Could I swing by Mark D. Hill’s flat to meet the entrepreneurial mixologist and to sample his latest creation, Bloodshot Vodka? The editor of West London Living enquired.
A tough gig, I thought, as I reluctantly cancelled boot camp in the pouring rain and headed to Westbourne Grove.
A lifelong Bloody Mary obsessive, Mark is a man of more talents than boozing. The founder and executive chef of The Well Dressed Salad Company (until its sale in 2007), took a year out to write the eyebrow raising book, The Aphrodisiac Encyclopaedia, and is currently developing some land in the Andaman Islands into an exclusive Richard Branson-esque gourmet boutique hotel. So, you see, realizing that the world needs a complex, intricately-made spirit combining more than 20 ingredients was no biggy.
Back home, that evening, I pounced on Him as he walked through the door. Make me a Bloody Mary and let’s taste test this, I demanded, thrusting the fiery bottle of exotic spice in His direction. Now, as he prides himself on making a mean (and until that moment unrivalled) version of what is commonly referred to as ‘the world most complicated cocktail’, this was never going to be a carefree, unemotional mission.
The result? As bitter as this will be for Him to read, I do have to reveal that Mark’s Bloodshot Vodka tops all my previous Bloody Mary experiences. Here is his interview:
How often do you enjoy a bloody mary? Extremely often!
When is Bloody Mary o’clock in your home? Midday on weekends, bank holidays, holidays…also fridays …and the occasional Thursday.
What do you hate about West London? I hate that it takes absolutely ages to get across town to East London – can’t wait for cross-rail.
How long have you lived in Notting Hill? 12 years.
Where would we find you having a chilled tipple with friends? My local. Its in the heart of Notting Hill but impervious to change!
Do you dance? If so where? Yes, however not quite so energetically as I did. These days I am more like an oil tanker and it takes quite a bit to get me moving (but once started I find it almost impossible to stop). I was last seen dancing whilst DJ-ing at the Bloodshot Halloween Brunch at the Brompton Bar & Grill.
How would you describe your career to date? A white knuckle ride!
What motivates you to get out of bed? My alarm clock – which I have strategically placed in the kitchen to ensure it gets me out of bed. That and a desire to make things happen…
What’s your Bloodshot dream? To turn the world on to Bloody Marys – this classic cocktail is still relatively unknown even in West London. I regularly mix people their first.
Tell us about the reaction to your book: The Aphrodisiac Encyclopaedia. Quite a few raised eyebrows but fortunately quite a bit a laughter too. The book is very much tongue-in-cheek with some pretty dry humour.
Who makes you laugh? Larry David
What can make you cry? I get very emotional watching films on planes, which I blame on the altitude. The story of Sea Biscuit, the horse that wouldn’t except its destiny had me in floods.
Tell us a secret about West London. Lots Road Auction House. It’s a very exciting way to buy furniture.
Bloodshot Vodka (50cl – £19.99) is available from Waitrose, Selfridges, Ocado & Lea & Sandeman Wines.