Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe

The paper plane is a citrusy cocktail most similar to the characteristics of a more bitter whiskey sour or sidecar. It’s smooth, warm, and refreshing.

Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe

Raise your hand if this is you: I’ve been chugging Aperol Spritzes all summer and now I need a new cocktail to use Aperol in because I’m sick of spritzing all day err-day. Well there’s help for you.

The Paper Plane is a bourbon cocktail made with bourbon, amaro (bittersweet Italian Liqueur), Aperol (yes, that Aperol), and fresh lemon juice. It’s a citrusy cocktail most similar to the characteristics of a more bitter whiskey sour or sidecar—getting the citrus from the lemon and Aperol, along with a little sweetness from both the amaro and Aperol.

The Paper Plane is a modern day cocktail that I think will eventually join the hundreds of classics in cocktail history (if it hasn’t already). It was created by New York bartender, Sam Ross, of Attaboy speakeasy in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Sam created the cocktail for a Chicago bar named The Violet Hour.

How to Make a Paper Plane Cocktail

Combine equal parts bourbon, amaro, Aperol, and fresh lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with a few handfuls of ice. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds and strain into a chilled coupe glass.

What is Amaro Liqueur?

Amaro is a bitter Italian liqueur that is typically sipped neat as an after dinner digestif. It’s dark and syrupy in color and consistency and has herbal, citrusy, sweet, and bitter characteristics. Amaro actually means “bitter” in Italian. Amaro Nonino was the original Amaro liqueur intended for the Paper Plane, however I’ve also used Averna and Montenegro as substitutes if you can’t find it (both Amaro).

I love the Paper Plane cocktail. I love the name, the refreshing taste, the obscure stack of ingredients, and most of all, its unique deep orange hue.

Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe
Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe

Paper Plane Cocktail

  • Author: Shawn Williams
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 1 1x



  • 3/4 ounces bourbon
  • 3/4 ounces Aperol
  • 3/4 ounces amaro (pref.  Nonino)*
  • 3/4 ounces lemon juice


  1. Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a cup of ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled coupe glass.


I’ve also used Amaro Averna and Amaro Montenegro as substitutes.

Keywords: paper plane cocktail