The Morning Paper: A Happy Medium For My Palate
by Joey Robles-Zepeda, Beverage Manager, Long Road Distillers

The Morning Paper finds its roots in the Paper Plane cocktail, which was created by Sam Ross as a unique cocktail for the opening of The Violet Hour in 2008. The name for the Paper Plane was inspired by a song by M.I.A, which was popular in the summer of 2008.

My inspiration for the Morning Paper came from my daily commute to work via bus where I started to notice a pile of newspapers accumulating in front of the same house along the route. Each day I wondered if the “morning paper” would finally be brought in, and each day I was pleasantly surprised to see the pile growing.

As an avid drinker of both the Whiskey Sour and the Last Word cocktails, the modern classic Paper Plane finds a happy medium between bitter, boozy, and sour all in one, making it one of my preferred summer cocktails to beat the heat. 

A classic Paper Plane consists of bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Aperol, and lemon juice. With the Morning Paper, by replacing the Amaro Nonino with Amaro Pazzo, I was able to introduce an element of bittersweet coffee notes while retaining the richness of the classic drink. The substitution of our Orange Liqueur for Aperol was necessary to retain the citrus pop of the original cocktail, while fortifying the booziness of the cocktail without overpowering the overall flavor.

The combination of Amaro Pazzo and Orange Liqueur provides a balance of citrus, sweetness, and bitterness in the drink itself. Bourbon provides a rich bite throughout every sip of the drink.

The Morning Paper is garnished with a trimmed orange peel, squeezed over the drink and the rim of the glass to impart an aromatic note of citrus for the drink. It also provides a summer color accompaniment to the bright yellow hue of the drink itself.

While there is no particular “best way” to enjoy the Morning Paper, if you’re enjoying it at the Distillery, it pairs particularly well with our Shrimp and Grits or our Fish and Chips, adding a nice citrus and bitter pop with every bite. The drink also pairs nicely with a hearty meal, making it especially popular on our Thursday Burger Night where people can pair this sour + boozy treat with one of our specialty burgers.

To me, this drink tastes best when it can be enjoyed out on a sunny deck with a cool breeze–just be careful on how quickly this one can sneak up on you!

Morning Paper Recipe

  • 1 oz Long Road Straight Bourbon
  • 0.5 oz Long Road Orange Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Long Road Amaro Pazzo
  • 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz simple syrup

Combine all ingredients into a tin shaker and shake with ice for 12-15 seconds. Strain with a Hawthorne strainer over a large ice cube and garnish with a trimmed orange peel.


The Aquavit Gimlet: My Deserted Island Cocktail
by Jenney Grant, Director of Operations and Education, Long Road Distillers

When leading tours or teaching a class, folks love to ask me about my favorite spirit that we make or my favorite cocktail. My answer is usually: “This is like asking me which of my three children is my favorite; I like all our spirits, different days call for different flavors.”

Although this is not an outright lie – I do have a taste for different Long Road spirits at different times – unlike forcing me to choose between my kids, if I could only take one drink to a deserted island there is always a spirit and cocktail that jump into my mind: the Aquavit Gimlet.

When I was trying to convince Jon and Kyle that they should hire me at Long Road, I remember Jon showing me around the distillery and sharing a sample of Aquavit with me. I had worked in the craft distilling and brewing industry for 5 or 6 years and was always inspired by the growth, product development and quality this young Michigan industry was putting out. Then I tasted Aquavit, with a slight sweetness of red winter wheat, savory spice of dill, caraway, fennel and anise and the bold confidence of a 90 proof spirit. It was beautiful, different than anything I’d tasted from a Midwest distillery. And so, so well done.

It solidified my mission to work at Long Road Distillers. Not only are we a company that chooses to make 100% of our spirits from start to finish with a commitment to using Michigan-grown agriculture, but Aquavit showed me we would also take risks, not settle for doing things half-cooked, and be inspired by the world around us to make world class spirits in Michigan. 

So after leaving my director level job and taking a part-time position at Long Road, I started training and trying cocktails. Long Road has built its award-winning bar program through making every alcohol-based and non alcohol- based ingredient in our bar kitchen. It allows us to pair the distinct flavors of our spirits with one of a kind mixers and flavors.

When it was suggested that I try the Aquavit Gimlet I wasn’t super excited. My grandma used to make pitchers of gimlets; she used the Collins brand powdered gimlet mix and vodka (think Tang, or Kool-aid for alcohol).  A gimlet is usually gin or vodka, fresh lime juice and simple syrup. It’s a 2:1:1 cocktail. I like a traditional gimlet, but with vodka or gin, it’s not the most exciting cocktail on a menu. But it’s always nice, balanced and refreshing. A gimlet with Aquavit on the other hand…

Balance. Simple. Enough. That is what the Aquavit Gimlet is to me. The depth of aquavit paired with bright bitterness of fresh lime and rounded with a subtle sweetness.

My preferred way to drink a gimlet is shaken and served up, in a chilled martini glass with a lime wheel. But in the summer, I enjoy batching it out on my grandma’s deck, and serving over crushed ice, still with a lime wheel. Most people would probably consider a gimlet a summer drink, and I think that is valid, but to me the simple balance of an aquavit gimlet represents an easy choice: uncomplicated, and enough any day of the year. 

Aquavit Gimlet Recipe

  • 2 oz Long Road Original Aquavit
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup

Add all ingredients to shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Double strain into chilled martini glass and garnish with lime wheel.

Alternatively, shake all ingredients with ice and single strain into collins glass. Top with crushed ice and garnish with lime wheel.


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