With its wonderful balance of sour, herbal, and bitter notes, it’s very easy to like the paper plane cocktail. Its herbal depth is kept bright and refreshing with the addition of fresh lime juice. The paper plane is one of my go-to cocktails to order.
I was just on a plane the other day, flying back home from a visit to Turks and Caicos. It was sooo hard to board and leave those white sand beaches behind. But I came back with so many wonderful new memories that my heart will stay warm, even when I’m not anymore. Making this paper plane cocktail has me wondering where the next airplane will bring me.
History of the cocktail
The Paper Plane was created in 2007, New York, by Sam Ross. This Australian bartender, known for his creation of The Penicillin cocktail, was a long time bartender at Milk & Honey. However, he created the Paper Plane for The Violet Hour bar in Chicago. He named the drink after the song of the same name by British rapper M.I.A.. It was a new take on the pre-Prohibition drink, The Last Word.
(To see an amazing cocktail from Milk & Honey, London, check out the East 8 Hold Up. It’s seriously delicious.)
How to make a Paper Plane Cocktail
Making this cocktail is super easy. Easy to remember too. It’s just 3/4 shot of each of the ingredients: bourbon whiskey, amaro (Nonino or Montenegro), Aperol, and fresh lime juice.
Simply measure each of the ingredients into your cocktail shaker. Then shake it with ice vigorously for about twenty seconds. Pour through a fine strainer into a chilled glass. The traditional glass used for the paper plane cocktail is a coupe glass – a stemmed glass, shallow and broad-bowled.
Originally the coupe glass was intended for champagne, but it’s perfect for serving a drink “up” or “straight up” (shaken or stirred with ice, then strained into a stemmed glass without ice).
The traditional garnish for this cocktail is a lemon twist, however, I chose to make dehydrated citrus wheels and tiny paper airplanes because, why not?
How to make dehydrated citrus wheels
You can use whatever kind of citrus you would like, but for these tiny cocktail garnishes I bought a bag of little key limes. Slice them very thinly. I used a Japanese mandolin to make doing this easy and the slices perfectly even. Place them on a parchment paper covered baking sheet.
With your oven set to its lowest heat setting, heat the tray for about five to eight hours. Check on them occasionally. They will be completely dry when finished. I flipped mine over near the end to help speed up the process.
Gently plop a couple into your cocktail for a pretty, floating garnish. Time to enjoy!Print
This cocktail is a modern variation of the pre-Prohibition drink, The Last Word. It has a wonderful balance of sour, herbal, and bitter notes.
3/4 oz bourbon whiskey
3/4 oz Aperol
3/4 oz amaro (Nonino or Montenegro)
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, vigorously for about 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled coupe glass with no ice.
Keywords: paper plane cocktail