Today we’re mixing the And to All a Good Night cocktail because it’s the anniversary of the debut of Late Night with David Letterman. The legendary comedian doesn’t drink any longer, but the last thing he drank was straight from a tequila bottle. That’s a bit too basic for us, so we improve the final product by mixing the And to All a Good Night cocktail.
David Letterman and the Shows
Letterman hosted late night television talk shows for 33 years, over 6,000 shows, surpassing even his mentor Johnny Carson. He started at Ball State University in Indiana, where he began his broadcasting career at the college’s student-run radio station. He was eventually fired for treating classical music with irreverence.
After graduating he got jobs on the radio and a TV station in Indianapolis. The latter was as a weatherman and where he attracted attention. His explanations were unpredictable and included wisecracks such as congratulating a tropical storm for being upgraded to a hurricane and predicting hailstones “the size of canned hams.” References to canned hams endured over the course of his career.
Letterman’s dry, sarcastic humor caught Johnny Carson’s attention and he became a regular guest on the show beginning in 1978. NBC decided to give him a morning comedy show, but that didn’t work out. The solution, of course, was to give him a new time slot. So Late Night with David Letterman debuted on February 1, 1982, with musical director Paul Shaffer and The World’s Most Dangerous Band. Bill Murray was his first guest. The show was edgy and unpredictable, interviews were acerbic, and he gained an almost cult following.
After all, when a show has segments like Stupid Pet Tricks, the Top Ten List and dropping things out a 5th story window you’re bound to have fans. Nonetheless, when Carson retired in 1992 NBC gave Carson’s Tonight Show slot to Jay Leno. So Letterman headed to CBS with the rebranded Late Show with David Letterman. Copyright issues required many running segments to be renamed, but they continued and others like the Monkey Cam were added. He retired from the show with a final episode on May 20, 2015, and Bill Murray was his last guest.
Letterman and Tequila
During one 2012 Late Show Letterman found a bottle of Tequila sitting on his desk after his opening monologue. He decided to open it, poured some into the ever-present mug on his desk, and then swigged straight from the bottle.
A bottle like that onstage would usually be filled with apple juice. After grimacing and a tough swallow he spoke out to his producers, saying “What are you doing?” Noting he hadn’t had a drink since 1984 he noted “I’m a raging alcoholic!”
We don’t really know whether the bottle was actually tequila, or if it was apple juice. But Letterman was, in fact, a recovered alcoholic and he spoke about it in interviews after his retirement. True to form, though, when interviewed for Sportscenter at the Indianapolis 500 one year he followed his interview answer with, “by the way, I’m drunk now” in jest.
And to All a Good Night Cocktail
In honor of Mr. Letterman’s remarkable TV run and his at least supposed quaff of tequila on the set, we concluded that the Drink of the Day should contain said spirit. This was not so simple. Sure there are plenty of tequila cocktails, but very few applicable to a late night TV host.
Our quest led us to the And to All a Good Night cocktail. Sure, Letterman’s trademark signoff phrase was “thank you and good night” but this is close enough for us. Even if it’s sometimes associated with Christmas.
The And to All a Good Night was developed by Tim Stookey at the Presidio Social Club in San Francisco. Don’t worry, this isn’t some exclusive members-only sort of thing. It’s just the name of the restaurant in the Presidio National Park.
The drink itself is spirit-forward, with the earthiness of the tequila keeping the sweetness of the Cherry Heering in check. It bears resemblance to other drinks like the Rosita and the Scorched Earth cocktail, the key difference here being that the tequila modifies bourbon rather than being the base spirit.
And to All a Good Night Cocktail
- 1½ oz Bourbon
- ¾ oz Tequila A reposado tequila is recommended here.
- ¾ oz Cherry Heering or other cherry liqueur of your choice.
- 2 dash Orange bitters
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- Garnish: Orange twist
- Add all ingredients to your trusty mixing glass.
- Add ice and stir to chill.
- Strain into pre-chilled Nick & Nora glass.
- Express twist over drink and add.
- Rinse and repeat.