Inspired by the paper plane, this bourbon Aperol cocktail combines rich bourbon, bright Aperol, fresh blood orange juice, and Amaro d’erbe for a refreshing, cozy cocktail. We have lovingly named this cocktail “The Crumpled Receipt”.

A side image of a red bourbon aperol cocktail in a coupe glass garnished with a slice off blood orange, placed on a marble coaster on a dark green table, and surrounded by an additional cocktail, alcohol bottles, and a crumpled receipt.
A side image of two red cocktails in coupe glasses on a wet dark green counter surrounded by alcohol bottles and a plate of sliced blood oranges.

It was about one year ago that Marc asked me to be his wife, I lost my absolute mind, said a lot of bad words, and then said “yes”. I’ve pretty much told the whole story, but the part I didn’t mention is the super weird experience we had that night that lead to the creation of this bourbon Aperol cocktail!

It all started at one of our favorite bars, where we went to celebrate with some old fashioneds. This is the first bar Marc and I went to together, and old fashioneds are one of the first cocktails we sipped on together, so it’s cute! But, as we were sipping and being obnoxiously into our love, I saw out of the corner of my eye, the man standing way too close to me crumple up his receipt, put it in his mouth, chew, and swallow.

At that point, I was 100% sure my peripherals were being wonky, so I looked over at Marc. And with one glance, I knew that my eyes had not deceived me. To this day, it’s a running joke between me, Marc, and now the entire internet.

This bourbon Aperol cocktail is inspired by the paper plane cocktail (cause, papery things?), our love of bourbon, and the weird guy at the bar. I’ll never understand what compelled him to eat a receipt that night but it makes for an ok story and a great cocktail!

A side image of a bottle of bourbon, Aperol, and a bottle of Amaro on a marble counter surrounded by sliced blood oranges and two coupe glasses with a dark green background.

A few ingredients you’ll need

This cocktail is pretty straightforward so you’ll just need a few things!

  • Bourbon – I like Frey Ranch which is local around here but any bourbon will work!
  • Aperol – A bright orange, bitter apéritif from Italy. You may recognize it from its famous spritz, but it’s great in other cocktails too!
  • Amaro d’Erbe – Amaro comes in various forms, but for this recipe, I used amaro d’erbe. Partially because it’s an orange-forward bitter liqueur (to complement the blood orange + Aperol) but also because the label was pretty!
  • Blood oranges – Blood oranges add a sweet, tart, citrus-y touch. If you’ve ever had blood oranges, you know why they’re so special!

Let’s make a cocktail!

Two images of a woman wearing black pouring alcohol into a copper shot glass, on a marble counter surrounded by bottles and sliced oranges. On the left, the woman is pouring from a bottle of Amaro, and on the left, she is pouring bourbon.

To start, add the bourbon, Aperol, and amaro d’erbe to a cocktail shaker. If you do not have a cocktail shaker, a jar with a tight-fitting lid works too!

Two images; on the left, a woman wearing black is squeezing half of a blood orange into a copper cocktail shaker on a marble table surrounded by two bottles of alcohol and a coupe glass. On the right, the woman's hand is pouring the cocktail into a coupe glass.

Next, add the blood orange juice and fill the cocktail shaker with ice. Shake quickly until the outside is cold and frosty, about 20 seconds. Pour into a coupe glass, and garnish with a slice of blood orange. Enjoy!

A side image of a bourbon Aperol cocktail on a green counter surrounded by bottles of liquor and a plate of sliced blood oranges.

Swaps & Subs

Some of these ingredients can be a little difficult to find if you’re not near a good liquor store. (Or, if it’s not blood orange season)! But don’t worry, you can definitely make the cocktail with a few basic swaps!

  • Bourbon – Bourbon is my favorite in this recipe (and life in general). But, if you don’t have any, try out rye whiskey instead!
  • Aperol – There’s not really a sub here, although you could always use Campari if you like an extra-bitter cocktail!
  • Amaro d’Erbe – If you want to go the paper plane route, you can always use Amaro Nonino in place! Montenegro or any other orange-forward bitter liqueur would be great too.
  • Blood oranges – If blood oranges are out of season, use navel oranges, Valencia oranges, or lemon juice.
A side image of two bourbon Aperol cocktails placed on marble coasters on a dark green table surrounded by a slice of blood orange, a bottle of bourbon, and a plate of sliced oranges.

Tips & Tricks

  • Shake well – We want to make sure this cocktail is nice and chilled! Just shake the cocktail quickly until the shaker is nice and frosty. This should take 20-30 seconds!
  • Use a coupe glass – I guess this isn’t totally necessary since this is a made-up cocktail, but I like the shape/size for The Crumpled Receipt.
  • A make-ahead version – If you want to prepare this cocktail in advance, just multiply the ingredients by however many servings you want, and stir everything together in a sealed container. When you’re ready to serve, just measure out 4 ounces of the bourbon Aperol cocktail, shake, and serve!
An extremely closeup picture of an almost-empty coupe glass with a red cocktail, focused on a slice of blood orange. The glass is on a marble coaster on a dark green table next to a crumpled piece of paper.

If you make this recipe, I would love it if you left a star rating and review! I read every single comment and love hearing what you think about my recipes. Thank you for supporting Sunday Table!

A closeup of a pink cocktail on a green table surrounded by ice, a bottle of bourbon, and another cocktail.
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Blood Orange Bourbon Aperol Cocktail a.k.a. The Crumpled Receipt

Yield: 1 cocktail
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Inspired by the paper plane, this bourbon Aperol cocktail combines rich bourbon, bright Aperol, fresh blood orange juice, and Amaro d'erbe for a refreshing, cozy cocktail.


  • 1 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz Aperol
  • 1 oz Amaro d'Erbe
  • 1 oz blood orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • Blood orange slices, for garnish


  • In a cocktail shaker, combine the bourbon, Aperol, Amaro d'Erbe, and blood orange juice.
  • Fill the shaker with ice, and shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is cold and frosty, about 20 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with blood orange slices. Enjoy!


Use navel orange, Valencia orange, or lemon juice if blood oranges are not in season.
Cuisine: American
Course: Drinks
Serving: 1cocktail, Calories: 159kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 0.2g, Fat: 0.1g, Sodium: 469mg, Potassium: 58mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 7.2g
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xo Sara Lynn

*Song of the day: One More Year by Tame Impala