3⁄4 oz Amaro Nonino
3⁄4 oz Campari
3⁄4 oz Lemon juice

Shake, strain, straight up, cocktail glass


Widely misprinted to use Ramazzotti (including here, previously) -- a delicious variation.


Original Paper Plane has Aperol and Elijah Craig. Unclear whether Toby or Sammy created this variation, and whether the name change was intentional.

Cocktail summary
Posted by Dan on 6/06/2010
Created by
Adapted by Toby Maloney, Violet Hour, Chicago, IL from Paper Plane by Sammy Ross, Milk & Honey, NYC
Is an
authentic recipe
Not yet rated
4 stars
(60 ratings)
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From other users
  • see also: Paper Plane
  • Pretty strong but pretty tasty. More different than a Paper Plane than I'd expect
  • Superb and well-balanced.
  • Good stuff. Fruity (esp. grapefruity) but not at all too bright; does amazing twists on the swallow. — ★★★★
  • Even better with rye or Elijah Craig 12. Campari for sure.
  • Delicious, well balanced, good sour notes. Used Jim Beam. Really good with Knob Creek. Jeff loved. Tried it both ways and prefer it with Ramazzotti. With Nonino, its all about the Campari and Lemon. With Ramazzotti, its more — ★★★★★
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Dan commented on 10/07/2011:

Made a variation of this with rye, Gran Classico, and Amaro CioCiaro. Excellent. Used it for Mixoloseum's Thursday Drink Night and called it a Balsa Airplane.

kd1191 commented on 10/28/2011:

The Paper Airplane uses Amaro Nonino, not Ramazzotti. Toby specifies <a href="http://egullet.org/p1581127">here</a&gt;. The key differences between the Paper Plane and Paper Airplane are a switch from Elijah Craig to Buffalo Trace and Aperol to Campari. The Nonino stays the same. Personally, I prefer Campari and Elijah Craig (which would be a hybrid of the two recipes). Tonight I made a version with George T. Stagg (calling it the Lead Balloon), which is rather nice in its own right.

ETA: Both drinks are also served up.

Dan commented on 10/29/2011:

Yikes! Thanks for pointing this out. I've written Toby for verification since I've seen it on the web otherwise. Sometimes cocktails evolve over time. I'll have to make one with both amari to compare. Sounds like fun.

Dan commented on 11/07/2011:

A bit of an update. I asked Toby and he confirmed the recipes (although not the bourbon choices), but said that he thought that Sammy originally created it with Campari and then changed it himself to Aperol. It's also not clear when the name changed to AIRplane, and whether it was intentional. Still researching... I have changed the amaro, corrected the instructions, and specified the bourbon.

kd1191 commented on 11/08/2011:

I think Toby's probably right. He made me the drink before Sammy did, which I think muddied the causality waters in my mind. I somehow managed to internalize Sammy making it differently than Toby had as 'Toby must have tweaked Sammy's recipe' rather than thinking that Sammy would have evolved his own.

What I know from personally being served the drink by both men is that Toby's at The Violet Hour in the summer of '08 was called a Paper Airplane and included Buffalo Trace and Campari, and that when I ordered a "Paper Plane" from Sammy at M&H a couple years later, he made it with Elijah Craig and Aperol. We discussed the fact that he'd come up with it for the Violet Hour menu and even the Aperol/Campari variation, but my memory is very hazy of the timeline of the change(s) (if we discussed it at all)...based on the half-remembered conversation and Toby's claim, I'd be pretty confident saying the Campari version/Paper Airplane was Sammy's original recipe, but then he adjusted it to Aperol and changed the name slightly to reflect that. The switch in bourbons, and whether they're considered integral to one incarnation of the drink or the other, isn't something I feel I can comment on with any authority, beyond my personal experience above and stating that I prefer the drink with Elijah Craig.

The Balsa Airplane variation is still one of my favorite cocktails- though I tend to use grapefruit juice in place of some of the lemon juice when I have it around. Reminds me of the Peralta, which I also really like.

One of my handful of five-star cocktails. I like to add a tbsp egg white and dry shake first. I like the lightness.