Recently we were in Gainesville with Jules Miller, and this week we’re heading south to Orlando. Not only is it home to many great theme parks and the University of Central Florida, it’s also home to Ron DiDonato and The Lodge.
Located in downtown Orlando, The Lodge is a great place for happy hour, huge crowds, 80s music and hanging with the regulars. Behind the bar, Ron knows how to keep things friendly, simple and fun.
Tell us a little bit about your bartending experience: I’ve been working in Orlando for about 6 years now. I’ve seen everything from upscale service to the random hole in the wall bar where everyone knows each other.
Why did you become a bartender? LOOOONG Story hahaha
How is the bar scene in your city different from anywhere else? Very chill atmosphere… Not a lot of trendy places, more along the lines of an actual “hospitality” atmosphere where everyone is actually having fun.
What are your thoughts on the shot cocktails trend? Where do you get your information on trends? Customer feedback, if its good and you can get good people behind it, it’ll take off quickly.
What are the most innovative ingredients you’ve used in a cocktail? A vast variety of different ingredients. Fruit infused simple syrup, obscure colas, a lot of stuff!
Where do you get inspiration for your cocktails? A lot of time its simply from asking, “give me a flavor” and whatever they ask for, I’ll create something.
What new drink trends do you see on the horizon? Hot ingredients or flavors? New flavors are popping up everywhere. Things no longer have to be fruity or sweet… You can have bacon flavored liquor now and it be accepted, haha!
What do you like most about HARLEM? How does it differ from other spirits you’ve tried? It’s very smooth, and it’ll sneak up on you fast if you don’t know how to handle it!
What is your signature HARLEM Shot Cocktail? It goes great in Root Beer and Coconut rum, but either bombed or straight works just as good… Why re-invent the wheel?