You deserve a quality nightcap, whether you’ve had a long day at work or you’re watching the sunset on a lazy Sunday.
While most people limit themselves to a glass of red wine or a pour of brown liquor (neat or, at most, on the rocks), there’s a world of witching-hour recipes that everyone should add to their late-night lineup.
From autopilot, two-ingredient balancing acts to homemade floral syrups and an interesting use for that red wine, you need to try these 10 nightcaps that will send you happily off to the land of nod.
Comprising whiskey, sweet vermouth and bitters, this classic has remained on menus around the world for good reason. The Manhattan is easy to make, easy on the eyes and goes down smoothly. Mix this three-ingredient whiskey standard, and kick those shoes off. It’s quittin’ time.
Scotch & Soda
The Scotch & Soda is simple and straightforward. Because at the end of a long day, sometimes all you want to do is sip an easy drink while you bust out a book—or, let’s be honest, rewatch a sitcom on Netflix. This unfussy standby is a great way to lengthen your favorite scotch and unwind.
The Hot Toddy is known for its curative properties, but it’s equally good for shepherding a pleasant night’s sleep. When the days grow shorter and the weather turns colder, grab a blanket, put the kettle on and mix this warm, evening classic. It can be made with a variety of whiskeys, from American to Irish and most between, so mix to your preference.
Like the Gene Hackman movie of the same name, this cocktail is a classic that stands the test of time. Simple and effective, the French Connection recipe calls for a solid measure of cognac (use a youthful one; no need to break out the XO) and an amaretto, like the almond-y Disaronno. Build it in an Old Fashioned glass and begin.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
Hot Buttered Rum
If you’re in the mood for a warm, soothing drink, the Hot Buttered Rum is prepared to envelop you. Think of it like a rum-spiked, richer take on the Hot Toddy. And for anyone feeling squeamish about adding butter to a cocktail, know that it adds silky synergy to a cocktail that insists on a fireplace and a blanket.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when you’re thirsty for a nightcap. But if you want to fancify your favorite bourbon, the Old Fashioned is waiting. This elegant classic remains an admirable go-to cocktail. It’s heady, well-balanced and delicious. Just add bitters, sugar and ice.
Composed of Cognac, crème de cacao and cream, what’s not to like? A variation on the mostly forgotten gin-based Alexander, the brandy version is dessert in stemware. Top with a dusting of fresh nutmeg, and you have yourself a rich fragrant drink to sip in your favorite chair before calling it a night.
The Negroni’s whiskey-spiked sibling might be named for a man-about-town, but it’s also adept at soothing your soul before bedtime. With its complementary trio of whiskey, Campari and sweet vermouth, the Boulevardier is boozy and bittersweet. And it’s easy to mix. Simply stir your ingredients with ice, resulting in a perfect companion to cap off a long day.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
New York Sour
Considering it’s named for the city that never sleeps, the New York Sour is a great way to end a night. Essentially a Whiskey Sour, this pre-Prohibition spin is topped with a red-wine float that looks great and tastes even better. Warning: This cocktail might leave you wanting one more before turning in.
Lavender Honey Cream
You’ll start feeling pleasantly sleepy just reading the ingredient list. Lavender honey syrup? Heavy cream? Yes, please. The drink is unique among nightcaps in that it has a vodka base, but the final product is a rich, calming sipper that marks the perfect end to any—or every—day.