The Story Behind The Paper Plane

The Paper Plane is a modern cocktail that has soared in popularity (there’s even a California bar named after it) since being created in 2008 by one of NYC’s masters of mixology, Sam Ross. Inspired by the M.I.A. track “Paper Planes,” which Ross was listening to when he thought up the recipe, the drink was originally introduced at the Violet Hour in Chicago and is composed of Campari, bourbon, Amaro Nonino, and lemon juice.

Ross later decided to sub in Aperol for the Campari to balance the bitter and sweet notes — a combination that pairs exceptionally well with the amaro’s exquisite, candied fruit and complex herbal essence. As a result of its sophisticated flavor profile, the Paper Plane can now be found on the menus of high-end bars and in the hands of cocktail connoisseurs around the world.


  • ¾ ounce bourbon
  • ¾ ounce Aperol
  • ¾ ounce Amaro Nonino
  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Add ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake until cold.
  2. Strain into a coupe glass.

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(109 votes)

Yield: 1
Calories: 214
Updated: 2024-05-30

The Paper Plane Recipe