What Is A Nightcap Drink, And Is It Code For Sex After A Date?

While a nightcap often refers to a drink before bed, the invitation to enjoy a nightcap following a date, however, might be a drink or mean something more.
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Q: What Is A Nightcap Drink, And Is It Code For Sex After A Date?
A: Nightcaps are often imbibed as a means of winding down at the end of the day. The invitation to enjoy a nightcap following a date, however, might be a drink — but it might mean something more.

Traditionally, a nightcap is a small, calming drink some people enjoy before going to bed. People can have nightcaps with friends, lovers, or even by themselves.

While nightcaps often contain alcohol like brandy or liqueur, they may also include virgin drinks like tea, warm milk, or cocoa.


In the context of dating, the invitation for a nightcap is just that — an invitation to come in for a drink.

If someone extends this invitation to you on the first or second date (or even the fourth), can you safely assume that they enjoyed the date and want to spend a little more time with you? Maybe.

But an even safer choice is to not assume anything. After all, an invitation for a nightcap is not necessarily “code” for sex, as some may believe.

(An important rule of thumb: When it comes to sex, people who don’t know each other well should not speak in code.)

If your date invites you to come in for a nightcap, it’s possible that they’re only interested in enjoying further conversation with you.

They may even be inviting you in for sex without explicitly saying so, but you shouldn’t assume it.

If you want to know more about your date’s intentions after being invited in for a nightcap, it’s okay to ask — and you absolutely should.

Our research has found that sex on the first or second date is more likely when alcoholic beverages are involved, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your nightcap invite is a prelude to sex.

  • If I Ask Questions About The Invitation For A Nightcap, Won’t That Kill The Mood?

Questions only kill the mood if you engage in a clumsy or uncomfortable way.

A coquettish smile and a playful phrase like, “Are you trying to seduce me, Mrs. Robinson,” can be enticing AF, while also opening a line of communication about the intent behind the invitation.

Your date’s response should provide you with an answer — or at least initiate a dialogue that leads to one — giving you an opportunity to make sure that you’re both interested in the exact same thing.

Whether you’re going to enjoy a platonic beverage at the end of a date or an enticing cocktail on your way to Pleasuretown — knowing that you and your date are on the same page is the best way to ensure good feelings all around.

  • How To Stay Safe If You Accept An Invitation To Come In For A Nightcap

Not to be a downer, but some studies have shown alcohol to be the most common date rape drug.

While exact numbers can’t be accurately determined because of underreporting, approximately half of sexual assaults involve alcohol consumption by the victim, the attacker, or both.

Law enforcement officials have also suggested that alcohol is the #1 date rape drug, particularly for college students.

Bearing all of that in mind, having a drink while being alone in a private space with someone carries (at the very least) a small degree of personal risk, particularly for women.

That’s just the world we live in.

Any seemingly trustworthy person might not be, so always use caution and abandon any situation that feels potentially dangerous.

If you’re nervous about an invitation for a nightcap, do not go inside.

If you feel like you should text a friend and let them know where you are and who you’re with, do that — and then consider not going in.

When a situation feels at all uncomfortable, remember that it is always okay for you to say “No.”

If you’re given a choice between a mixed drink made by your new friend and a closed drink like a soda or beer, the latter is probably safer.

All that said, there are no hard and fast rules here.

Even if you’ve accepted an invitation inside, even if you’ve already kissed or flirted, even if you now have to pay for your own Uber home — you are allowed to get up and leave any situation that isn’t working for you.