When the 7 train finally opened its long-awaited extension to Hudson Yards earlier this month, it was high time to celebrate. Arriving almost two years behind schedule, the $2.25 billion project served as the perfect excuse to hit the hooch. Nick Bennett is never one to let such an opportunity pass him by. The head bartender at Porchlight (271 Eleventh Avenue; 212-981-6188) crafted a cocktail specifically for the occasion. Behold, the aptly named Train’s a-Comin’.
The MTA’s first expansion in 25 years is just a few blocks north of Danny Meyer’s newest temple of tipples, so homage seemed inevitable. But more than just honoring the subway stop, Bennett’s mash-up is a seasonally inspired affair. “The drink’s appearance salutes the purple route emblem of the number 7 subway line,” he reveals. “Additionally, concord grape season runs from late summer to mid- to late fall. So while they are in season, we wanted to make sure to put them on the menu.”
Accentuating its flashy, violet-tinted body is a juicy chassis sturdied by the seasonal fruit, blackberry-forward Creme Yvette, and the piercingly aromatic Dolin Blanc vermouth. Coaxing the drink from novelty to complexity is a base spirit of cognac, all served in an absinthe-rinsed glass. Bennett portrays the flavors as a union between the sazerac — the classic Southern concoction — and the Yankee-friendly aviation cocktail. Playing off the Creole whimsy of the former, the drink makes a complete pairing with Porchlight’s newly added fried oyster po’boy. Born in the Bayou, chef Jean-Paul Bourgeois’s menu is authentic enough to make you feel as if the new 7 extended a whole lot farther south than initially planned. It would help explain the construction delays.
The Train’s a-Comin’ is pouring at Porchlight until winter. Stand clear of the closing doors, please.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 21, 2015