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.

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