Achieving balance in a cross between a Sazerac and an Aviation is no easy feat, but New York City bar Porchlight delivers with its bright purple Train’s a Comin’ cocktail. Using absinthe, cognac, blanc vermouth, a violet liqueur, fresh lemon juice and a house-made Concord grape syrup, Porchlight’s head bartender Nicholas Bennett has created a hybrid as classic—and vibrantly-hued—as its inspiration.
In case its name hasn’t given it away, the Train’s a Comin’ cocktail was created in honor of the 2015 debut of New York’s historic 7 subway line extension—a fitting tribute by a bar located on one of the westernmost avenues in Manhattan, where no train had ever gone before. For those unfamiliar, the 7’s signature color is a bright purple, hence the drink’s violet shade that comes from its homemade Concord grape syrup. Pro tip: because it’s difficult not to fall in love with this rich, slightly tart syrup, so scale up and make a double batch in case you feel inclined to experiment (and by experiment, we mean pour over ice cream). Here’s how to make this mashup at home, no MetroCard needed.
- Absinthe, to rinse
- 1 ounce cognac
- 3/4 ounce Dolin blanc vermouth
- 13/100 ounce Creme Yvette
- 3/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 3/4 ounce Concord grape syrup*
- Garnish: lemon twist
Rinse the inside of a chilled rocks glass with absinthe and set aside.
Add the cognac, blanc vermouth, Creme Yvette, lemon juice and Concord grape syrup into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Double strain into the absinthe-rinsed glass filled with ice.
Garnish with a lemon twist.
*Concord grape syrup: Add 4 cups Concord grape juice to a saucepan. Reduce mixture for 1 hour over medium-low heat. When mixture has reduced by half, add 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar and continue cooking until mixture has reduced by half again (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes. Strain and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.