An instant hit when it debuted in 2003, the Pornstar Martini has parlayed its early aughts fame into a reign lasting decades—and counting. The decadent modern classic was the fifth most searched-for drink in 2021, and at Punch, the recipe is consistently one of the most-clicked.
The Pornstar Martini’s rise to internet fame may be self-evident, but the cocktail’s IRL appeal is likewise clear: The inviting combination of vanilla and passion fruit, flanked by a Champagne sidecar, is both accessible and alluring, inspiring variations in its native London and across the Atlantic.
In the Dry Pornstar Daiquiri, the format is combined with another U.K. modern classic, the Dry Daiquiri, and includes the signature passion fruit of both drinks. The mashup adds rum, lime juice and a bitter red aperitivo to the mix for a sophisticated, yet playful, cocktail.
Also adding layers of complexity to the drink, Adam Fournier’s Born A Star Martini splits the fruit element between passion fruit and mamey sapote (melonlike in flavor and texture) and finishes the drink with a mist of vanilla-infused sherry. The addition of mamey “felt uniquely Southern Californian,” according to Los Angeles–based Fournier, who had received frequent requests from international guests for Pornstar Martinis. “The mamey lends a wonderful texture and weight to the passion fruit, while still staying tropical and bright,” he says.
Other variations give the modern classic the freezer treatment. At Here and Now in Los Angeles, a combination of vodka, passion fruit liqueur and Licor 43 (a citrus- and vanilla-flavored Spanish liqueur) is mixed up in a frozen-drink machine, but a home version simply calls on cubes of frozen passion fruit syrup to be thrown together in a blender with the remaining ingredients. Meanwhile, Christine Wiseman’s Sex Work Is Real Work incorporates pitted umeboshi (salted Japanese plums) for a hit of umami, as well as Champagne acid, which calls to mind the original drink’s sidecar.
Champagne is the focus of another variation, in this case by Shannon Tebay, who notes that the Pornstar Martini is “essentially a passion fruit Champagne cocktail.” Her Kaleidoscope Eyes is an elegant twist on the drink, mixing in dill-infused aquavit and blanco tequila for “a little bit of a vegetal element and a little bit of a vanilla component that rounds out the cocktail.”