Paper Plane A Newer Cocktail Worthy Of Bartenders’ Canon
One of the youngest classic cocktails is the Paper Plane.
It not only is simple but also taps into contemporary cocktail trends. Like the classic cocktail the Last Word, it is comprised of equal parts of four ingredients, so there is not much to memorize. Like an evolved Manhattan, the Paper Plane includes bourbon, amaro, Aperol and lemon juice.
The cocktail was created by Sam Ross, a baby-faced hipster who bartended at New York’s Milk & Honey at the crest of the cocktail revolution and now operates the space as Attaboy alongside a newer New York City bar, Diamond Reef. He’s one of the few living bartenders whose creations have made it into the bartender’s canon. He also created the excellent whiskey drink Penicillin and the Gordon’s Breakfast, a savory gin cocktail that sounds gross on paper (I have yet to try it).
The Paper Plane embraces hot trends in cocktails, such as whiskey and the contrasting intensities of bitter and sweet.
For the bourbon, I use Basil Hayden’s , perhaps the lightest of all bourbons. Made by whiskey titan Buffalo Trace, Basil shows honey and floral notes and subtlety that makes it a great supporting player for some cocktails. It is an excellent sipping bourbon for anyone but especially for those starting to get into American whiskeys.
Aperol originated as an aperitif. The bittersweet cocktail addition is used as a lower-alcohol, less-intense version of Campari. Many enjoy it on ice or as an Aperol spritz.
Amaro means “bitter,” and amaros (or amari) are indeed bitter, that quality derived from macerating herbs and other botanicals. I tried the entry-level amaro, Ramazzotti , which tastes syrupy and is dominated by licorice character.
Shake those ingredients, in equal parts, on ice, pour the mixture into the glass of your choice with a lemon rind garnish and enjoy this new classic. The ingredients combine to create a deeply flavored drink that starts out bitter then moderates, showing character of iced tea and cherry. The lemon juices keeps it crisp.
I tried the Paper Plane with Bulleit Bourbon , which stood up better to the intensity of the amaro and Aperol for a more balanced cocktail, even with the stronger alcohol in Bulleit.
Feel free to try this with your favorite whiskey or brown spirit. Great cocktails like the Paper Plane have a versatility and adapt to shifting ingredients.
DAVID FALCHEK, executive director of the American Wine Society, reviews wines each week.