Lesley Stoyan: A Bowl of Cherries


The Paper Plane, Emerson-style

a grown-up drink for when you finally get out for a grown-up night

When we were little girls, we rather liked it when our mother went out. We enjoyed the heady scent of Chanel No. 5 wafting around in her bedroom as she dressed, and we loved our babysitters, a trio of sisters who tirelessly played Crazy 8s and prepared JiffyPop while we watched Charlie’s Angels.

We do not seem to go out nearly enough these days.

So last week, we arranged for childcare, and made a night of it. We draped ourselves in sparkly jewels, dabbed on red lipstick, and headed out to the Emerson, one of our favourite Toronto restaurants in the up-and-coming Bloordale neighbourhood.

Not quite a year old, the Emerson is large and homey, with a big wooden bar, a changing list of house cocktails, and charmingly mismatched vintage plates.

Everything we’ve sampled is delicious: crispy pressed chicken with lemon and olives, sliced rib-eye steak with salted tomatoes and pickles, and a sweet, addictive Icebox Cake. Yum.

But it all starts with the perfect cocktail. We adore the Ortolan (1/2 ounce of Armagnac, 5 ounces of sparkling wine, and a sugar cube) and also our newest discovery: the Paper Plane. Have one at the Emerson as soon as possible (if not, well, make do at home).

Paper Plane, Emerson-style

¾ ounce Amaro Nonino (an Italian liqueur)
¾ ounce bourbon
¾ ounce Aperol (an Italian aperitif)
¾ ounces fresh lemon juice


 Place all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and shake vigorously. Pour over fresh ice in a tumbler. Garnish with a twist of lemon and a maraschino cherry.


Makes 1 drink