Things We Love: Adam Roelle’s picks

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From the April 24, 2014 edition

When Adam Roelle took over as the beer and spirits manager of Weiland’s Market about four years ago, his goal was to bring more craft beers to the store. Mission accomplished. Now Roelle’s turning that same drive to the spirits world, and on a much larger scale, as the head of Cavalier Distributing’s new spirits division. “I’ve been pitching this position to anyone who would listen because there’s so much that’s just not available in Ohio,” Roelle said during an interview recently at a downtown coffee shop.

During the discussion, Roelle touched on his love of fermentation, quality vermouth and more. These are a few of his favorite things.

CHOPPING WOOD

A wedge and a sledge is all you need. It’s hard as hell sometimes, but it’s something to work at. If I could just split wood all day, that’s all I’d want to do. I put in a wood-burning stove in my house, and I love that I can sort of get off the grid by providing my own heat. When I see somebody cutting a tree down in my neighborhood, especially now that I’m going to be driving around all the time, or I see a tree down and it’s in that grassy zone between the street and sidewalk, it’s good to go. I grab trees from all over the place.

FIRE CIDER

It’s this cure-all elixir. Everything you read that’s good for you is in it: turmeric, garlic, onion, horseradish, citrus, apple cider vinegar. I’ve been taking it every morning. Last year, I got sick all the damn time. Started taking this stuff because I read about it as a cocktailing ingredient. This past winter I got sick twice, one of them was horrible … and I don’t know that there was much you could do about stopping that one. It tastes wild, but it actually tastes really good at the same time. It feels like you’re taking a shot of a spirit. You feel it going all the way down, and it’s warm in your belly.

OLD FAMILIAR BARBERSHOP

I hate getting my hair cut. I’ve never liked it, and I still don’t. However, it’s better there. They have Playboys and drink magazines, and the space has a good feel. I’d love to be able to tie a bar into that atmosphere; it’d be fucking great. There are unfortunately laws that restrict haircutting and consumption of stuff, but it’d be great to have that kind of atmosphere. You’re getting your hair done right, a hot shave and the hot towel treatment on your neck … if only I could have a Manhattan on hand.

FERMENTATION

All things fermentation. I love kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, kombucha, chocolate. I’ve not had much I’ve not enjoyed that’s been fermented. It’s good for you. It’s what civilization was built off of. Apparently we’d still be hunter/gatherers if it wasn’t for fermentation. I have made my own kombucha, but I didn’t keep it up. I’ve made my own beer, but I don’t care to do it because other people make such damn good stuff. I don’t feel like I have to make it myself.

GOOD VERMOUTH

A two-to-one martini, a real martini, with two parts gin, one part vermouth and a couple dashes of orange biters, stirred not shaken, and served in a chilled glass, is just one of the most gorgeous things ever. When you’re using good vermouth, it makes such a big difference. One of my mantras at Weiland’s was to spend more on the vermouth than you do the high-proof stuff. As far as white is concerned, the Dolin Dry is just great, and for the sweet vermouth, the Carpano is amazing.