Miss Vanjie (Banyan Bar + Refuge)

Alexis Jesup

Poor Miss Vanjie. The aspiring drag queen, who was the first contestant to be eliminated during the most recent season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, is best remembered for her awkward exit.

In homage to this viral moment, Banyan Bar + Refuge bartender Justin Leclair has attached her name to a hard-to-classify cocktail made with agave spirits and a Mexican palate cleanser called verdita.

Verdita is a close relation of sangrita. But while sangrita is often made from orange or tomato and used to chase tequila, verdita—or “little green”—is typically composed of cilantro, mint, pineapple juice, and jalapeño, and consumed before the spirit.

Leclair’s drink also utilizes lime juice and agave syrup, and incorporates one part mezcal to three parts tequila in order to cut the smokiness. The finished product is a surprising mix of flavors that manages to be both fruity and vegetal, sweet yet spicy. A rim of coarse salt only adds to the powerful flavor contrasts.

“She’d drink this,” Leclair says.

Miss Vanjie
1½ ounces blanco tequila
1½ ounces verdita*
½ ounce Del Maguey Vida mezcal
1⁄3 ounce agave syrup
¼ ounce lime juice
Coarse grain salt, for garnish

Slick the rim of a double rocks glass with lime juice, then dip it into the salt to create a salted rim. Combine all remaining ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into glass over ice.

*Verdita
1 quart pineapple juice
1 quart loosely packed mint
1 quart loosely packed cilantro
3 medium jalapeños, seeded and stemmed

Add dry ingredients to blender first, then pour in pineapple juice. Blend on medium-low (blending on a higher setting will aerate the pineapple juice) until mixture has a smooth consistency. Pour mixture into a sealed container and refrigerate. Keeps up to one week, but will begin to discolor in 2 to 3 days.

Brian Samuels

Navigate the Boston food scene like a pro!

Subscribe to receive intel on Boston’s best bites right in your inbox.

Thank you!