In The New York Times Magazine this past weekend, Rosie Schapp wrote a nice little piece on nightcaps. Schapp points out that many people think of the nightcap the wrong way: it's not the last drink of the night before you leave a dinner party or bar. Instead, it's a ritual that should be performed in a very distinct way. In other words: it's special, so let's treat it as such.
How To Approach a Nightcap:
1. It should be a one-off: it shouldn't be just "one more of whatever you're drinking." Schaff says to choose something to sip slowly, preferably with a single spirit.
2. It should always be brown: That's right. No vodka or gin. Schaff suggests a good whiskey or brandy.
3. Keep your nightcap relevant: Consider what you've been drinking for the duration of the evening, and don't go to the far other end of the spectrum. Your nightcap should bring the night together, not introduce an entirely new element into it.
I like thinking of nightcaps during this time of year when everything starts seeming frenzied and rushed. Even if you don't drink or like hard alcohol, just taking a moment with a cup of tea at the end of the night is a good reminder to reflect and slow down at the end of the day. Just for a moment.
Related: After Dinner Tipples: Digestifs
(Image: Megan Gordon)