Sam Ross' Paper Plane

First up in our series on modern classics is Sam Ross' Last Word twist: Paper Plane. 

Put on MIA’s Paper Planes and turn up the volume – the mid-2000s hit not only gave this contemporary classic its name, but perfectly evokes the time, not too long ago, when it was created.

The year was 2008, and bartender Toby Maloney called on a former colleague at New York’s Milk & Honey, Sam Ross, to come up with a cocktail for The Violet Hour in Chicago. The result, much like Ross’s Penicillin cocktail before it, has endured.

The Paper Plane is a twist on the Last Word, the cocktail that perpetually defies its name by spawning successful modernday classics. Ross primarily took inspiration from that drink’s equal parts structure, replacing all four of its ingredients, namely gin, Green Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and lime juice.

Bourbon took on the role of base spirit, joined by amaro, in this case Nonino Quintessentia, and with lemon juice in favour of lime.

The drink originally called for Campari – a variation that’s worth experimenting with – but Aperol won out in the end. Both eye-catching and easy to replicate, the Paper Plane has traversed the globe in its relatively short time, making its way on to cocktail lists everywhere.