What's Your Nightcap?
February 20, 2021 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Sometimes I like a little drink before bed to help me wind down and fall asleep. I don't drink much in general though, so I never have, say, an already open bottle of wine, and I kind of find spirits a little much last thing at night, so my current nightcap of choice is Lillet Blanc. What other - I guess, liqueurs? - would make for a not-too-strong night-time wind-down drink?
posted by my log does not judge to Food & Drink (32 answers total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
I often have boxed wine, which lasts just fine for several weeks after opening so that I can have just one glass at a time.
posted by wyzewoman at 12:50 PM on February 20 [6 favorites]

If you enjoy Lillet, you will probably also enjoy many of the other aromatized wines out there, including vermouths.

The Haus Alpenz portfolio is a good place to start.
posted by Jawn at 12:52 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]

I really enjoy the Kneecap, it's half bourbon, half port, though I recommend taking it a room temperature and not chilled.

The bourbon cuts the sweetness of the port, while the port smooths & dilutes the bourbon.
posted by jpeacock at 12:55 PM on February 20 [8 favorites]

Hot toddy! I hate whiskey but I love this. I basically make tea with whiskey instead of tea--a spoonful of sugar, pour hot water over it, a squeeze of lemon juice and a splash of bourbon.
posted by gideonfrog at 1:03 PM on February 20 [7 favorites]

I like a little Amaro from a local distillery.
posted by badger11 at 1:03 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]

I also came into say amaro, or some other modestly bitter digestif.
posted by mhoye at 1:08 PM on February 20

Sipping a small cognac is my soporific of choice. Make sure it is good quality, since cheap brandy is wretched. Keeps forever in a cabinet.
posted by citygirl at 1:14 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]

Dubonnet is likely to go down well if you like Lillet.

Anise spirits (pastis, ouzo, raki etc. etc.) are strong but are just as pleasant watered down as much as you desire as they are on the rocks. Some might think anise weird as a post-dinner drink, but I find its cleanness very pleasant.

If you can find it, Henri Bardouin pastis is on a different level from any other anise I've tasted.
posted by protorp at 1:24 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]

Hot decaf herbal tea--I like chai or warm spicy flavors-- with a splash of cream and a shot of Captain Morgan-type spiced rum.
posted by bink at 1:24 PM on February 20 [6 favorites]

Seconding red vermouth. In Spain, they drink it with ice and a slice of citrus (orange or lemon), and also sometimes with a bit of soda water to cut the sweetness. We got hooked on it when we went to Barcelona.

I used to like a glass of port in the evening. Again, a bit sweet, so sort of dependent on your taste.

In the cold weather, a cup of hot chocolate with a shot of coffee-flavored rum or liqueur is good.
posted by briank at 2:31 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]

I like sherry sometimes. It's a nice addition to chicken soup, too.
posted by theora55 at 2:36 PM on February 20 [4 favorites]

I was also going to say an Amaro. Averna or Montenegro would be a good place to start.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 2:40 PM on February 20 [3 favorites]

I'm not embarrassed (too much) to say Bailey's Irish Creme?
posted by tiny frying pan at 2:49 PM on February 20 [7 favorites]

I love Cocchi Americano (an aromatized wine like Lillet) either neat, with an ice cube, or with seltzer. It's even nice in hot water on a cold night. It's got a lovely and complex flavor, but it's not very aggressive. If you want to fancy it up, a citrus garnish is nice with it (traditionally an orange peel).
posted by quince at 3:00 PM on February 20

Hot chocolate with a shot of amaretto in it is lovely.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:13 PM on February 20 [5 favorites]

Becherovka is a herbal bitter meant to be sipped slowly in small amounts, with complex floral flavours, and a heavenly scent (not quite as perfect as back in olden days, but then again, what is?).

Also for nightcaps, I'll sometimes nip a small brandy or small spiced rum.
posted by ovvl at 4:28 PM on February 20 [2 favorites]

A nice glass of port, I'm partial to a tawny port, but love nice ruby one too. You don't have to spend a fortune to get a nice port either and it's fun to experiment with different labels and ages.
posted by wwax at 4:45 PM on February 20 [4 favorites]

Hot Mint Julep: Peppermint Tea, Whiskey, Honey, Lemon
Yogi Tea Soothing Caramel bed time herbal tea, Whiskey, honey, splash of milk
posted by wowenthusiast at 5:01 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]

I forget what it's called, but I really like drinking a mix of equal parts brandy and Meletti Amaro as a small nightcap.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 5:16 PM on February 20

Stone's ginger wine might appeal to you. Good straight, or over ice when it's warm.
posted by eloeth-starr at 5:55 PM on February 20

Elderflower liquer (St. Germaine) is lovely on its own or mixed with other things. There's also honey liquers that have a really pleasant warm taste.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 7:46 PM on February 20

Tuaca is Italian brandy with citrus. It is pretty delicious.
posted by mmascolino at 9:35 PM on February 20

I find many amaros a bit too bitter for my tastes, but I quite like Cardamaro chilled, up, with a twist of orange peel. It’s kind of halfway between more traditional amaros and vermouth and will last a couple months in the fridge.
posted by A Blue Moon at 9:53 PM on February 20

Nthing a hot toddy. It's practically medicinal if you make it with honey. Also, if it's not too sweet or filling for you, some amaretto in warm (or cold, whichever!) milk (or dairy alternative) is a good choice for winding down.
posted by yasaman at 10:18 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]

Milo & Bailey's.
posted by inexorably_forward at 11:35 PM on February 20 [1 favorite]

White Russian!
posted by fourpotatoes at 7:36 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]

I like a hot toddy that is just hot water and bourbon, plus a slice of lemon or orange with cloves studded in it. Add honey if you want it a bit sweet.
posted by mai at 7:54 AM on February 21 [1 favorite]

The affordability, shelf stability and many varieties of

sherries (fino, manzanilla, amontillado, oloroso, palo cortado, and sweet sherries)
ports (ruby, tawny, white, LBV, crusted, vintage)

are enough to keep the experimenter in you busy for a lifetime.

nthing Haus Alpenz if you want to get weird and off the beaten path..
posted by lalochezia at 3:36 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]

As a lifelong drinker of warm milk to combat insomnia, I'll second EmpressCallipygos's hot cocoa and a shot. My mom would drink a fruit brandy or liqueur.
posted by JawnBigboote at 5:06 PM on February 21

Where do you live? Fantastic vermouths available in some parts of the world, but not North America.

North America?

A Blackbird. Equal parts Jameson and Montenegro.
posted by dobbs at 6:45 PM on February 21

On ice.
posted by dobbs at 7:19 PM on February 21

The All Consuming podcast on Haus apéritifs sounded intriguing.
posted by olopua at 9:58 AM on February 23

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