This Southern diner will throw its hat in the speakeasy ring at 10 p.m. on Sept. 29, hosting an "after-hours" party to highlight its specialty cocktails and introduce three new drinks (still a secret, but based on whichever seasonal liqueurs Ryan Iriarte, the bar manager, has crafted).
"High Hat After Hours" will show off his knack for scratch-made modifiers (and base spirits, even), and puts attention on a cocktail program that's just as clever and delicious as the food menu. High Hat will host these late-night events monthly; for the first, Ryan and bartender Lauren Holton are serving up:
Cecil's Cocktail: Black tea-infused Jim Beam, Steen's cane syrup, lemon juice, mint, soda
Gin & Tonic: Bombay gin, housemade tonic, lime
Clermont Cola: Jim Beam, housemade cola and cola bitters, lemon juice. How do you make your own cola, and why? The idea came to Ryan as he was researching the Cuba Libre, and found a 4-year gap between its origins and the arrival of Coke in Cuba - which means someone was making their own cola. Here, he bases his cola on coffee beans, adding cocoa powder, lavender, allspice, anise, orange zest and brown sugar. "Clermont" refers to the Kentucky home of bourbon maker Jim Beam.
Life of Leisure: Chamomile-infused Sobieski, housemade orgeat, Luxardo, lime juice. Ryan makes his orgeat based on toasted almond simple syrup and orange blossom water.
Serrano La Louche: Housemade bathtub gin, housemade orange bitters, serrano gastrique, Luxardo. A riff on Prohibition-era gin (when distillers cut it with tap water), Ryan makes his own byinfusing grain alcohol with fresh juniper berries, coriander, citrus peel and other spices. The result is a dry gin "that louches like absinthe; the oils and botanicals seize up when you add water and makes it milky looking," Ryan says.
During "High Hat After Hours", the kitchen will be closed, but attendees can nosh on pimento cheese plates studded with pickles, deviled ham and eggs. High Hat Café, 4500 Freret Street, 504.754.1336
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