The kitchen at the Deep South-meets-Creole diner High Hat Cafe (4500 Freret St., 504-754-1336; www.highhatcafe.com) prides itself on a handmade approach. So does the bar. Restaurant manager Ryan Iriarte is always mixing new cocktail ingredients, cocktail recipes and even unique soft drinks.
Last fall, he and bartender Lauren Holton started a series of cocktail events called High Hat After Hours, which basically turns the restaurant into a craft cocktail bar for a night after the kitchen closes.
The next edition is scheduled for Satruday, running from 10 p.m. to about 1 a.m. Sunday. Look for the "garden party," made with basil-infused vodka, tequila, tomato shrub (a fruit, sugar and vinegar concoction), cucumber bitters and hibiscus liqueur, which Iriarte describes as a more refreshing rendition of the Bloody Mary. There's also a cocktail based on "ants on a log," the celery, peanut butter and raisin lunchbox treat.
The kitchen will offer a few basic bar snacks. The restaurant's regular drinks selection also will be available.