Ode to the Pornstar Martini

I was making cricket-based cocktails at The Gadabout recently and the owner told me that about 15% of all cocktails sold in the UK at the moment are pornstar martinis. This didn’t particularly surprise me. A recently compiled report on cocktails searched via Google attests to the extraordinary popularity of the drink.

You may see it referred to as a passionfruit martini. Actually only really on the BBC or at M&S. They won’t sully their 24/7 goodness with naughty words like ‘pornstar’. A martini in name and glass only, it’s a delicious blend of vanilla vodka (originally Cariel, but Absolut and Grey Goose are acceptable in canon), passionfruit liqueur (Passoa being the normal/only brand), passionfruit puree and a little vanilla sugar. This is served in a martini glass with a shooter of Champagne. More often than not this has been downgraded to Prosecco.

Sweet, easy to drink, damn tasty.

Its creator, Douglas Ankrah, sadly passed away at just 51 years of age this week. Ankrah was the co-founder of LAB Soho, then the Townhouse in London where he developed the cocktail in about 2002. It became one of the most popular cocktails in the world, and he was one of the few inventors of a classic drink who was actually managing to monetise his creation, by launching a pre-mix, P*Star, in 2017.

Why is the Pornstar Martini so popular?

Judging by the abject horror I’ve seen on the faces of people who didn’t know it existed when it is ordered, I think there is a little bit of bravado behind the success of the drink. I’d always assumed that the name was a clever play on the key flavour being PASSION fruit. But from interviews of Dougs that I have read, I’m overthinking it. He was just making the name naughty. I mean, if you think ordering a fruit-based drink at a cocktail bar is naughty then I probably file you under ‘running through fields of wheat.’ But it takes all sorts to make a world.

I only found out Ghana-born Douglas Ankrah had passed away because I was posting pictures of other people’s PM’s from a hen do I attended this week on Instagram. The drink was originally called the Maverick Martini. That was after a lounge club Douglas had just visited in Cape Town. I think his real genius was renaming it with the now legendary (and provocative) moniker. The Pornstar was by no means his only invention and he wrote several cocktail books.

Equally there is the little shot of sparkling wine. It makes it feel like you’re getting two drinks in one. That is very likely to account for much of its success too! We love a bargain. ‘Specially us Leicester Chisits.

How do you drink yours?

But what are you supposed to do with that sidecar of bubbles? Arguably it is there as a palate cleanser after the velvety sweetness of the main drink, but I discovered that my friends and I all like a sip of the Prosecco before pouring it into the main drink, to left the heavy texture with a little fizz.

How do you drink them? However you enjoy it, make sure you raise a glass to Douglas Ankrah’s memory.


Bestselling author and freelance drinks writer. Champion of pubs and breweries. Occasional printmaker.

2 thoughts on “Ode to the Pornstar Martini

  • I like it without the Prosecco 😂 . Generally hand my shot out


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