Last Updated on October 20, 2023 by Jo Fitzsimons
The Passion Fruit Martini is known by another name. It rhymes with ‘cornstar’. But this isn’t that kind of website, so we’ll be referring to it as a Passion Fruit Martini instead.
Still, you probably know what we’re talking about because it requires a little giggle when you order it. Yet that won’t stop you because the Passion Fruit Martini is a cocktail that has been popular since the very first day it landed on our cocktail menus.
The blend of vanilla and passionfruit with a small serving of Prosecco on the side, has us hooked. But how do you drink a Passion Fruit Martini?
Do you sip it, shoot it, pour the Prosecco in the glass, and give it a swirl? If there’s one thing we’re experts in over here at Visit Prosecco Italy, it’s Prosecco cocktail recipes.
In this guide, I’ll explain the proper way to drink a Passion Fruit Martini, and why it’s the proper way. Then I’ll give you an easy Passion Fuit Martini recipe to make at home.
Who invented the Passion Fruit Martini?
The Passion Fruit Martini is a cocktail that was invented in 2002 by Douglas Ankrah at The Townhouse bar in Knightsbridge, London, England. The cocktail started life as the Maverick Martini. However, it had a quick change of name because, according to Ankrah, “it’s pure indulgence, sexy, fun and evocative.” It’s a controversial name (the version that rhymes with ‘cornstar’), but it’s stuck.
What is a Passion Fruit Martini?
The Passion Fruit Martini is a sweet yet tangy vodka-based cocktail. Its main flavours are vanilla and passion fruit. The sweetness of the vanilla comes from a combination of vanilla-flavoured vodka and vodka syrup. The passion fruit juice gives an exotic twist from a mix of passion fruit liquor (usually Passoa) and passion fruit purée. A slice of fresh passion fruit is usually floated on top as a garnish.
Most notably, the Passion Fruit Martini comes with a shot glass of Prosecco on the side. The addition of this extra glass is what makes people so confused about how to drink a Passion Fruit martini. Because, well, what the hell are you supposed to do with it? Let us help you out.
How to Drink a Passion Fruit Martini – The Theories
There is a lot of debate online and on social media about how to drink a Passion Fruit Martini. And there are a lot of different opinions. But which is the right one? Quick pop quiz, is it…
A) Drink the Prosecco as a shot at the beginning, before the martini
B) Drink the Prosecco as a shot after the martini
C) Sip the Prosecco alongside the martini
D) Pour the Prosecco into the martini and drink it all together
E) Sip the Prosecco first, then enjoy the martini
So, what’s the correct answer?
How to really drink a Passion Fruit Martini
You might think that the best thing to do is to go back to the cocktail creator, Ankrah, and see what he intended when he invented the drink. But there are conflicting reports and interviews, which confuses things even more. So, I did the next best thing. I did a taste test. No, I didn’t just go out and get sloshed on cocktails in a bar (not this time, anyway). I used my professional knowledge (my WSET Level 1 Wine school qualification). I also got the opinion of our Prosecco tour guide and Sommelier, Cris, and we also asked a bartender. And here’s the answer:
The best way to drink a Passion Fruit Martini is to sip the Prosecco first. Then drink the martini.
Why is sipping the Prosecco first the ‘right’ way?
Why is this the right way to drink a Passion Fruit martini? Because the Prosecco is the most delicate part of the drink. The second you roll the fruit acids and sugars of the martini over your tongue, they coat your taste buds, and all the flavours from the Prosecco disappear. The same is true if you sip the Prosecco alongside the martini. But, I will come back to this, because this is the second best way to drink a Passion Fruit Martini.
What about mixing the Prosecco into the martini? Cocktails, like cakes (or Italian pastries!), taste great because they follow finely-tuned recipes. The flavours are balanced in perfect measures to ensure the right level of sweetness, acidity, texture, etc. The Passion Fruit Martini was created without the Prosecco flavour in the drink.
When you dump the shot glass contents into the martini, you unbalance the cocktail and it just doesn’t taste right. Do a test yourself and you’ll almost certainly notice the difference. The velvety texture with the sweet, acidic martini is perfect as is, without the Prosecco. Yes, other cocktails like Bellini and Mimosa include Prosecco, but those cocktails have been blended with Prosecco as an ingredient from the start.
