February is a notorious breaking point for patience with winter. People start to behave like passengers midway through a tedious road trip. The common trajectory: Misery, antsiness and finally, simmering rage primed to boil over any moment.
Lucky for adults in this month’s sad, slushy mess, there is alcohol. Yes, yes, there’s the timeworn tradition of dulling winter’s edge with booze as an anesthetic. Like your cousin Jimmy, for instance, who pouts next to whiskey until whenever it is that he can put on shorts again. But let’s not be sad about it, shall we? A drink can be joyful and transportive, too.
Take The Arch that’s served at Siena, which is essentially sunshine with a buzz. A modern take on tiki, it’s made with fresh pineapple-steeped vodka, basil and elderflower liqueur. Also of note, it’s poured generously (and thus dangerously). Let the barstool vacationer beware.
According to the drink’s creator, Sarah Pumple, the drink’s namesake is Federal Hill’s iconic arch – although in a roundabout way. “Everybody thinks what’s in the middle is a pineapple,” Rumple, told me. “And it does look like one. But it’s a pinecone! Go figure.” To DIY the vodka, put pineapple chunks (not from a can, for the love of Moses) in a clean jar, and add high-proof vodka. Seal and steep for one week. Strain and store for weeks or even months, to get you through to spring.
Place a small amount of ice and the basil in a cocktail shaker or large glass. Muddle until the leaves become fragrant – but not mashed. Add the other ingredients, then shake like the dickens. You want a little froth in the end. Strain into a chilled glass.
Locations in Providence, Smithfield and East Greenwich