Douglas Ankrah has always been at the cutting edge of the London bar scene, opening up LAB bar in 1999 and later Townhouse. Ankrah was also the inventor of the Pornstar Martini, of course, a drink that he launched as a ready-serve earlier this year, and which he still wants to set the record straight about…like, there is nothing sexual about it. At all.
The next big thing is going to be coffee drinks in the bar scene, according to Douglas Ankrah and it just so happens that’s exactly what he’s working on next.
Guy goes into a bar. Been away for a long time. Orders a Pornstar Martini, and asks why it is called that. What do you say?
The drink is very evocative and tantalising. I called it Pornstar because I thought it was something that a Pornstar would drink, there’s nothing sexual there.
What gave you the inspiration for the Pornstar Martini?
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. But, to be honest, it was an accident. I had returned from a trip in Cape Town and was about to open Townhouse. While in Cape Town I frequented a louche gentlemen’s club called Mavericks while writing my book “Shaken” Douglas Ankrah’s Cocktails. I guess this was some kind of eureka moment.
Is it dirtier than a Dirty Martini?
Dirty denotes filth, Pornstar is a stylish and confident drink, it’s pure indulgence, sexy, fun and evocative.
Who was your favourite pornstar and why?
I have no idea, I don’t really idolise anyone to be honest.
Is it really possible to make a bottled Pornstar Martini? Isn’t having it in a bar half the fun?
If you want something done properly then do it yourself, and that’s exactly what I did. The Pornstar Martini is the drink I invented, it made sense to give it to people the way I intended it. A simple drink is easy to mess up, most bars get it wrong, they oftentimes use the wrong ingredients or measurements. This is the original and best Pornstar you’ll have, better still it’s completely hassle-free and something you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.
Apart from the Pornstar Martini (obviously), what’s your next favourite drink and why?
I love and adore coffee drinks. But my all time favourite cocktail has to be a Bloody Mary when made well. I’m secretly working on Coffee and Chocolate Liqueur which hopefully will launch very soon. Watch this space…
Were you a big Tequila Slammer man in the early 1980s?
Definitely not. I was too young and can’t remember, Haha! Slammers are sloppy, give me Champagne Ruinart any day!
What’s the next big thing drink-wise?
Coffee drinks are very much in vogue at present but I really think people will revert back to a fun drink made with style.
Where will the classics sit?
I believe classics should not be altered, they should remain classics.
Who should we be keeping our eyes on?
I love and adore Ago Perrone at the Connaught and Giuseppe Gonzales at the Suffolk Arms in NYC. I like to believe that as a trendsetter, one should trust in what they do and leave the rest to follow.
How do you monitor/ research what trends are happening in the bar scene?
I’m a trendsetter not a follower. It’s not something I believe matters. Did The Rolling Stones worry about trends? No. They were too busy creating, but I do frequent a lot of bars and restaurants to eyeball what’s happening in the drink industry.
You were at the cutting edge of the cocktail scene in London, opening LAB bar in 1999, what are your plans for the brand?
LAB changed things in a hugely positive way, as did Townhouse. They were the halcyon days of the cocktail trade. Kind of like the sixties – if you remember it, you clearly weren’t there!
What’s your involvement with Townhouse and where else are you working these days?
Townhouse was my baby. I work all over the world. It changes constantly.
If you met someone about to open up a cocktail bar in the UK what would be your advice to them?
If you’re seeking investment, make sure you budget for twice the amount you’d need.
Does life as a consultant suit you or do you miss the front-line?
At present, I like the pace of my life now. I don’t miss the frontline per say, but I miss meeting people.
How many drinks consultants does it take to change a light bulb
Far too many, hire people to change them!