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8 Best Bourbons For Paper Plane Cocktail (2024 Updated)

Best Bourbons For Paper Plane Cocktail

Last Updated on March 13, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Created by the legendary bartender Sam Ross, Paper Plane is a straightforward cocktail with refreshingly sweet and sour flavors. It also has the easiest ratios to remember – just four equal portions of lemon juice, Amaro, Aperol, and Bourbon.

If you’re looking for the best bourbon for Paper Plane, we’re here to help you out!

8 Must-Try Best Bourbon for Paper Plane Cocktail

1. Knob Creek 100 Proof

Knob Creek 100 Proof, Best Bourbon for Paper Plane

Knob Creek has a powerful nose of oak and char with a hint of mint. There’s more oak upfront on the palate, followed by vanilla and caramel with a long, warming finish, making it a great bourbon for the Paper Plane cocktail.

2. Old Grandad Bottle-In-Bond

Old Grandad Bottle-In-Bond

For bourbon lovers, Old Grandad is a brand that needs no introduction. But for those who are new to the world of whiskey, Old Grandad Bottle-In-Bond is a great place to start. This 100-proof Bourbon is made traditionally, using only the finest grains and aged for a minimum of four years in new, charred oak barrels. 

The result is a smooth, rich whiskey with vanilla, caramel, and oak notes. And because it’s bottled-in-bond, you can be sure that it meets the highest standards of quality and authenticity. 

3. Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Buffalo Trace Bourbon Whiskey

Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a premium whiskey produced in Kentucky since 1787. The whiskey contains a blend of corn, rye, and barley and is aged for at least eight years in oak barrels.

Buffalo Trace has a deep amber color and a rich, complex flavor that includes notes of vanilla, oak, and spice. The whiskey is best enjoyed neat or on the rocks, but it can also be used in cocktails, including Paper Plane.

4. Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon

Elijah Craig is a small-batch bourbon bottled at a higher proof than most other bourbons on the market. The increased alcohol content gives the bourbon a bolder flavor and a more intense aroma. Elijah Craig is not too hot or astringent, unlike many other high-proof bourbons. 

Instead, it has a well-balanced flavor with notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak. The finish is long and smooth, making it a great choice for sipping neat or on the rocks. We think it works well with the popular Paper Plane cocktail.

5. Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

When it comes to bourbon, there are only quite a few brands that can match the heritage of Four Roses. The brand was founded in 1888 by Paul Jones Jr., and it has been producing high-quality whiskey ever since. One of the brand’s flagship products is Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon. This bourbon uses a blend of four different recipes, each of which has its own unique flavor profile. 

The resulting spirit is well-rounded and incredibly smooth, with notes of vanilla, caramel, and oak. It’s no wonder that Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon has won multiple awards over the years. 

6. Evan Williams White Label

Evan Williams White Label

Evan Williams White Label was first introduced in 2012. The “white label” refers to the unaged version of the whiskey. It is aged for at least four years in a bonded warehouse. Even though it’s a young whiskey, Evan Williams White Label has a surprisingly deep and complex flavor profile. The main flavors are corn and caramel, with hints of oak and spice. 

The finish is smooth and slightly sweet, perfect for a Paper Plane drink. Evan Williams White Label is a great choice for anyone who wants to enjoy a delicious bourbon without spending a lot of money.

7. Bulleit Bourbon

Bulleit Bourbon

Bulleit Bourbon is a great option, whether you like your bourbon neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail. This Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is made with rye, giving it a unique flavor profile that is both spicy and fruity. 

The same family has produced Bulleit for over 150 years, and they continue to use traditional methods to produce a quality product. The bourbon is aged 10 years in oak barrels, resulting in a smooth and flavorful spirit. 

8. Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon is a staple of American whiskey. It’s made using a traditional recipe of corn, rye, and barley, and it undergoes a long aging process in charred oak barrels. As a result, Wild Turkey 101 has a deep amber color and a rich, full-bodied flavor. 

The nose is packed with vanilla, caramel, and oak aromas, while the palate features notes of honey, spice, and chocolate. Wild Turkey 101 is perfect for sipping neat or on the rocks, and it also makes a great addition to cocktails like the Paper Plane. So whether you’re a bourbon fan or a casual whiskey drinker, Wild Turkey 101 is sure to please.

What’s A Paper Plane Cocktail?

A Paper Plane is a cocktail made with bourbon, Aperol, lemon juice, and Amaro Nonino. Sam Ross of Attaboy created the drink in New York City.

This popular drink is named after M.I.A.’s song “Paper Planes” since it was the song playing in the background when Sam Ross came up with this mix. While the drink is simple to make, we think it’s important to only use high-quality ingredients.

