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STYLE FILE

#09 THE MIXOLOGIST MATT WHILEY

MATT WHILEY

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.’

As seen in Wallpaper*,
Photographer Duane Nasis

STYLE FILE

#09 PORTFOLIO GALLERY

SHAKE UP

‘I create spirits that can’t be found anywhere else.’

MATT WHILEY

MASTER MIXER

Whiley’s ‘Pig’s Blood’ Bloody Mary, right, and the One Leicester Street menu, left, designed by Apfel and illustrated by Sister Arrow.

DISCOVER THE TUDOR GRANTOUR CHRONO FLY-BACK

STYLE FILE

#09 INSPIRATION GALLERY

09:00

Preparation

Officially, the bar (One Leicester Street) doesn’t open until 4pm, but I like to get in at around 9am or 10am,’ says Whiley. ‘I prep for the evening. I’ll talk to the chef about getting hold of some foraged products, and maybe mash up some pistachio nuts to make pistachio gin.’

13:00

Food testing

‘Food is always inspiring for a barman so I love visiting London’s markets and food trucks. When I started my bartending career, everyone was looking to New York for trends. Now I think it is great that we are exploring London for flavours and inspiration.’

17:00

Experimentation

‘I’m always trying out new ideas with which to challenge people’s palates. When a fox attacked my rubbish bins I made a cocktail served in a mini wheelie bin, with a tiny black plastic bag of ‘bin juice’ attached.’

23:00

Bar Hop

‘In my spare time? Believe it or not, I like to hang out in bars. I’ll go to the Blind Pig in Soho, where you can get a cocktail made from ingredients like ‘spiced pineapple falernum’, ‘Skittles-washed vodka’ and ‘Wham Bar syrup’. Or the American Bar at the Savoy hotel, which is steeped in history. The barmen are truly amazing – very slick and skilled.’

STYLE FILE

#09 TUDOR COMBINATIONS

TUDOR CRAFT

‘With its elegant combination of pink gold, steel, black lacquer and leather, the ‘Tudor Grantour Chrono Fly-Back’ is a heady horological cocktail. ‘Just like the design of this timepiece, my cocktails are an alchemic mix of ingredients and textures,’ says Matt Whiley. ‘And, just like the watch, steeped in history. I’d love to create a cocktail inspired by this watch, made of distilled leather and pink gold… served up in a steel cup.’

DISCOVER THE TUDOR GRANTOUR CHRONO FLY-BACK

#10 THE FLORAL ARTIST AZUMA MAKOTO

#11 THE LIGHT ARTIST KIT WEBSTER

#12 THE SHOE MAKER MASARU OKUYAMA

#01 THE TAILOR PATRICK GRANT

#02 THE ENGINEER CHARLES MORGAN

#03 THE DESIGNER NITZAN COHEN

#04 THE CHEF CHRISTOPHE DUFAU

#05 THE GLASS ARTIST J. M. WINTREBERT

#06 THE PERFUMER BEN GORHAM

#07 THE JEWELLER JORDAN ASKILL

#08 THE ARTIST MIKE PERRY