I have to admit I’m a huge fan of a good night-cap. After a long day of work, we come home and prepare dinner, play with our two kids, and get them washed up and ready for bed. By the time they’re both in their rooms falling fast asleep and the house gets calm and quiet, there’s something relaxing about pouring a nice single malt, neat, from the crystal decanter. Or maybe mixing up an old-fashioned (a TTAF favorite) or Manhattan.
Tonight will be an especially good night for a night-cap. It’s Monday, for starters. Secondly, we’ve come off a great weekend during which I played some golf, saw the new Batman, and we celebrated my wife’s birthday. All good things, but also tiring. And lastly, my wife is out of town visiting an old friend, which leaves me alone to do all the aforementioned cooking, playing, washing, and putting-to-bedding.
Luckily I’ve found this article, Rules for an Honorable Nightcap, by Rosie Schaap over at the NYTimes. Follow the link to read the article, which comes complete with the “Perfect Last-Drink Playlist,” night-cap moments in cinema history, and snifterology. But here are Rosie’s rules for a great nightcap:
(1) A nightcap should be a one-off, not “one more” of whatever you’re drinking. As great as a good cocktail is, according to Schaap, that’s not how to end a night. She says, “Your last drink should be set apart, so pick something special, something to sip slowly; one serving of one spirit, neat.”
(2) A nightcap should be brown. Stick with the classics: top-shelf whiskey, good brandy (usually Cognac), a burnished, potent, amber liqueur.
(3) A nightcap shouldn’t stray too far from the movements that preceded it. If you’ve been drinking whisky cocktails, move up to a neat single malt. If wine, Schaap recommends cognac.
(4) A nightcap should be warming. In Schaap’s words, “After the initial burn subsides, a soothing comfort remains, the liquor equivalent of a cup of hot milk. Just much better.”
So tonight, after the madness is over and the house is quiet, I’ll be celebrating the end of another crazy Monday by pouring myself an honorable nightcap. What say you? What do you think of Schaap’s rules? What rules would you add/delete? What’s your favorite nightcap drink? Leave us your notes in the comment section below.