Born and raised in Tenochtitlán, better known as Mexico City, this week’s Dish’n Dames feature, Romi Zapata, brings passion, education, and history to Austin’s Taquero Vaquero as a certified Master Mezcalier.
While Romi does not come from a mezcalero family and Mezcal was never present in her early life, it soon became her focus after a backpacking trip to Oaxaca where she learned about the magical elixir and how so many women were part of the process.
Growing up in Mexico, there were a lot of stigmas around Mezcal. From making you blind to being the worst alcoholic beverage that ever existed, Mezcal had definitely not reached the stature that it holds today as the smoky, sweet, and earthy nectar whose name is derived from two Nahuatl words, metl and ixcalli, meaning “over-cooked agave.”
It was her curiosity of other cultures towards Mexican distillates that triggered Romi to investigate Mezcal more in depth. She believes that leaving your place of origin and seeing it from another perspective makes you value it more than you ever did. This is exactly what happened when she left Mexico City for Oaxaca.
After learning about the process, the women, and the real history behind Mezcal, she embraced it as part of her passion and Mexican identity. She became a certified Master Mezcalier and in that action, she became a link in this huge Mezcal chain. It’s now her personal mission to spread the great culture of Mezcal that is a root of Mexican culture, mezcalero country.
Romi moved to Austin a little over two years ago and recently began a new project called Romezcal. Her focus with this project is to embark on a cultural and spiritual journey, bringing along people, to better understand and respect Mezcal as a cultural product.
Her passion for the culinary and beverage industry and for sharing the history, providing unique experiences to people day after day with the flavors of her country through Mezcal, is something that she says satisfies her immensely.