Last Call

While I have no formal medical training, I can certainly attest to the sedative affect of an occasional nip of alcohol. Drinking may induce excitement, even arousal, but by the end of an evening it’s that last drink, a so-called nightcap, that lingers in my dreams until morning.

The practice of drinking a cocktail before bed likely started in the 18th century as a useful (and pleasant) means to warm the body and soul before turning in on a chilly night. It was surely predated by the equally practical and stylish sleeping attire of the same name.

Charles H. Baker’s "The Gentleman’s Companion" is a great place to find historic nightcap recipes. An American culinary and cocktail writer, Baker’s quixotic adventures would often end appropriately with a “capper” like a Porto Flip or Rum Flip, opulent drinks of layered flavors and aromas meant to impress as well as to soothe.

Before you retire to your boudoir, invite your significant other to have a simple nightcap. An urbane and debonair means to capping the evening, it needn’t go further—but it will surely end with a smile on your face.

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