Eat + Drink

Concierge Confessions: Timothy Bradstreet on Orlando’s Cocktail Scene

Marriott Beverage Supervisor Tim Bradstreet (Photo: Rafael Tongol)

Timothy Bradstreet runs the beverage program for Siro Urban Italian Kitchen at the Orlando World Center Marriott. The award-winning bartender knows a thing, or two, about cocktails in Orlando, especially the tipples topping the city’s growing cocktail scene.

Who or what inspires your work?

I draw inspiration from chefs, local farmers and really just about anything around me. My bar team and I look at what exciting concepts chefs are developing and see how we can utilize that to create a beverage. There’s also a plethora of incredibly talented bartenders all around the country that inspire me.

Did you fall into hospitality by chance or was it always a dream of yours?

I would call it more of a choice than by chance. I managed a tax preparation office for three years after I graduated from college and would bartend at night to make extra income. Like most people, I hate taxes, and after a while decided to do what I loved full-time. I truly love coming to work and every day there is always something new and exciting.

What’s your favorite attraction in Orlando and why?

There is so much going on in Orlando and all the smaller neighborhoods surrounding it, but if I had to pick one, it would probably be the East End Market. It has a local farmers market, a craft beer and wine bar, multiple shops and artisans. It also houses two restaurants under its roof; one of which is hands down the best restaurant I have ever eaten at in Florida: Kappo.

What’s the best thing you ever drank in Orlando?

That would have to be a cocktail called The East/West Tango at The Woods in downtown Orlando — one of my favorite bars in Florida. They boast an extensive whiskey and craft beer list, but also make some amazing drinks. This one in particular consists of gin and yellow Chartreuse with a homemade avocado juice and strawberries. It sounds weird, but trust me, it is incredible.

Where do you escape in Orlando?

I really enjoy going to Leu Gardens just north of downtown. It is a massive estate that sits on a beautiful botanical garden where you can truly lose yourself. It makes for a nice escape from the noise and fast pace of the city.

Is there a restaurant or bar in Orlando that really does it well? From the service to the food to the drinks, what is it that makes them the best in the business?

Orlando is so diverse and there really is no best because there are so many amazing establishments; it makes it really hard to pick just one that gets it right. So here’s a few. For bars: The Courtesy Bar, The Woods, Lil’ Indies, Hanson’s Shoe Repair, The Thirsty Topher, and Cask + Larder. For Restaurants: Kappo, The Rusty Spoon, The Ravenous Pig, Scratch, Prato, Santiago’s Bodega and The Strand.

Where would you send first-time visitors to see the “real” Orlando?

Don’t get me wrong, the theme parks and attractions are fantastic, but in order to see the real Orlando, you have to travel about 20 minutes from the attractions to downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods like Winter Park. We have such a diverse culture and so much to see and do. There’s so much more to this town than the theme parks.

Would you call yourself a mixologist?

I would not. I would call myself a bartender. My bar team and I make our own original cocktails all from homemade ingredients and source our produce from local farmers, so we prefer staying away from calling ourselves mixologists. We are simply trying to do things the right way and give our guests a unique and enjoyable experience, and have a little fun while doing it.