What about drinking the Prosecco as a shot? I get it. You’ve been trained for years that the tiny shot glass in a bar means ‘down in one’. Not so with your Passion Fruit Martini. I suspect you’ve given a shot glass because it’s a small, cute glass that has the closest shape to a Champagne flute, without giving you a full-size glass. But that doesn’t mean the Prosecco should be drunk as a shot (at the beginning or the end).
Prosecco is delicate and, above all, fizzy. You remember from childhood (or drinking games at college) that slugging back fizzy drinks is not fun, right? Same with Prosecco.
What about sipping the Prosecco alongside the martini? There are some benefits to doing this, so I’m calling it the second-best way to drink a Passion Fruit martini. I’m not hedging my bets, this one comes down to personal preference.
The passion fruit and vanilla flavours can be quite sweet and cloying for some. Sipping the Prosecco in between will act as a palate cleanser, lightening the depth of the cocktail. You won’t get the benefit of the subtle Prosecco flavours but if your goal is to cut through the martini, this is your better option. (Though, an even better option is to order a less sweet drink, like a Negroni, Aperol Spritz, or other Italian-style Aperitivo drink).
What about the fruit garnish? In terms of flavour balance, I’d recommend sipping the Prosecco, then eating the garnish alongside your martini. Passion fruit can be tart and can also act as a breaker on the sweetness of the cocktail. You could also eat it before the martini or at the end based on personal preference, just not before the Prosecco.
If you do want to enjoy the passion fruit seeds, you’re best scooping them out and eating them with a small teaspoon. They’re packed with vitamins so it might even help your hangover in the morning! Related: 15 Best Hangover Foods (and Foods to Avoid)
Passion Fruit Martini Recipe
- 50ml/1.5oz Vanilla Vodka (such as Absolut)
- 20m/3/4/ozl Passion Fruit Liquor (such as Passoã)
- 20ml/3/4oz Vanilla Syrup
- 30ml/1oz Passion fruit Purée or Passion Fruit Juice
- 15ml/half oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
- Passion Fruit Slice
- Brut Prosecco
How to Make a Passion Fruit Martini
Mix the ingredients (except the Prosecco) in a cocktail shaker with ice, then serve in a martini glass with a passion fruit slice floating on top. Serve the martini with a shot glass of chilled Prosecco on the side.
How cold should the Prosecco be?
I was shocked to see one of the big alcohol brands suggesting that you serve your Prosecco very cold to make it taste even better. Sorry, but I Absolute-ly disagree. Prosecco should be served between 6-7°C (around 41-44 Fahrenheit). That’s warmer than your average ‘just out the fridge’ temperature. Serving it colder than that chills away the taste. I suppose that could work to your advantage if it’s low-quality Prosecco, but we only ever drink the best DOCG Prosecco over here, even in our cocktails. Related: 7 Simple Steps To Host a Wine Tasting at Home.
Best Prosecco for a Passion Fruit Martini
Brut is the best Prosecco to serve with a Passion Fruit Martini cocktail. Brut is one of the drier, less sweet Proseccos, and this balances best with the sweet martini. Remember: Prosecco sweetness (and Italian wine sweetness generally) is a confusing matter. Dry is sweeter than Brut – so you need to pay attention to the label when you go shopping. You might find this helpful: How To Choose The Best Prosecco – 10 Top Tips.
Prosecco or Champagne? Obviously, we vote Prosecco every time. But it’s also the sparkling wine used in the original cocktail so I suggest sticking to Prosecco.
Best glass for a Passion Fruit Martini
The martini part of the cocktail is best served in a classic martini glass (the one that looks like an upside-down triangle). Meanwhile, the Prosecco is typically served in a small shot glass. This is what confuses the whole matter so I think we’re going to start a campaign for using a full Prosecco glass. Just to remove the confusion, not because we want more Prosecco. Honest.
Fun fact: did you know you’re probably drinking your Prosecco from the wrong glass? Find out more here: What is Prosecco? Everything You Ever Wanted To Know.
So, that’s our guide to how to drink a Passion Fruit Martini. Tell us, how have you been drinking it? Leave a comment below.
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