Dining Under the Influence



In 2020, John Rondi and John Rondi of @JohnnyDrinks_ began their online journey through social media when Johnny asked his dad to make him a drink. A short video, a post to TikTok, and the rest is history. Now, across the Internet, people can watch as Johnny, the father, chooses ingredients, mixes a cocktail, and shares advice the way dads often do with their sons. Based in Wayne, the Johnny Drinks duo now has over 4 million followers on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and the Johnny Drinks Podcast combined. In addition, on their website, johnnydrinks.com, they sell merchandise and smoking kits for cocktails—and now have their own label on a favorite bourbon.

We met up with father and son while visiting one of Johnny Drinks’ favorite bars, Danaher’s in Fairfield, chatting about how it all began and then watching them in action as they filmed another Johnny Drinks video for their TikTok channel! (Watch the full interview with Host Tara Jean McDonald Bonanno and behind-the-scenes footage at Dining Out Jersey’s YouTube channel.)

The Post

DAD Johnny: Thank you for giving us a chance to tell everyone about our journey, from where we started and where we continue to evolve. The short story of how we got started was pre-pandemic. So …we were going out to dinner in February 2020, and prior to going out to dinner, my son, my nephews, and my brother-in-law all wanted to come over [for the] pre-game, [which] obviously includes some cocktails and just hanging out. Johnny says to me, “Can you make me a drink?” So, he videos my making of a Manhattan. And the way I was making the Manhattan at the time was the way I’ve always made my Manhattan. I had watched someone else do it, and I thought it was pretty cool. I took a cedar board, smoked it, put the glass on top of my Manhattan, strained it, poured it, and cheers! Done! So later we go to the steakhouse in New York City.

SON Johnny: My sister had downloaded TikTok two weeks before, and I thought, why not film a video, post it, and see what happens? So, at dinner, I checked my phone. It was doing pretty well, and then it was doing really well—then really, really well! I checked the next day, and it had a couple million views.

I realized this was pretty cool, and when reading the comments, I saw that people liked it. So, I said, “Let’s do it again.” The second video also did well, as did the third, fourth, fifth, and so on.


DAD Johnny: In one day, that first post tracked 2 million views, and the next day, 5 million. Eventually, it hit about 9 million. So, when we say it went viral—it went viral. I had people coming up to me, my friends, saying, “My son showed me this video—you made a drink?” I’m like, “Yeah, I just did it last night. My son videoed it.” I had no real perspective as to what TikTok was and what it ultimately is now today. So, he said, “Let’s do it again,” and then we started making cocktails… and the rest is just history.

The rewards

DAD Johnny: At the end of the day, all I care about is making really good content, entertaining people, inspiring them, and helping them through different things. So, that’s all that matters. We read comments on our posts where a father who didn’t have a relationship with his son now feels closer. Or the opposite, where they don’t have fathers, and we are teaching them things that they did not know, like how to


tie a necktie! Or it’s pure entertainment—they will tell us, “I was bored, and I was really upset today. I got to watch your guys’ video, and now I feel better!” You know, that’s a really good feeling. Most of the comments we’ve seen are when people say, “You brought us closer.” [They say either] …my ‘father and I’ or ‘my son and I’ have found some common ground trying to make the cocktails that you guys make and do some of the things that you guys do.” So, yeah, it’s really rewarding that way.

 The Future

Johnny and John agree that the goal of the Johnny Drinks platform is to continue with responsible, informative content that places emphasis on family and relationships. The future has many new opportunities and Johnny, the son, has many business plans. His dad, Johnny, is right by his side, every step of the way!

Follow them on Instagram @johnnydrinks_

Visit their Podcast and website at www.johnnydrinks.com



“Let’s do it again,”

and then we started making cocktails… and the rest is just history.”

—Johnny Rondi (Dad)

Johnny Drinks Favorites:


Hamilton Pork, Jersey City


River of Beer, Bloomingdale 


Danaher’s Pub, Fairfield


Trovato’s Due’, Oakland
Cafe 2825, Atlantic City


Forte Ristorante, Hackensack


Steve and Cookie’s, Margate


Del Frisco’s Grille, New York City
The Butcher’s Block, Long Branch


Tomatoe’s, Margate
Sushi Lounge, Totowa 


Knife and Fork Inn, Atlantic City