Rosie Schaap from the NYT writes a very precise list of rules to have in mind when having that last drink of the night, here’s the recap:
- A nightcap should be a one-off, not “one more” of whatever you’re drinking. Your last drink should be set apart, so pick something special, something to sip slowly; one serving of one spirit, neat.
- A nightcap should also be brown and different from an after-dinner drink or digestif. Stick with the classics: top-shelf whiskey, good brandy (usually Cognac).
- When possible, I like to make a separate space for my nightcap: if I’ve whiled away a few perfectly pleasant hours at one restaurant or bar, I’ll switch to another or drink that last one at home. A change of venue facilitates a change of pace and signals that the night is shifting down.
- If you’ve been drinking wine all night, a cognac hits the spot. (Rémy Martin V.S.O.P. is easy to find and very satisfying.)
- Perhaps most important, a nightcap should be warming. I don’t see the appeal of a chilled or an on-the-rocks drink soon before sleep.