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Dirty Dozen Interview – Rom Wells


Where do you bartend: I do most of my mixin’ at the Rookwood in Mt. Adams, Cincinnati.

Nickname or Porn Name: My real name is Rommel Wells, but people usually just call me Rom. It sounds less Nazi.

Last song you listened to on purpose: Last song I listened to on purpose was the ‘Ballad of Job Cain’ by Eagle Twin. I’m glad that this was the last thing I listened to because Eagle Twin is a really amazing band and ‘The Feather Tipped the Serpent’s Scale’  contains some of the most righteous riffs in metal.

Something you loved to drink when you were 21 that you still drink: Islay Scotch Whiskey, oddly enough. I got a taste for Lagavulin right around my twenty-first birthday, and even though I couldn’t really afford that particular bottle then, and can’t really now, the taste for big, peaty, smokey spirits has stuck with me.

Most recent piece of advice you gave someone: To a friend having some girl trouble; ‘Be more of a dick’, I said. ‘Women respect that for some reason.’ I’m married so I’m allowed to say stuff like that to my friends.

Favorite cartoon ever: My favorite cartoon of all time is a tough question. I have always really liked the episode of Popeye the Sailor where he meets Sinbad, and I have really fond memories of that particular cartoon from my childhood. Also the Wile-E Coyote and Sam the Sheepdog cartoons. I used to almost piss myself watching those as a kid. The WW2 era Donald the Duck cartoons are great and really un-P.C., which is a bonus. Hayao Miyazaki’s feature films with Studio Gibli are really great. I think Adventure Time is a great current cartoon series. How’s that for a short answer? I like cartoons!

Obsolete device you miss most (pager, rotary phone, cassette tapes, etc…): The obsolete technological device I miss most is probably the dial-up modem. The sense of anticipation that the sound of a dial-up modem used to relay was so palpable and full of undelivered promises. It just screamed, “Welcome to the future, where everything is just as inane, slow and ridiculous as it has ever been.

“These are good questions by the way”

Drink that isn’t ordered enough: I think that the Harvey Wallbanger is a criminally under-ordered cocktail. We have all learned to artfully craft pre-prohibition cocktails, right? and people still order the survivors from the 90’s (cosmos, etc.). Tiki drinks get love in specialty bars all over the country. No one every focuses on the gems of 1970’s America, though, and you really can’t f*%k them up. Nobody ever said, “The Harvey Wallbanger is a really good cocktail when made correctly…”. I hope the next generation of serious bartenders revives the seventies.

There should also be more fondu restaurants.

Star Trek or Star Wars: Star Wars

Hangover helper that actually works: I have a personally recommended, five-step hangover remedy that almost always works for me when executed properly. It’s called the “F-B.O.S.S. “; it isn’t necessary to complete the steps in any particular order, but they all MUST BE COMPLETED! The steps are as follows:

  1. Get yourself a (F)izzy beverage. I like Gerolsteiner mineral water, personally, but sometimes something sugary works best.
  2. Eat some (B)avon. This was proven to help hangovers by some British scientists recently, they themselves probably wretched boozers. If you can’t get bacon, eat something equally greasy and weighty.
  3. Have an (O)rgasm. With someone else or by your lonesome. Doesn’t matter.
  4. Take a (S)h*t. You’ll feel better and lighter on your feet.
  5. Take a (S)gower. You look and smell like a cretin. Clean yourself up. This also helps with what the great drunkard Kingsley Amis calls ‘the metaphysical hangover’, which is the feeling you get after a heavy bout of drinking, etc., where you feel like everyone is judging you, you have no real friends, and you have somehow done some serious bridge-burning but you aren’t quite sure how. Amis recommends reading Milton’s Paradise Lost at such times, but I’m gonna hazard a guess that he had fewer obligations to meet than you and I.

Other current Bartender you admire: As a career bartender throughout my adult life up to this pint, I would have to be boring and say that Gary Regan is the bartender I most admire. He has done so much for the craft. His book, The Joy of Mixology, is the first book I recommend to anyone getting into bar tending, and is one of the most valuable texts on the subject. It is very broad in scope, straightforward, and unpretentious. Locally, though, I admire my friend and colleague Molly Wellman. Molly is a local celebrity bartender and bar owner, and has done a LOT for the bar and cocktail scene here in Cincinnati. She is a joy to work with and represents the city very well; I’m proud to call her a friend. She has a book out, check it out.


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