Nightcap Cocktail Recipe

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Nightcap Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Nightcap cocktail is a classic drink that has been enjoyed for centuries as a soothing and relaxing beverage to end a long day. It is believed to have originated in England during the 18th century and was often enjoyed by the upper class as a way to unwind after a night of socializing.

  • The name 'Nightcap' refers to the practice of wearing a cap to bed, which was common during the time period.
  • The cocktail has evolved over time, with various recipes and ingredients being used to create the perfect balance of flavors.
  • Today, the Nightcap is enjoyed by people all over the world who appreciate its calming and comforting effects.

How Nightcap Tastes?

The Nightcap cocktail is a smooth, warming, and slightly sweet drink with a hint of spice. The combination of flavors creates a well-balanced and soothing taste that is perfect for sipping slowly as you unwind.

Interesting facts about Nightcap

  • The Nightcap is often associated with relaxation and sleep, as it is believed to help calm the nerves and promote a restful night's sleep.
  • Some variations of the Nightcap include ingredients such as milk or cream, which can add a rich and creamy texture to the drink.
  • The Nightcap is traditionally served in a brandy snifter or a small tumbler, which helps to concentrate the aromas and enhance the overall drinking experience.



Why 2oz?: This provides a robust base without overpowering the other flavors. More could turn your nightcap into a night-klap, and less would be a polite nod rather than a full embrace of a cocktail. No Brandy? You'd lose the warm, rich, fruity heart of the drink. Alternatives? Aged rum for a slightly sweeter, molasses note.

Alex Green


Why 1oz?: It’s all about balance — like yoga for cocktails. Amaretto offers sweet, almond-like notes that play well with the cacao. Pull it out, and you've got no nuttiness to savor. Alternatives? Frangelico for a hazelnut twist. The cocktail’s nutty personality will just have a different accent.

Emma Rose

Dark Creme de Cacao

Why 1oz?: To inject a touch of sweet, chocolatey-ness. It’s the silk pajamas of the cocktail. Go overboard and your nightcap turns into a chocolate milk. Skip it, and you miss out on a layer of decadent luxury. Alternatives? Chocolate liqueur for a lighter touch on the cocoa front.

Mary Mitkina

Heavy Cream

Why 1oz?: This adds the 'cream' to your dream, rounding out the sharpness and giving the cocktail its lush mouthfeel. Pour in too much and you’ve got a dairy farm on your hands, too little and it’s just not the same cosy hug. Alternatives? Half-and-half for a lighter texture, but let's be real, we’re indulging.

Alex Green


Why a pinch?: Spice, baby, spice. It’s the final touch, like a sprinkle of stardust. It ties everything together with warmth and complexity. Forget it, and the cocktail falls flat, like a night without stars. Alternatives? Cinnamon could work, but it's like replacing the lead singer in a band — the tune’s the same, but the soul’s just a bit different.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Nightcap Drink

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add the brandy, amaretto, dark creme de cacao, and heavy cream to the shaker.
  3. Shake well until chilled and combined.
  4. Strain the mixture into a brandy snifter or small tumbler.
  5. Garnish with a pinch of nutmeg on top.

Pro Tips

  • Shake the cocktail well to ensure all the ingredients are well mixed.
  • Use freshly grated nutmeg for the best flavor.
  • Serve in a chilled glass to keep the cocktail cold for longer.

Perfect Pairings


Chocolate Truffles: The richness of the dark chocolate will compliment the depth of the creme de cacao. Almond Biscotti: The nutty flavor of the biscotti will enhance the notes of the amaretto, creating a harmonious bite with each sip. Crème Brûlée: The creamy texture and the vanilla notes will pair beautifully with this indulgent, creamy cocktail.


Aged Cheddar: The sharpness of the cheddar will cut through the sweetness of the cocktail. Gorgonzola: Blue cheeses will add a nice contrast and complexity when paired with the creaminess and sweetness.

Coffee or Tea

A Dark Roast Coffee: To balance the sweetness and add a roasted flavor dimension. Chai Tea: The spices in the chai will dance beautifully with the nuttiness of the nutmeg garnish.

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What you could change in Nightcap

  • Brandy: Can be substituted with bourbon or cognac.
  • Amaretto: Can be substituted with almond liqueur.
  • Dark Creme de Cacao: Can be substituted with chocolate liqueur.
  • Heavy Cream: Can be substituted with half-and-half or whole milk.

Explore all drinks starting with N here

And of course - twists🍹

Espresso Nightcap

Add a shot of espresso to the shaker for a caffeinated kick. It will end your night with a jolt, bringing a robust coffee flavor that cuts through the sweetness. “Sleep is for the weak,” whispers the espresso.

Vegan Dreamcap

Substitute the heavy cream with coconut cream and sprinkle with toasted coconut flakes. This twist offers a tropical vacation without causing a lactose uproar in your tummy—dairy-free and carefree.

Spice Trader's Nightcap

Infuse the brandy with whole spices like cinnamon and star anise before preparing the cocktail. The spice market comes to you, bringing complexity and a whisper of the exotic to wrap up your night.

In case you forgot basics how to make Nightcap

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Nightcap

What is the alcohol content of a typical Nightcap cocktail?

The alcohol content can vary depending on the quantities and brands of alcohol used, however, it is generally a strong cocktail with an average alcohol volume of about 20%.

Can the Nightcap be served as a dessert drink?

Yes, indeed. With its balanced sweetness and heavy cream, the richness often complements dessert. However, its strength should be taken into account.

What other names is the Nightcap known by?

The Nightcap is often likened to a creamy or spiced Brandy Alexander, due to its similarity in ingredients. However, its actual name remains largely standard.

Is the Nightcap generally home-made or also commonly available in bars?

While the Nightcap can be made at home given its flavorful yet simple ingredients, it is also on the menu of many classic cocktail bars for its historic popularity.

Would the strength of the Nightcap cocktail be suitable for a cocktail party?

For a cocktail party, the Nightcap lives up to its name as being a great drink to end the night with, though its strength should be considered when serving to guests.

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