Today's Cocktail Is a Origami-inspired libation, a perfectly balanced flight of flavors taking off.

6 days ago

The Paper Plane is a modern classic cocktail that has captured the hearts of bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts alike. Its origin story is a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of the bartending community, and its well-balanced flavors have solidified its place in the canon of great cocktails.

The Paper Plane was created by Sam Ross, a renowned bartender who has worked at some of the most prestigious bars in New York City and beyond. In 2007, while working at Milk & Honey, a pioneering cocktail bar in the Lower East Side, Ross was tasked with creating a new drink for the menu. He drew inspiration from a classic cocktail called the Last Word, which features equal parts gin, green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and lime juice.

Ross decided to riff on the Last Word formula by using bourbon instead of gin and substituting Aperol, an Italian aperitif, for the maraschino liqueur. He kept the equal parts ratio and added fresh lemon juice to balance the sweetness of the Aperol and the richness of the bourbon. The result was a cocktail with a beautiful amber hue and a complex flavor profile that perfectly balanced the bitterness of the Aperol, the sweetness of the bourbon, and the tartness of the lemon juice.

The name "Paper Plane" was inspired by a song of the same name by M.I.A., which was popular at the time. The song's lyrics, "I fly like paper, get high like planes," perfectly captured the cocktail's soaring flavors and its ability to transport the drinker to a higher plane of enjoyment.

Paper Plane



The Paper Plane quickly gained popularity among bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts, thanks in part to its inclusion in Ross's influential cocktail book, "The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique." The book, published in 2014, helped cement the Paper Plane's status as a modern classic and introduced it to a wider audience.

As the Paper Plane's fame grew, so did its variations. Some bartenders experimented with different types of bourbon or substituted other amari for the Amaro Nonino. Others played with the proportions of the ingredients, adjusting the balance of sweet, bitter, and sour to suit their tastes.

One notable variation is the Paper Airplane, which features the addition of a float of Angostura bitters on top of the cocktail. This variation adds an extra layer of complexity and aromatics to the drink, making it a favorite among bitters enthusiasts.

Despite its relatively short history, the Paper Plane has already left an indelible mark on the world of cocktails. Its popularity has helped to elevate the status of Aperol and Amaro Nonino, two Italian aperitifs that were previously less well-known in the United States. It has also inspired a new generation of bartenders to experiment with equal-parts cocktails and to push the boundaries of what is possible with just a few simple ingredients.

As you sip your Paper Plane, take a moment to appreciate the skill and creativity that went into its creation. From Sam Ross's inspired riff on the Last Word to the countless variations and adaptations that have followed, the Paper Plane is a testament to the enduring power of a well-crafted cocktail.

As you raise your glass and take a sip, let the Paper Plane's amber hue and complex flavors wash over you. Let it transport you to a place of pure enjoyment and relaxation, where the cares of the world fade away and all that matters is the pleasure of a perfectly crafted drink. Cheers to the Paper Plane, a modern classic that is sure to soar for generations to come!

As always I am open to hear your take and your input. You can reach me at [email protected]

Brian Certain

Published 6 days ago