Lorena Vásquez, Ron Zacapa's master rum maker, always had a gift with smell and taste. Ever since she was little, she had a special sensitivity, which led her to work with food, beer, and finally, with rum. Between laughs and after carrying out a guided tasting in the center of Madrid, the 'master blender' talks about the current situation of the drink in the gastronomic world and emphasizes the importance of responsible consumption.
What does the trade of the master rum consist of?
I think that in each company it is different, but in my case, I always say that I am the guardian angel of this brand. I am involved from the cane to the end of the process, although the most important part of my work takes place in the aging and the mixtures that we make of the rums.
How did you start in this work?
I've been in the rum industry for 38 years, and in this house for 37, so I know your DNA (laughs). I am a chemist and I studied nutrition. Since I was a girl I have always had ease with everything related to aromas and flavors. When I finished college I started working with food, and when I moved to Guatemala I started working with beer. After that I came to the world of rum.
The industry of the master rum maker has always been dominated by men, has this ever been an impediment to you?
At the beginning it was complicated, but I think that today there is already much more openness, both in the business part, for women to occupy roles that we unconsciously associated with men, and in the personal part. I think that on many occasions we are the ones who put up the barriers.
How is the rum industry right now?
I think the industry has had a very interesting upturn. The growth of rum is focusing on 'premium' products, which helps us a lot to raise the level of this drink.
With what type of food does rum harmonize well?
How do you drink a good rum?
Rum can be taken as an aperitif, to accompany food or after a meal, and for responsible consumption it should also be accompanied with water.
Is it a drink that is valued in the gastronomic world?
Before it was not valued for its very origin. It was associated with pirates and was born as a very popular drink, but with a lot of work we are getting it to be revalued and grow in a higher sector, which is making it be seen from another perspective and valued within the gastronomic world.
Alcohol has been "demonized" in recent years, how are you working to change this discourse?
For me the most important thing is education. Responsibility must always be present when going out for a drink. Part of our philosophy is to encourage responsible consumption. In my case, my equation is to have three drinks of water for every drink of an alcoholic beverage. What should be sought is to avoid excess, and this all revolves around education. It must be inculcated from the beginning.