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This Paper Airplane Cocktail has so much flavor going on in one little glass! Sweet, bitter, and a punch of bourbon to make your mouth water and your taste buds tingle. Try our Paper Airplane Cocktail today.

Paper Plane Cocktail with a long lemon twist and lemons in the background.

We have been enjoying the Penicillin recipe lately, but today we are going to dive into another related cocktail creation called the Paper Airplane Cocktail. This drink was created by Sam Ross, who also created the Penicillin. It has some similar flavors, but this one is definitely interesting and flavorful.

Liquor Choices – Campari and Aperol

Campari is an Italian bitter that is most well known as an ingredient in the Negroni. A slightly sweeter, more approachable, cousin to Campari is Aperol. These two liquors combine together with the rest of the ingredients to provide a good chunk of the bold flavors in this cocktail.

I found that many drinkers, and perhaps the cocktail origin itself, call for Amaro Nino instead of either Aperol or Campari. To be clear, all of the liquors here are members of the Amari family. We are picking and choosing which flavors of the same kind of liquor go into this cocktail. Granted, the flavor profiles can change quite widely as compared to say a bourbon, but I choose the brands Campari and Aperol for a great reason. My local liquor store didn’t have Amaro Nino. lol.

Liquor Choices – Bourbon

Use what you have and what you like. Buffalo Trace is an excellent bourbon, so that would be a great option. This is the most alcohol intense component of this cocktail, but the flavor somewhat takes a back seat to the strong lemon and bitter tastes. I think any reasonable bourbon is going to be a good choice for this cocktail.

Paper Plane Cocktail on a picnic table with three lemons.

Packed with flavor and such a bright, shiny cocktail. This Paper Airplane cocktail is delicious and fun. If you like this drink, please check out our Instagram and make sure to subscribe to get updates via email.

Products I Used in This Recipe

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Paper Plane Cocktail with a long lemon twist and lemons in the background

Paper Airplane Cocktail

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  • Author: Ben Myhre
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail 1x
  • Category: Cocktail
  • Method: Shaker
  • Cuisine: American
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A lot of flavor in this little coupe glass. The Paper Airplane Cocktail is a great little drink that brings Italian bitters and American bourbon together to pack a flavorful punch.


  • ¾ Ounce Bourbon
  • ¾ Ounce Aperol
  • ¾ Ounce Campari
  • ¾ Ounce Fresh Lemon Juice


  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice in it
  2. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds
  3. Strain into coupe glass
  4. Serve

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  1. I do love me a good cocktail, expecially one with a story and a fun garnish! I’d have a hard time convincing my kids this cocktail wasn’t for them! Ha. Looks amazing, sounds amazing. Come over, anytime!

  2. Our best friends both love Campari and Aperol so this is the perfect cocktail to serve them the next time they fly down for a visit. Now I’ll have to practice on my airplane building.