Cocktail: Paper Plane

Our take on the modern classic, using Marche-made amaro


I love Amaro, the herby Italian liqueur that often gets dished up as a digestif when you’ve already promised yourself that you couldn’t eat or drink another mouthful. It’s made all over Italy and is astonishingly varied—sometimes medicinal, sometimes smoky, sometimes with hints of nut or fruit—so there’s a lot to explore.

One thing I’d never experienced though was an Amaro-based cocktail, so I put the question to Doug, a mixologist one of Edinburgh’s best cocktail bars, Lucky Liquor. The answer was swift: a Paper Plane.

This is a twist on the classic Last Word, created by Sam Ross at The Violet Hour, Chicago. In a Paper Plane, Campari is switched out for the less bitter Aperol, and the name apparently comes from the M.I.A song that was popular at the time. It’s slap in the middle of my personal cocktail comfort zone, bitter-sweet, with fresh lemon and subtle woody vanilla notes from the bourbon.

In our own take on the recipe, we’ve replaced Amaro Nonino Quintessentia with the Marche-made Amaro Sibilla. It’s somewhat punchier than Amaro Nonino, with somewhat astringent herbal notes and a slight smokiness. There’s plenty of complexity there, so even if it does dominate some of the more subtle flavours a little, we think it’s still a fun, Marche-inspired twist on a sophisticated cocktail.


22.5ml Bourbon whiskey

22.5ml Amaro Sibilla

22.5ml Aperol Aperitivo

22.5ml Lemon juice (freshly squeezed

Method: Shake all of the ingredients with ice and fine strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon zest, or a wee paper plane.

Share this article