Perhaps the drink offering we can best use right now is a drink. Like the garment with that name, this traditional night drink is meant to make you feel warm, cozy and ready to go to bed.
And if we are likely to spend more time at home, we can all indulge in ‘one for the road’, as there is no real way to reach it. Helen McGinn picks some of the best. . .
Winter jumper whiskey
Glenmorangie A Tale of Winter, 70cl, £ 74.95, thewhiskyexchange.com
British drink expert Helen McGinn selects a selection of the best night cat drinks – including Glenmorangie A Tale of Winter (pictured)
A special winter edition of the famous Scotch created by Glenmorangie’s assailant main distiller Dr Bill Lumsden, this blend was inspired by winter jumpers and roaring bonfires. Yes really.
At the first sniff, you will be transported by the fireplace by the smell of orange, spices and smoke. Since spirits are stored on casks that were previously used to store Marsala, the sweet wine from Sicily, there is also plenty of fruit, cinnamon, ginger and a touch of honey on the palate.
Serve this alone or with a splash of water, or make an old-fashioned one by mixing a measure with a touch of sugar, water and bitter mixed in a glass with a slice of orange for garnish.5/5
Honey and spice
Drambuie Honeyed Scotch Whiskey Liqueur, 50ml, £ 14, Asda
Helen said the Drambuie Honeyed Scotch Whiskey Liqueur (pictured) is wonderfully sweet, warm and comforting
When fine whiskey does not appeal, this whiskey-based liqueur may be the answer. It is made from old Scottish mixed with honey, herbs and spices and is wonderfully sweet, warm and comforting. Drink it alone or make a Rusty Nail by mixing equal parts Scotch whiskey and Drambuie. Serve nicely or over ice in a tumbler.4/5
Disaronno Velvet Liqueur, 50 cl, £ 15, Tesco
Helen said the Disaronno Velvet Liqueur (pictured) comes in a lovely festive white bottle and looks and tastes luxurious.
If, like me, your guilty pleasure at this time of year is a small (OK, big) glass of Amaretto, this will impress you. It is a cream liqueur version of the almond-flavored Italian drink that comes in a lovely festive white bottle and looks and tastes luxurious. Sip on its own or over ice cream with a late night mince pie next to it.5/5
Hotel Chocolat Salted Caramel Chocolate Cream Liqueur, 50 cl, £ 18, Waitrose
Helen said that Hotel Chocolat Salted Caramel Chocolate Cream Liqueur (pictured) is best served alone over ice cream or added to your hot chocolate at bedtime
These are a few of my favorite things: chocolate, cream, caramel and booze, all in one bottle. The chocolate is velvety – blended with vodka and whipped cream – to make this rich, full-bodied beverage. Serve alone over ice in a tumbler, or add a splash to your hot chocolate at bedtime. You want to sleep like a baby.4/5
Marksologist Cacao & Aged Rom Old Fashioned 50cl, £ 18, M&S
Helen said that Marksologist Cacao & Aged Rum Old Fashioned (pictured) is an aromatic drink that is best served with a twist of orange peel for garnish
A nice twist on the old-fashioned cocktail (see Glenmorangie, top left) – and you do not even have to make it yourself with this ready-mixed bottle. It is made with Venezuelan rum instead of whiskey, mixed with cocoa liqueur and a touch of bitter for an intoxicating, aromatic drink.
Drink alone or with ice cream, with a twist of orange peel for garnish. With five servings on a bottle, it’s good value.3/5
Bottle Aged Brooklyn, 10cl, £ 8, Mothership scotland.com
Helen said Bottle Aged Brooklyn (pictured) is a smoky, sweet drink with orange and cherry flavors
Another pre-mixed gem, this one comes from the cocktail connoisseurs behind one of Edinburgh’s best bars, Bramble. This is their bid for a Brooklyn, which in itself is a variation of a Manhattan.
Made with bourbon, Amer Picon (a bittersweet aperitif with orange flavor), Noilly Prat and maraschino liqueur, it is a smoked, sweet drink with orange and cherry flavors. Serve nicely or over ice and nip with your feet up on the couch.4/5
Tariff VSOP Carafe Armagnac Brandy 70cl, £ 37, Majestic
Helen said the Tariquet VSOP Carafe Armagnac Brandy (pictured) has notes of vanilla, licorice and spices
No night cat round would be complete without brandy, and this is from one of the best Armagnac manufacturers. Stored for at least seven years in Domaine Tariquet’s cellars, it is fresh and soft with notes of vanilla, licorice and spices.
Serve alone in a balloon glass or mix 80 ml in a cocktail shaker over ice with each 50 ml crème de cacao and double cream. Pour in two small coupes and sprinkle fresh nutmeg on top. Delicious.4/5
Three Spirit The Nightcap, 50 cl, £ 24.99, Amazon
The team behind Three Spirit is on a mission to make non-alcoholic drinks inspired by botanical products. The range is also free of artificial flavors or colors and low calorie content.
This is made from botanical ingredients including lemon balm, valerian root, various hops and ashwagandha. It’s an acquired taste, but if you like bittersweet cooked and do not want the booze, it’s worth a try.3/5
Helen said that Three Spirit The Nightcap (pictured) is worth a try if you like bittersweet mixes and do not want the booze