Good going, champ. You’ve had a perfect date and all of a sudden you’re both back at your pad. While she’s cruising your bookshelves and casting her eye across your furnishings, it’s your job to offer up one more glass of nourishment. So what’ll it be?
As you probably know, making the perfect nightcap after long evening is something of an art. The idea is to craft something perfectly balanced—not so weak it’s a buzzkill, but not too strong that… well… you can’t perform afterwards. And, unless you want her leaping for the door and erasing your number before she gets home, don’t you dare think about reaching for that old Natural Light that’s been festering in your fridge for the last three months.
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If you need a helping hand, here are perfect ways to cap off the perfect date and show off your bartending skills at the same time. And if the night heats up, be sure to read our tips for making sex last way longer.
We’re not saying you should be The Dude. But we’re not not saying that, either—after all, the man knew how to drink. His iconic drink of choice, the White Russian, tops our list of nightcaps. The beverage is smooth and delicious, and lands smack dab in the center of the APV sweet spot.
Make it: Fill an Old Fashioned glass with ice. Add five parts vodka and two parts coffee liqueur. Pour three parts cream (or milk) over top. Stir slowly; prove you can be careful.
If you’re returning to your pad after a big meal, a Negroni is the way to go. The semi-bitter beverage is a stomach settling elixir, so neither of you will encounter problems of that sort. Plus, due to a complex flavor profile and flamboyant coloring, the Negroni seems like a difficult concoction to make. This appearance, of course, couldn’t be further from the truth.
Make it: Stir equal parts gin, Campari, and sweet red vermouth in a glass over ice. Garnish with a twist—tradition dictates orange; taste buds dictate lemon.
New York Sour
This twist on a Whiskey Sour frankly deserves the Whiskey Sour’s place on the pantheon of cocktails. Adding a red wine float to the Whiskey Sour rounds out the harshness of the base drink—and makes this concoction one of the tastiest, most versatile nightcaps.
Make it: Make a Whiskey Sour (two parts bourbon or rye, one part lemon juice, one part simple, over ice). Fill the rest of the glass—at this point, it shouldn’t be more than one part—with a sweet red wine, like Grenache.
Was the drink named after the movie or the movie named after the drink? Or are both derivative of an entirely separate namesake? At the end of the day (or rather, night), it doesn’t matter: drinking a French Connection is sure to strengthen any connection.
Make it: Pour equal parts Amaretto and cognac over ice. Stir. Sip. Enjoy.
As legend has it, the Ritz Hotel in Paris invented this seductive cocktail during American Prohibition, to sate all the alcoholic expats (i.e., artists). If this tale is true, we’ve reversed some previous opinions, and are now eternally grateful for one of the blemishes of American history. Without Prohibition, we wouldn’t have the sweetest and sexiest of nightcaps. Hindsight is a clear 20/20. And drunk sight is a blissful 20/40.
Make it: Combine two parts cognac, one part lemon juice, one part triple sec, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake like your life depends on it. Serve straight up.
A fair warning: this is one potent potion. And as far as home bartending goes, it’s easy to mess up the execution. But if you’re in the mood for a high-risk, high-reward game—which you no doubt are, seeing as she’s over after the first date—you could do far worse than playing with absinthe. Just keep these strong nightcaps to one, guys, or you may end up absinthe-minded where it really counts.
Make it: Grab chilled glass—this is why you should keep a few in your freezer at all times—and rinse it in absinthe. Then, in a separate shaker, combine rye (we recommend an ounce-and-a-half), one sugar cube, ice, and three dashes of Peychaud’s. Stir until the sugar melts, then pour into the chilled glass. Serve straight up, with a twist.
Unless you live in Siberia or, I dunno, Fairbanks, Alaska, there are likely only a few months each year you can truly enjoy this cocktail. So take advantage of those months. When winter comes, cook up a few of these nightcaps. Just remember to turn the stove flame off before you turn your flame on.
Make it: Boil some water. Throw wood on the fire. Mix two parts sweet brown liquor (we recommend rum or bourbon), one part honey, and a few squirts of lemon in a mug. Fill mug with the boiled water. Add a dash of cinnamon. Go cozy up by the fire.
Here’s a beverage replete with a tall tale: back in the day, a Havana bartender, per the request of everyone’s favorite alcoholic, crafted a neat twist on the classic daiquiri. And now, nearly a century later, we have a cocktail perfect for any situation—especially capping off a fun evening. The addition of maraschino liqueur to the classic daiquiri eases what is otherwise a sour drink. And the combination of cherry, grapefruit, and lime makes this libation unreasonably refreshing—almost as refreshing as a guy who can make his own nightcaps.
Make it: Get a hold of two parts white rum, one part grapefruit juice, one part lime juice, and one part maraschino liqueur. Pour in a shaker over ice and shake. Serve straight up. Watch out for, uh, writer’s block.
Can’t go wrong with the classic. There’s a reason, after all, the Old Fashioned has the name it does: everyone loves it, every time. That said, somehow, the quality of these things runs the gamut; despite there being a tried-and-true recipe, one bar will serve the best you’ve ever had, while the place around the corner offers pure swill. So impress her. Master this, and offer the best she’s ever had.
Make it: Mix a sugar cube, two dashes of Angostura, and three dashes of still water in an Old Fashioned glass. (Did you really need us to tell you the type of glass here?) Add bourbon. (We recommend two ounces.) Garnish with an orange twist and a maraschino cherry.
A Glass of White
Hey, this isn’t lazy. Covering all of your bases is never lazy, and the wine base is a very frequented base. When it comes to nightcaps, go with white over red, to mitigate stains. No one wants to kiss a guy with a purple-blotched oxford—or teeth.
Make it: Open a bottle. Pour.
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