This beauty is called a Paper Plain. Chances are, you’ve never heard of this cocktail before. This is a pandemic favorite of my husband. And It is not lost on me that this drink has “plane” in the title, something we haven’t been able to step foot on in some time. Life can be ironic sometimes.
The Paper Plane Invention
This lovely drink is actually a newbie to the cocktail scene. Invented in 2008 by Sam Ross, an award-winning bartender and the co-owner of Attaboy and Diamond Reef in New York City. This bourbon beauty is a modern variation on the Last Word, which is another favorite in our house. The Last Word is composed of equal parts gin, lime, maraschino liqueur, and green Chartreuse.
The Paper Plain is not similar in taste to The Last Word, but in formula. This cocktail consists of equal parts bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Aperol, and lemon juice. Another similarity and appealing aspect about both The Last Word and The Paper Plane is they both have the perfect balance between bitter, sour, and herbal notes.
Ross, in awe of the Last Words’ success, created this cocktail for the opening menu of The Violet Hour, in Chicago. The cocktail was so well received, he brought it with him when he went back to New York and served it at, (the now-closed) Milk & Honey. And the rest they say, is history.
Bourbon and lemon juice are common ingredients in most home bars. Aperol, the backbone of the ever-popular Aperol Spritz, is easy to come by. Amaro Nonino is a unique bittersweet ingredient that adds a truly special element to the cocktail. This liqueur is made from a base of grappa and includes notes of botanicals, alpine herbs, and orange peel.
With its three equal parts, the Paper Plane is not difficult to make. But its creator emphasizes not to over-mix it. The key with this cocktail is you want it cold, but not watery. While bourbon is very present in this modern cocktail, it is not by any means overwhelming, making the Paper Plane a great gateway drink for drinkers who are new to whiskey.