Read: Is Rye Whiskey or Bourbon Better For Old-Fashioned?

The Best Bourbon Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe 

The Best Bourbon Paper Plane Cocktail Recipe 

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 2 minutes


  • 3/4 ounce bourbon
  • 3/4 ounce Aperol
  • 3/4 ounce Amaro Nonino
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice


Pour the bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, and fresh lemon juice [1] into a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 15 minutes. Strain and pour into a coupe glass. Serve and enjoy!

Serving: 1

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you use other spirits in paper planes aside from bourbon? 

Yes, you can use other spirits in paper planes aside from bourbon. Some people prefer to use vodka because it has a higher alcohol content and is more likely to make the plane fly “further.” 

What does a Paper Plane taste like?

The taste of a paper plane is fruity and sweet with a slightly sour edge. It’s refreshing and easy to drink, making it a popular choice for party cocktails.

What is the best bourbon for a paper airplane?

When crafting a Paper Plane cocktail, the choice of bourbon significantly influences the drink’s flavor profile; options like Buffalo Trace Bourbon or Wild Turkey 101 are favored for their balanced and robust contributions to this cocktail, marrying well with the Aperol, Amaro Nonino, and fresh lemon juice for a harmonious taste.

What is the best bourbon for neat?

Selecting a bourbon for sipping neat involves seeking a harmonious balance of smoothness and complexity; bourbons like Blanton’s Single Barrel or Woodford Reserve are often lauded for their ability to provide a rich and well-rounded flavor profile, enhancing the experience of sipping the spirit unadulterated.

Is Paper Plane cocktail strong?

Yes, the Paper Plane cocktail possesses strength owing to its equal parts composition of bourbon, Aperol, Amaro Nonino, and lemon juice; the combination of the robust bourbon and the bitter liqueurs creates a bold and flavorful concoction, making it a potent choice for those who enjoy a strong cocktail experience.

What type of paper is best for paper airplanes?

When it comes to crafting paper airplanes, the choice of paper is crucial for optimal aerodynamics and flight performance; lightweight and rectangular sheets of standard printer paper or origami paper, typically 8.5 x 11 inches, are recommended choices, ensuring a balance between sturdiness and weightlessness for an enjoyable flying experience.

What bourbon is 130 proof?

Bourbons with a 130-proof level are considered high in alcohol content, and one notable example is Stagg Jr. Bourbon; renowned for its robust flavor profile, this bourbon often boasts proofs exceeding 130, making it a choice for those who appreciate the intensity and complexity that higher proofs can bring to the drinking experience.

It’s advisable to check the specific bottle label for accurate proof information, as different releases may vary in alcohol content.

How many whiskeys for flight?

The number of whiskies offered in a flight can vary, but a standard flight typically includes three to five different whiskies, allowing enthusiasts to sample and compare a range of flavors, styles, and expressions in a single sitting.

Which is the smoothest bourbon?

Determining the smoothest bourbon is subjective and depends on individual preferences, but bourbons like Blanton’s Single Barrel, known for their rich and well-rounded profiles, are often praised for their smoothness, making them popular choices among bourbon enthusiasts.

Is Jack Daniel’s a bourbon?

No, Jack Daniel’s is not classified as a bourbon; it is a Tennessee whiskey, which undergoes an additional filtration process known as the Lincoln County Process, involving charcoal filtering before aging, distinguishing it from traditional bourbons.

What is the sweetest and smoothest bourbon?

Identifying the sweetest and smoothest bourbon involves considering personal taste preferences, but bourbons such as Maker’s Mark, with its signature sweetness and smooth finish, or Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve, highly sought-after for its luxurious qualities, are often recognized for their delightful combination of sweetness and smoothness.

What amaro is best for Paper Plane?

Choosing the best amaro for a Paper Plane cocktail involves seeking a balanced and complementary flavor; Amaro Nonino is traditionally used in the Paper Plane, contributing a unique blend of bitterness and citrus notes that harmonize with bourbon, Aperol, and fresh lemon juice, creating a well-rounded and flavorful cocktail experience.

Final Thoughts

We tested the above different bourbons and found the best one for this fun drink. If you’re looking for a bourbon to make your next paper plane cocktail extra delicious, we recommend using a slightly higher-proof bourbon like Knob Creek.

We like how its caramel taste dominates the palate along with the fruit and rich wood notes, just the right flavor for making your own version of Paper Plane. It’s a simple drink that’s easy to make and perfect for sipping on a warm day.


  1. Lemon Juice Health Benefits
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