Creator of Pornstar Martini Douglas Ankrah dies aged 51

Creator of Pornstar Martini Douglas Ankrah dies aged 51

08/19/2021

Thanks for the (lack of) memories! Creator of Pornstar Martini Douglas Ankrah who invented the ‘world’s favourite’ cocktail in a Knightsbridge bar dies aged 51

  • Douglas Ankrah invented the Pornstar Martini at London bar Townhouse in 2003
  • Cocktail went on to become one of the most popular drinks served in the world
  • Cause of death is unknown but reports suggest he died peacefully in his sleep
  • Tributes describe him as ‘pioneer’ who was ‘generous with time and friendship’

The inventor of the Pornstar Martini Douglas Ankrah who also co-founded the groundbreaking London cocktail bar Lab has died.

His family shared the news on social media as tributes poured in from across the industry.

The cause of death has not been confirmed though the trade outlet Master of Malt reports that Ankrah had a history of heart problems and ‘he went peacefully in his sleep’.

Tributes describe him as an industry ‘pioneer’ who was ‘generous with his time and friendship’ and had ‘a beautiful smile’.

The post from his family said: ‘The Legendary Douglas Ankrah of #PornstarMartini fame is no more.

‘The mighty oak […] has indeed fallen. Our family is heartbroken. Our mum is inconsolable.

Tributes have been paid to entrepreneur Douglas Ankrah (pictured), inventor of the Pornstar Martini and influential figure in the London cocktail scene, who died unexpectedly this week

Ankrah invented the Pornstar Martini (pictured) in 2003 – a combination of passion fruit liquor, passion fruit juice, vanilla vodka and a prosecco chaser

Douglas Ankrah created the Pornstar Martini in 2003 while working at his bar Townhouse in Knightsbridge.

The cocktail features a mix of vanilla vodka, fresh passion fruit, passion fruit liqueur, vanilla syrup and lime juice, plus a shot of Prosecco on the side.

Reports suggest Ankrah came up with the name after a trip to a gentlemen’s club in Cape Town and said he believed this is what a pornstar would drink.

The entrepreneur said of his creation in 2018: ‘At Townhouse, the Pornstar Martini became our anthem.

‘It became a lifeline for Townhouse and for a lot of other bars in London.’

The drink became so popular that Ankrah decided to bottle his creation and sell a pre-mixed version, in part because he said he was tired of tasting poor attempts at the cocktail. 

He said: ‘It’s like writing a great song that’s being covered very badly. It’s one of the reasons I bottled my creation. At least I have done it justice.’

The drink was recently revealed to be the most Googled cocktail on the planet with more than 18million searches worldwide. 

‘Dee left us without saying goodbye. We will let you know when we have further details.

‘Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers from the Ankrah, Engmann, Azu, Buckle and extended families.’

Ghanaian-born entrepreneur Douglas Ankrah invented the Pornstar Martini in 2003 while he was working at his cocktail bar Townhouse in Knightsbridge.

The cocktail features a mix of vanilla vodka, fresh passion fruit, passion fruit liqueur, vanilla syrup and lime juice, plus a shot of Prosecco on the side.

Since its creation, the Pornstar Martini has regularly featured in top cocktail lists and was this month revealed as the World’s most popular cocktail, based on Google search data.

There were over 18.4million searches worldwide for Pornstar Martini, with the Pina Colada – top in America – ranking second with 10.5million searches and the Aperol Spritz in third with more than 8.2million registered searches.

The top-ranked tipple was invented by Ankrah who dreamt up the name ‘Pornstar Martini’ after a trip to a gentlemen’s club in Cape Town.

Data showed the UK is one of many countries where the Pornstar Martini is the most searched for and is the most sought-after cocktail in Africa.

Ankrah was also well-known for co-founding Soho-based London Academy of Bartenders (Lab).

Lab was opened in 1999 and was originally a training school for bartenders but became one of the most popular cocktail spots in London and a training ground for some of the industry’s leading bartenders.

The bar closed in 2016 and went on to become the site of the award-winning bar Swift.

Tributes have been paid to the influential entrepreneur from industry experts worldwide.

The Pornstar Martini was, earlier this month, revealed as the World’s most popular cocktail, based on Google search data with 18.4 million searches worldwide and was top in the UK


Tributes describe Ankrah as a ‘pioneer’ who was ‘generous with his time and friendship’

Ben Reed, from Cocktail Credentials, described Douglas as a ‘pioneer of the modern cocktail renaissance.

He told Master of Malt: ‘I still remember his drinks at the LAB when it first opened: most had more than five ingredients, tasted like delicious candy and were to define a decade.

‘Whilst he’ll most likely be commemorated for, and with, the Porn Star Martini, it will be Doug’s warmth, charm, quick laugh and easy smile that will be remembered and missed by myself and his countless other friends around the world.’

Dawn Davies from the Whisky Exchange said: ‘My first memory of Douglas was 20 years ago in Townhouse. He was this person who was so full of life and fun and so generous with his time and friendship.

‘The Townhouse was my first true experience of a great cocktail bar and set me on my journey in the world of cocktails and spirits for which I will be eternally grateful. We have lost a bright light and we will all miss him and his beautiful smile.’

London Legend: Ankrah was a pioneer in the cocktail world

Douglas Ankrah co-founded Lab in 1999

Ghanaian-born Douglas Ankrah was a bartender on the London bar scene but made his mark in 1999 when he co-founded the London Academy of Bartenders (Lab).

The Soho-based establishment would go onto become an institution in the London cocktail scene and was a training ground for some of the industry’s leading bartenders.

Alumni include Altos Tequila co-creator Dre Masso and Bombay Sapphire ambassador Andrea Montague.

The bar closed in 2016 and went on to become the site of the award-winning bar Swift. 

But Ankrah cemented his name in cocktailing history when he created the Pornstar Martini in 2003.

While working at his second venue – Knightsbridge bar Townhouse which he opened in 2002 – Ankrah created the now world-famous cocktail.

The classic Pornstar Martini features a mix of vanilla vodka, fresh passion fruit, passion fruit liqueur, vanilla syrup and lime juice, plus a shot of Prosecco on the side.

The Pornstar Martini went on to become one of the most popular cocktails on the planet and Ankrah has since launched his own line of pre-mixed Pornstar Martinis. 

In 2004, Ankrah published a book – Shaken and Stirred – which detailed the secrets behind making the perfect cocktail and hosting the perfect cocktail party.

His family confirmed he passed away earlier this week at the age of 51. 

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