Fort Wayne is home to a budding craft cocktail scene—with local bartenders and establishments getting recognition on the national level. In this series, we’ll be highlighting some of the bartenders who are making a splash, and who have helped put Downtown Fort Wayne on the mixology map.
Meet Nate Davoli of Tolon!
Molly: Tell me about the beginning. What drew you to the world of artisanal cocktails?
Nate: Upgrading from job to job over the years has helped my yearning to learn and work at places that have a passion for their cocktails. I feel like Tolon is definitely one of the premier spots in Fort Wayne. They have a passion for their drinks, which inspires me to keep learning and improving my craft.
Molly: Can you describe your personal style when it comes to mixology? Are there any flavors you gravitate towards?
Nate: My style tends to go more fruity. I think I see myself as more of a spring and summer type bartender, I gravitate toward drinks that are perfect for sitting on the patio while enjoying the nice weather. So I tend to incorporate light, refreshing flavors, like cucumber or watermelon.
Molly: What, in your opinion, makes for a well crafted cocktail?
Nate: A well-crafted cocktail in my book tends to incorporate a balance of spirits, syrups and juices—not too sweet but also not too strong. Something people will remember that restaurant by.
Molly: What’s your favorite spirit right now and why?
Nate: My favorite spirit right now is mezcal. Tequila in general has always been one of my favorites, but I love the smokiness of mezcal and ever since I first had it, it’s been one of my faves.
Molly: Which spirit do you think is most underrated and why?
Nate: I honestly think rum is underrated. I see vodka, bourbon and whiskey pretty much taking over, with gin and tequila coming after that. But there are so many good rum drinks that kind of get forgotten.
Molly: What’s the most unique or memorable cocktail you’ve ever tasted? What about it stood out to you?
Nate: The most unique and memorable for me was one called the “Angry Bird” back when I bartended at Bar 145. It was a vodka based cocktail with apple, cinnamon, and mint, topped with some cider and lemon.
Molly: When you have a night off, where are some of your favorite cocktail spots to visit—and what do you order?
Nate: When I have the night off, I usually hit up Mercado for a good cocktail, like a margarita or some mezcal and pineapple.
Molly: What are some of your favorite cocktails on Tolon’s menu right now?
Nate: Some of my favorites cocktails on the menu right now at Tolon are the “Smoked Sazerac” and the “Lady and the Chef.” Both are unique and fun to make.
Molly: Can you share one of your personal recipes, so that readers can experiment at home? What‘s special about this recipe to you, and why should people try it?
Nate: My personal favorite drink I like to make is one I call the “Patio Breeze.” You muddle some cucumber slices with .75 ounces of simple syrup, and then add 1.5 ounces of vodka or gin. Then add .5 ounces of triple sec and .75 ounces of lemon juice. Shake it and pour over ice. Finally, add a splash of moscato. It’s perfect for a nice day relaxing on the patio.
Nate Davoli’s Patio Breeze (instructions above)
1.5 oz. vodka or gin of choice
.75 oz. simple syrup
.75 oz. fresh lemon juice
.5 oz triple sec
Splash of moscato
Cucumber for muddling
Molly Conner is a Fort Wayne native and freelance writer. Having lived in Downtown Fort Wayne throughout her twenties, she loves watching her stomping grounds grow. With her love of storytelling and community in tow, she’s eager to tell Downtown Fort Wayne’s story piece-by-piece—exploring the people, spaces, and organizations that make it thrive.