I have to say, sometimes I still feel a little nostalgic for the early, heady days of the cocktail renaissance. A small group of bartenders were discovering cocktails, ingredients, and flavors. And I was following along in my little corner of the world, soaking up every new morsel of knowledge I could get my hands on while I read everything I could about these legends from around the world.
No drink sums up the early aughts for me better than the Porn Star Martini. When I first stumbled across bartender Douglas Ankrah’s famous cocktail—originally created at London’s Townhouse bar and eventually moved over to a starring role at LAB bar—I was hooked.
Believe it or not, up until this time, I’d never tasted passionfruit.
Give me a break, okay? I certainly wasn’t getting my hands on fresh passionfruit in the small Oregon town I was living in at the time, and I guess it’s one of those things that just passed me by. At any rate, I was hooked on the flavor once I tried it.
It’s one of those guilty-pleasure drinks that hits a very primal chord in the olfactory department, like the candy-sweet vanilla perfume found at a mall lingerie shop. The drink is aptly named: it very figuratively smells like sex.
I like to borrow Giuseppe Gonzalez’s idea of adding a little fresh lime juice to round the drink out a bit, which is then sweetened back up with just a touch more sugar than the original recipe called for. It’s called a Porn Star Martini, for chrissake, not a Dry Gin Martini.
Porn Star Martini
• 1.5 ounces vodka
• .75 ounce passion fruit purée (fresh if you can get it, frozen if you can’t)
• .75 ounce 1:1 vanilla simple syrup
• .25 ounce lime juice
Combine all ingredients and shake with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a spent passionfruit cup if you’ve got one, a thin lime wheel if you don’t. Serve with a side shot of Champagne or prosecco.
Jeffrey Morgenthaler is the bar manager at Pépé le Moko and Clyde Common, the acclaimed gastropub at the Ace Hotel in Portland, Oregon. He is also author of The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique.
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