Recipe

  • The blend of bourbon with Italian aperitifs make this a sophisticated and bold drink.
  • Perfect for entertaining, or simply practicing your cocktail mixing.
  • The color of this drink is stunning.
Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe ingredients
Servings 1
5 minutes


  • blender
  • measuring tool or jigger
  • chilled glass


  • 3/4 oz bourbon
  • 3/4 oz Aperol
  • 3/4 oz Amaro Nonino
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • lemon twist for garnish
  • ice cubes


  • Combine the bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, and fresh lemon juice in a cocktail shaker.
  • Shake the mixture vigorously with ice cubes for about 10-15 seconds to ensure thorough chilling and blending.
  • Strain the cocktail into a chilled coupe or martini glass and garnish with a lemon twist by twisting the peel over the drink, then dropping it into the glass.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 81kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 3mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g

Tips and Tricks

Beginners and pros alike can benefit from a few handy tips for making the best paper plane cocktail.

  • Go for the good stuff: Trust me, premium bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, and fresh lemon juice make ALL the difference. Yes, they can be a little more expensive but you’ll get your money’s worth.
  • Chill out: Put your coupe or martini glass in the fridge or freezer before you start making your cocktail. It will ensure your drink stays cold for longer and your drink will taste fresher.
  • Use a strainer: After shaking up your ingredients with ice, use a fine-strainer to ditch tiny ice chips or lemon bits. You’ll be left with a silky-smooth drink!
  • Get fancy with the lemon twist: Cut a lemon peel slice (no bitter white stuff!), give it a gentle squeeze over your glass to release the oils, and run it around the rim before popping it in your drink. It really looks great and gives the impression of a professionally made cocktail.


The classic paper plane cocktail is amazing, but why not get a little adventurous and try some fun twists on the original recipe?

  • Mezcal Paper Plane: Swap the bourbon for mezcal and get ready for a whole new level of flavor!
  • Herbal Paper Plane: Add a splash of green Chartreuse or Benedictine liqueur for a cool, earthy spin.
  • Fruity Paper Plane: Muddle up some raspberries or blackberries with the other ingredients, strain, and say hello to a fabulous, fruity twist.
  • Spiced Paper Plane: Get all warm and fuzzy with a hint of cinnamon, nutmeg, or clove in your Paper Plane. I love having it around christmas.
Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe featured


Are there any suitable substitutions for the ingredients in the Paper Plane Cocktail?

Need to switch it up? Try another amaro instead of Amaro Nonino or maybe even Campari as an Aperol stand-in. Swaps might change the flavor a little bit, so play around with your substitutions to find your ideal balance!

Is the paper plane cocktail suitable for beginners?

No worries if you’re new to the mixology scene – the paper plane is seriously the best for beginners! Just focus on nailing those measurements and have a blast discovering your ultimate mix.

What can I use if I don’t have a cocktail shaker?

A shaker is great because of its tight seal, and I highly suggest you invest in one. However, if you don’t have one to hand, you can also use a travel coffee mug, protein shaker, blender jug, or a mason jar to mix your cocktail. Just be sure the lid is screwed on tight!

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How to Store a Paper Plane Cocktail

If you’re planning on making this cocktail ahead of time, you can pre-measure your ingredients (omitting the lemon juice until right before you serve) and mix them together. Just avoid shaking them with ice until you’re ready to serve as it will make the cocktail watery.

If you have any leftover paper plane cocktail, you can keep it in the fridge for one day. Simply give your leftover drink a shake before you drink it. I really think the Paper Plane is best freshly made, so I recommend to drink it in one sitting if possible.

Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe featured

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