RIP Douglas Ankrah, co-founder of London’s Lab and creator of the Pornstar Martini

Earlier this week, the team at Bartender HQ, heard the sad news that Douglas Ankrah had passed away unexpectedly last week.

Douglas was the creator of Lab and Townhouse bars, author of the cocktail book Shaken and Stirred and the man behind the eponymous Pornstar Martini, a blend of vanilla vodka and passionfruit that has graced the pages of many cocktail lists.

When we heard the sad news we reached out to long-time friend of Bartender mag and former local bartender, Dean Callan who lives in the UK and recently teamed up with Douglas to work on a birthday celebration for the Pornstar Martini.

“He remembered me, I was amazed. That moment made me feel so good, Douglas had a way about him, he had an effect on people. Not always the intended effect but an effect nonetheless, he was a big character with an even bigger heart.” – Dean Callan

Here’s what Dean had to say about his friend:

“I first met Douglas in Ireland way back in 2001, he was conducting a training for our bar on behalf of Kent cigarettes (we had incentive programs to sell more cigarettes across the bar back then) and he was teaching us about Whisk(e)y. I’ll never forget the training, he had white dog in a small JD bottle, pre charcoal, post charcoal and then at different ages. I asked him “where did you get these” and he smiled and said with a confidence in his eyes that lit a fire in my stomach “I know people” and I was hooked. I went to every training I could follow him to, every time he returned to Dublin until he eventually offered me a job. I never got round to taking the job as a quick stop back in Australia turned into a good few career defining years.

“It wasn’t until more than 10 years later when I seen him randomly at a pop up and he recognised me that I realised he was the real deal. He remembered me, I was amazed. That moment made me feel so good, Douglas had a way about him, he had an effect on people. Not always the intended effect but an effect nonetheless, he was a big character with an even bigger heart.

Having spent a lot of time together the last year I’ll miss him a lot.  As his sister perfectly put it, “The mighty Oak has indeed fallen”.”

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