Cocktail Friday: Picantitos

img_7743My recipes on Cocktail Friday are a combination of modified classics and originals — some of which I forage from mixologists, some of which I come up with on my own at home. But today’s is kind of a hybrid: It’s a cocktail I mixed, from a mixologist’s recipe. Last week, I stood behind the bar with David Edessa at Lounge 31 in Highland Park Village, and we recreated one of the restaurant’s fan favorites, which has recently returned to the menu: The Picantitos. I poured and shook it myself, and we modified it some from the standard” recipe (I prefer club soda to Sprite, and upped the jalapeno quotient) but this is one of the more refreshing drinks I’ve had lately — perfect for while the weather is still warm but which would work in the cool of late autumn.

1.5 oz. Tito’s vodka

2.5 oz. sweet and sour mix

4 jalapeno slices

1 basil leaf

Club soda

Making it: Combine vodka, mix and jalapenos in a Boston shaker with ice; “smack” the basil to release the oils and add it in. Shake vigorously. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Fill with soda. garnish with a fresh basil leaf and some more slices.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Cafe des Artistes in One Arts Plaza closes

SONY DSCWord comes this hour that Cafe des Artistes, whose beautiful fin de siecle decor couldn’t compete with unimpressive food and service, will close before 2013 even officially ends after about a year in operation. The Alberto Lombardi concept, according to a statement, saw “acceptable business,” but the company will concentrate instead on developing its flagship concepts: Taverna and Cafe Toulouse, which were both launched on Uptown. His nearby eatery Sangria also seems to be remaining open.

Last service for Cafe des Artistes will be dinner on Dec. 28.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

BREAKING: Screen Door gone, new Lombardi brasserie to open

Screen Door, the eatery in One Arts Plaza opened by Scott Jones but currently under new management, is closing on Saturday. Employees were told earlier this week.

A source in a knowledgable position says a new restaurant will open there as early as October. The new resto, part of Lombardi Family Concepts, will debut Cafe Des Artistes. Owner Alberto Lombardi has long hoped to open a classic brasserie and piano lounge, and the space, adjacent to the AT&T Performing Arts Center, makes the ideal pre- and post-theater stopover.

Lombardi had been looking at the space where The Commissary was until recently operated; that has since closed and Ziziki’s announced it will take over that space soon.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones