The evening’s final drink shouldn’t be an uninspired afterthought. It should be a finale, like these four sippers.
The nightcap is many different things, but it doesn’t have to be swilling from the bottom of the last bottle standing.
SINCE THE EARLY 1800s, drinkers have affectionately referred to the evening’s last tipple as a nightcap—a soothing dram or mixture, like a hot toddy, usually consumed directly before crawling into bed. Today’s bartenders have expanded that definition drastically, including everything from amaro-based digestifs to boozy lowballs made with mezcal. And that’s a good thing: The last drink of the night should be a showstopper that satiates your late-night whims whatever they may be. “It’s an undersung category. It’s not really a kind of drink, like a martini is,” says Kara Newman, author of the new recipe book Nightcap. “It’s more about the situation, when you’re having it and who you’re having it with, than about the actual drink itself.” So whether your tastes run to rich and liqueur-based or bourbon-heavy, here are four ideal cocktails to cap the night off right.