A Modern ‘Tini Revival of the Classic PSM
By Mallory Ambrose | August 17, 2023
Since the term ‘cocktail’ was first published in Britain in 1798, the UK has continued to push past generic libations contributing some of the world’s most notable drinks to the early cocktail renaissance. While popularity surrounding the Espresso Martini, Vesper Martini and Bramble has continued to grow amongst consumers worldwide, alongside these London-born classics, comes their sultry colleague that is experiencing a resurgence as of late: The Pornstar Martini.
Tart bursts of passion fruit, rich vanilla, and a side of bubbly combine in this modern classic that has become the most searched-for cocktail in the world. Step aside Old-Fashioneds and Cosmopolitans of yesteryear, the Pornstar Martini has arrived.
The Pornstar Martini, infamous for both its name, saucy moniker, and vibrant coral hue, was created by the late Doug Ankrah, a mixologist at the center of London and New York’s trendiest bar scenes, and mastermind behind the iconic now-closed London bars LAB and Townhouse.
Ankrah stated in an interview with The Buyer that “bars, when done properly, should be environments where one can be bold, sexy and playful. Being a huge part of the bar scene, I wanted to create a drink that personifies those attributes; bold, sexy, and playful.” Enter: The infamous Pornstar Martini.
Evocative and captivating – the London-born drink earned its name simply because Ankrah thought of it as something a Pornstar would drink. The salacious name provokes a reaction, and a reaction is exactly what he got.
Following its unveiling in 2002, The Pornstar Martini became an overnight sensation, and LAB and Townhouse became the two huge hotspots of the London cocktail revolution. Flash forward to now, Difford Guide ranks PSM as the #1 viewed cocktail in the world for the third year in a row.
“People drink with their eyes, and I wanted to make a drink that was immediately recognizable.”
With over 10 variations of the cocktail, from frozen to spritz, the classic Pornstar Martini is not actually a martini at all. Belonging to the broader cocktail class better known as ‘tinis’ (think Appletini) this cocktail is famously crafted using vanilla-flavored vodka, Passoa passion fruit liqueur, vanilla sugar, and passion fruit puree, the ingredient that gifts the drink its decadent texture and weight. Once all ingredients are mixed, it is garnished with a sliced open passion fruit. A luxurious two-vessel presentation, the cocktail served in a timeless V-shaped martini glass with a sidecar of Champagne.
Experience all that is the PSM
Nearly two decades after its inception, the PSM stands strong as one of the most popular drinks in the United Kingdom, it was only a matter of time that the martini mania found its way across the pond to the US. Popping up on cocktail menus nationwide, bartenders are leaning into the playful spirit of this cocktail crafting nostalgia with the classic recipe as well as unique twists with PSM-inspired incarnations.
Look for the ‘Passionate Star’ cocktail at select Hilton hotels later this fall and beyond.
Expert mixologists have handcrafted a variation of the classic PSM recipe opting to use vanilla syrup and regular vodka, served on the rocks, and topped off with prosecco, as opposed to the typical sparkling wine sidecar notably served with the cocktail. Hilton hotels are always looking to stay with the times and chose to include this classic in their new cocktail program due to its resurgence as a trendy cocktail.
Aimbridge Hospitality Properties
Try the ‘Insta Famous’ cocktail, at Aimbridge Hospitality properties nationwide. This variation of the classic PSM is crafted with vodka, passion fruit, vanilla, and lime juice.
With a handcrafted food and beverage menu that’s undeniably chef’s kiss, Puttshack is far more than just your average putt putt destination. Offering mixology showstoppers and Prohibition classics, their signature cocktail menu features the classic ‘Porn Star Martini.’ Handcrafted with Absolut Vanilia Vodka, Passoã Passion Fruit Liqueur, vanilla syrup, and cold pressed lime juice, this cocktail is accompanied by a mysterious smoke filled side of Sofia Sparkling Brut Rosé.
Located on the bottom level of the Hilton Downtown, this classic Atlanta restaurant and bar offers a menu filled with tiki cocktails, including the Mai Tai, Trader Vic’s Grog, the Zombie, and the frozen Peachtree Punch — an original to the Atlanta location. Following his history-making creation of The Original Mai Tai® in 1944, Trader Vic created over 200 signature cocktails. Best described as Paradise In A Glass®, each handcrafted cocktail is an experience all its own.
Along with the variety of tiki cocktails, they offer an original adaptation of the PSM they call the ‘Passion Cocktail.’ Made with Gin instead of vanilla vodka, this smooth, refreshing cocktail is crafted with passion fruit nectar and citrus, perfect for all snazzy sippers who fancy flavors reminiscent of the classic PSM.
With a provocative name and beautiful profile, the Pornstar Martini—in all its iterations—looms large decades after its debut. It’s hard to imagine its future success going in any other direction than up amid today’s Martini Mania. The London-born drink shows no signs of slowing as bartenders lean into the unpretentious spirit of the original, seizing the opportunity to escort the familiar classic into uncharted territory.