Starlite Bloody Mary · Trina's Starlite Lounge

By Eric Twardzik · 06/12/2020

Brunch is back at Trina’s Starlite Lounge via takeout. And so is the beloved Bloody Mary—in bottled mixer form. But what is it that makes the Starlite Bloody such a satisfying hair-of-the-dog dram?

According to co-owner Josh Childs, it’s the “mud.”

“I’m sure you’ve been in a bar where the mix has been sitting around for a while and it’s not optimal,” Childs says. “We add this thick ‘mud’ mixture—which is everything from coriander to celery salt to horseradish to lemon and lime—to the tomato juice so that each serving is incredibly fresh.”

This ingenious Bloody Mary base, which was created by co-owner Beau Sturm and also includes Worcestershire sauce, mustard, ancho chilies, soy sauce, and even a touch of Trina’s own barbecue wing sauce, is present in every bottle and mixed with tomato juice shortly before sale. And while it’s delicious with regular vodka (Childs also suggests tequila or mezcal), you can truly capture the Trina’s experience by making a vegetable-infused vodka at home. (Infusing the vodka takes a week—the same as the mixer’s shelf life—so if you wish to go down that route, you’ll need to plan ahead.)

That infused vodka calls for a kitchen-sink mix of veggies including celery stalks, jalapeños, scallions, and more, giving it what Childs describes as a “very savory, vegetal, vodka-meets-aquavit” quality. Garnishes beyond a simple pickle spear are unnecessary.

But don’t sweat it if the recipe doesn’t match your own vegetable selection. According to Childs, a little substitution or improvisation is A-OK.

“The beauty of it is that it’s foolproof,” Childs says. “[The recipe] might say two celery stalks chopped up, but if someone only has one, that’s okay too… It’s what you have available. Particularly in this period that we’re going through.”

Starlite Bloody Mary
3 ounces Starlite Bloody Mary mix
2 ounces vegetable-infused vodka* (or regular vodka)
1 pickle spear, for garnish

Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Shake briefly to integrate, then pour without straining into a pint glass. Garnish with pickle spear.

*Vegetable-Infused Vodka (makes 1 liter)
1 liter of vodka
2 celery stalks with leaves, roughly chopped
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
½ green pepper, seeded and sliced
1 jalapeño, seeded and sliced
½ bunch parsley
2 sliced scallions

Add all ingredients to a container and seal. Allow mixture to sit for 7 days. Strain out vegetables and funnel vodka back into bottle. Keeps indefinitely. 

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