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Vol. 6, No. 35 | I Went From Not Having Heard of the Pornstar Martini to Having Four in One Night
Last week I helped put on a Tales of the Cocktail pop up in Atlanta. One of the segments was “Letters To A Young Bartender”. During that session, we honored Douglas Ankrah who passed away in August. Douglas was a bar industry legend and a friend to many. He was known for creating the Pornstar Martini AKA The Maverick Martini. I met Douglas three years ago and we chatted for a few months after that. Our interaction didn’t end all that well and I’d been planning on reaching out to him when I accepted the St~Germain role, but I kept putting it off and putting it off and it pains me that I’ll never be able to.
Below is the tale that I wrote on the old Holy Sip website the night after meeting Douglas. I’d clearly had a long night because it’s not as descriptive as how it could have been. There’s a recipe at the end if you’d like to make a Pornstar at home (that sounds weird).
November 14, 2018
I Went From Not Having Heard of the Pornstar Martini to Having Four in One Night…
And maybe that’s why this post is happening at 6:00pm instead of 9:00am. (Also, does this make me an expert on the Pornstar Martini? I think so.)
Yesterday, I went to a panel discussion hosted by Grey Goose. It featured pioneers of the industry including Francois Thibault, creator of Grey Goose vodka and Douglas Ankrah, the creator of the Pornstar martini. I’d honestly never heard of the thing and after quizzing a few comrades here, they haven’t heard of it either. Apparently, it’s the UK’s favorite cocktail making it a modern classic (I was tempted to ask my uncle who lives in London, but the name makes me blush).
The cocktail features vanilla vodka, passion fruit puree, vanilla sugar and a side of champagne. Ankrah said the name came from his visit to a gentleman’s club in Cape Town where he was working on cocktails for his new bar in London. (Pro tip to drinking it-the champagne shouldn’t be added to the cocktail, you should alternate sips, using the champagne as a palette cleanser).
Ankrah used to create his own vanilla vodka by soaking the vodka in vanilla pods. Now with Grey Goose La Vanille, the cocktail recipe is easier to replicate (This sentence reads like I took it out a press release, but I didn’t).
I tried my first Pornstar martini during the panel discussion which was really fascinating. Afterwards, we went barhopping to some of Atlanta’s best bars where everyone tried to recreate this masterpiece. I thankfully missed the first few places (how many pornstars can one have?).
I caught up with everyone at Revery VR Bar (they won me over by using quality champagne), and then we were off to Himitsu (really well balanced and the one where I felt that the vanilla came through the most without overpowering the drink). We finished the night at one of Atlanta’s entertainment facilities (the strip club). They didn’t have the Pornstar martini available, but they clearly didn’t need it.
So if you’ve been counting, that’s only three. The fourth was from Ankrah himself. He poured up some from his new ready to serve bottled version (champagne not included) while we were on the party bus. Even in bottled form, it tasted great. A very epic Atlanta night.
2 oz. Grey Goose La Vanille (or regular vodka)
1 oz vanilla simple syrup (Douglas creates a painstakingly involved vanilla sugar so he might kill me for this. But, I think it’s easier to soak the vanilla pods in water and make a simple syrup. Recipe below)
1 oz passionfruit puree
1. Add vodka, vanilla syrup and passion fruit puree to a shaker.
2. Fill with ice.
3. Shake vigorously until ice breaks up and ingredients are perfectly chilled.
4. Strain into a martini glass.
5. Garnish with a passion fruit slice.
6. Serve with a shot of champagne or other sparkling wine.
Vanilla Simple Syrup
1 cup cane sugar
1 cup water
1 vanilla bean (or if you absolutely must, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract)
Put the sugar and water in a saucepan.
Slice open a vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Spread open the vanilla bean pod and scrape out the vanilla bean seeds.
Add the seeds and the vanilla bean pod to the saucepan and stir.
Bring to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and allow the syrup to cool. You can store in a container and it will keep in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.