Don't Be Embarrassed. Order The Pornstar Martini

In the world of cocktails, the Pornstar Martini stands as a modern classic, dazzling with both its provocative name and its captivating blend of flavors. With a mix of passion fruit and vanilla, and served with a sidecar of sparkling wine or champagne, the drink offers an uncommon combination of flavors and textures that marks a departure from your typical martini. From its invention by the late renowned mixologist, Douglas Ankrah, to its sustained popularity, this cocktail boasts a story as vibrant as its hues.

The history of the Pornstar Martini is as international as its ingredients. It was created by the late Ghana-born mixologist Ankrah, who was a co-founder of the now-closed LAB bar in London. This venue became a wellspring of innovation in mixology, and many globally-known bartenders trained there. In 2002, Ankrah opened Townhouse, a bar in the same renowned, upscale London neighborhood that is also home to the department store Harrods. It was at Townhouse that Ankrah created the Pornstar Martini, which became one of his signature cocktails. The name was meant to personify the playful, audacious attributes of the drink.

Creating a Pornstar Martini

Although served in a martini glass, the Pornstar Martini is not a martini in the traditional sense. It's a cocktail made with passion fruit puree, vanilla vodka, passion fruit liqueur, vanilla sugar, and a champagne or prosecco sidecar. This is not a simple drink to prepare, as it requires some advance preparation and ingredients that are not typical bar staples, but the result is well worth the effort.

First, you need to prepare vanilla sugar in advance. You can do this by purchasing vanilla pods, cutting them lengthwise, and scraping out the seeds. Mix the seeds with a jar of sugar, and bury the now-empty pods in the mixture. In two weeks' time, you'll have a jar of sugar that is thoroughly infused with vanilla. Freeze some martini glasses and tall shot glasses for serving.

In a shaker with ice, combine the vanilla vodka, passion fruit puree, vanilla sugar, and passion fruit liqueur, then shake until ice cold. If you can source fresh passion fruit, cut them in half and dust the cut side with vanilla sugar. Pour the cocktail into the chilled martini glasses, and pour the champagne into the shot glasses. Garnish with the passion fruit halves, and you're ready to serve. You can sip the champagne in between sips of the martini as a palate cleanser, or add it to the drink as a float halfway through.

Variations of a new classic

Like many classic cocktails, from the martini to the Manhattan, the Pornstar Martini has spawned variations that feature different spirits and ingredients. A favorite alteration to the original recipe is the addition of lime, which gives the cocktail a slight citrus twist. Other modifications often involve adding other fruits, such as mango flesh or puree, to create a variation with a tropical flair, or incorporating pineapple juice. Instead of serving the drink in two parts — the martini and the sidecar — you can serve the drink as one in a larger glass, using the champagne or prosecco as a float to create a visually appealing striped cocktail.

Finally, if certain ingredients are simply unavailable, you can purchase the drink ready-made. Douglas Ankrah launched a ready-to-serve Pornstar Martini liqueur in 2017, now branded as P*Star, due to controversy associated with the name. Similar mixes are also available from different brands, making the drink accessible to those who are unable to find its specific ingredients.