After he began bartending at 25 years old, Matt Whiley soon tired of making endless vodka-and-tonics for unadventurous imbibers and began to experiment. He distilled his own spirits and embarked on a mission to challenge people’s perceptions of cocktails.
Six years and many accolades later, he’ll make you a drink out of pretty much anything: clarified tomatoes, beef dripping, even pig’s blood. ‘My signature style is creating spirits that can’t be found anywhere else,’ he says. ‘Redistilling vodka, gin, rum and adding my own twist.’ With fellow mixologists Tristan Stephenson, Thomas Aske and Bryan Pietersen, Whiley opened quirky London speakeasies Purl and the Worship Street Whistling Shop. ‘We started the trend for theatrical service. We’d go to China Town with a ten-pound note and make a drink from ingredients we came across.’
As part of his own, solo venture, Talented Mr Fox, Whiley is currently enjoying a residency at One Leicester Street. He is proudly sympathetic to the history of the cocktail, but ‘I also love to push the boundaries with modern techniques.’
Whiley’s favourite cocktail? His version of the Sazerac, a New Orleans original. ‘My variation is cognac and rye whisky stirred down with Peychaud’s bitters and sugar and served with an absinthe “air”. I call it the Green Fairy Sazerac.’
Receive our daily digest of inspiration, escapism and design stories from around the world direct to your inbox
Is the Audemars Piguet and Travis Scott Royal Oak the collaboration of the year?
The new Royal Oak Perpetual Calendar from Audemars Piguet and Travis Scott comes in a delicious chocolate ceramic
By Thor Svaboe Published
Bless interprets Fendi’s world for its immersive Design Miami 2023 installation
Provocative situation design duo Bless go behind the scenes at Fendi for ‘Backfrontal’, the Italian fashion house’s presentation at Design Miami 2023 (6-10 December)
By Dal Chodha Published
Helen Johnson explores bodily distortion and ablution at Pilar Corrias
Helen Johnson’s ‘Opening’, at Pilar Corrias in London, unites psychological motives and physicality
By Emily Steer Published