The Story of the Pornstar Martini
Love it or loathe it, the Pornstar Martini is a modern classic. From its roots at the prime of the London cocktail revolution, to its ready-to-drink version that was bottled in 2019, the UK’s love for it has never wavered. In fact, it’s still one of the country’s most ordered cocktails, and the most visited cocktail on Difford's Guide for a sixth year - even two decades after its creation.
The stylish cocktail was created by Douglas Ankrah, a mixologist at the centre of London’s trendiest bar scene, and the master behind iconic bars LAB and Townhouse.
Originally named the Maverick Martini after the Maverick’s Gentleman Club - a frequent haunt of Ankrah’s when he was in Cape Town, Ankrah describes the idea for the cocktail as a complete accident. The eureka moment came when he was working on his book ‘Shaken and Stirred’ and getting ready to open his London bar, Townhouse. Born from the belief that bars should be bold, playful and sexy, Ankrah wanted to create a drink for the bar that embodied those three qualities.
Its title changed to Pornstar Martini on his return to London. Evocative, alluring and confident - it got its name simply because Ankrah thought of it as something a pornstar would drink. The cheeky name provokes a reaction, and a reaction is what he got.
When it was unveiled in 2002, The Pornstar Martini became an overnight sensation, and LAB and Townhouse became the two huge hotspots of the London cocktail revolution, representing everything chic about London in the early noughties.
The Pornstar Martini is a martini in name only. It’s made with vanilla-flavoured vodka, Passoa passion fruit liqueor, vanilla sugar, and passion fruit puree that gives the drink its decadent texture. Once mixed, it’s garnished with half a passion fruit and served with a sidecar of Champagne for a unique presentation.
A Modern Classic
Even with its surprising name, the most unexpected thing about the cocktail was just how long its reign would last. (And how much trouble its provocative name might cause. Let’s not forget when M&S had to change the name of their canned version to Passion Star Martini in 2019!). Nevertheless, two decades on from its creation, it’s one of the most popular drinks in the UK and other brands are jumping on the bandwagon. From Eden Mill’s bottled Maverick Martini to BLOOM’s Passionfruit and Vanilla Blossom Gin - the legend of Douglas Ankrah’s match-made-in-heaven flavours live on, whatever the name. But Ankrah himself doesn’t seem so surprised. Fun, unpretentious and never boring, he rightly describes it as the ultimate party cocktail. And in 2019, he made the drink hassle-free by bottling his own creation for the ready-to-drink market - so that we could enjoy his original recipe from the comfort of our own home.
How It’s Made
There’s a lot of versions of the Pornstar Martini out there, but we want to share the original with you. Master one of the UK’s hottest cocktails with the recipe below, or bag yourself one of our Pornstar Martini prints to help you recreate this modern classic at home.
25ml vodka (the original recipe calls for Grey Goose La Vanille)
25ml passion fruit puree
25ml apple juice
2tsp vanilla sugar
Half a passion fruit shell
Pour the vodka, Passoã, passion fruit puree, apple juice and vanilla sugar into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with the passion fruit shell.
Serve with a shot of champagne on the side and enjoy!
Cover image © @cocktail_social