6 Myths Of Tequila And The Worm Answered!


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The myth of tequila and the worm has intrigued drinkers over the years, with many brave souls even taking a bite out of it. As the history of the tequila worm is a little vague, I’m taking my best shot (pun intended) to uncover the ugly truth of tequila and the worm.

Tequila And The Worm: 6 Facts

After considerable research, here are 6 interesting facts surrounding the myth of tequila and the worm. Is it a worm? Is it even tequila? read on to find out!

1. It’s Mezcal, Not Tequila, That Has A Worm

I discovered during my research that tequila does not traditionally have a worm in it, though mescal does. Admittedly it’s commonly called the tequila worm, but that is all it has in common with tequila.

So, the little blighter may be hard to find if you are eyeballing the bottom of a tequila bottle for a worm. Some mezcal brands will contain a worm lurking at the bottom of the bottle, especially if it is a budget-friendly bottle.

2. Is Mezcal & Tequila The Same?

It is a common mistake to presume mezcal to tequila are the same, but there are differences. Mezcal is made from various agave plants, while tequila can only be made specifically from the Blue agave plant.

Mezcal is not tequila, but tequila is a mezcal. Confusing, I know, but there is a similar problem with whiskey. It is like saying bourbon is whiskey, which it is, but not all whiskey is bourbon (plus, don’t get me started regarding the spelling; whiskey/whisky).

3. Why Is A Worm Added?

sorting agave worms for mezcal

There are two main myths about how the worm got into the bottle. The first is that it was put in the bottle of mezcal as a marketing ploy, and it worked!

If you find yourself staring at all the bottles of tequila and mezcal, which one would catch your eye first, worm or no-worm? The worm is simply a great talking point when you have shots.

The second myth comes from the plantations of the agave plant. The Jimadors (plantation workers) who harvest the agave plants could not tell two clear bottles apart; one was mezcal, the other tequila.

So, one of the workers picked up a dead maguey larva and placed it in the bottle of mezcal. Almost like an easy-to-read label…. although I would prefer a QR code, to be honest.

4. It’s Not Actually A Worm

This surprised me, but the tequila worm is not actually a worm; it’s a moth larva. It is common to use the larva of the maguey worm (caterpillar), which would turn into a rather striking moth (if it was not drowned in alcohol first, the poor thing).

5. Does The Worm Add Flavour?

The tequila worm adds no extra flavour to the mezcal. Some myths claim that eating the worm will get you drunk quicker, while others say it will make you hallucinate (much like absinthe).

I suggest that if you manage to expose the worm lurking at the bottom of the bottle, you have had a fair share of mezcal, so it would be quite possible to see double before eating the worm anyway!

The worm became popular after its introduction in the 1940s, so there are bottles of tequila worms cured in mezcal for those who enjoy eating the worm.

6. Can You Eat The Worm?

If you are interested in eating the tequila worm (ahem… mezcal worm), there is no need to worry, as it’s relatively safe to consume… unless you have a moth allergy! Maybe best to leave worm-eating to the birds?

Some who have tried it say it tastes like chicken with a slight alcoholic kick, while others can’t stomach it at all. But remember that if you purchase a bottle of mezcal with a worm in it, it is usually not a good quality mezcal.

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Monte Alban Mezcal Con Gusano

Credit: Monte Alban

Overview

  • Distiller: Monte Alban
  • ABV: 40% (80 Proof)
  • Country: Mexico
  • Colour: Soft Amber
  • Worm?: Yes

Review

If you are looking to get your hands on a bottle of Mezcal, complete with worm, then look no further than Monte Alban Mezcal Con Gusano (with Agave Worm).

This tasty mezcal is made from 100% agave, kicks like a mule, and has a tasty-looking agave worm at the bottom of the bottle. Yikes!

On The Nose

Monte Alban Mezcal has a nose of fresh agave, oak and a touch of spice

On The Palate

On the palate, Monte Alban Mezcal brings plenty of fresh agave, oak and a touch of cinnamon. The finish gives a satisfying bitter kick, with hints of pepper and slight smoke

Best Served

Monte Alban Mezcal is ideal for shots and cocktails and worthy addition to your next Margherita. Just mind out for the worm!

Pricing & Info

You can check the latest pricing, product information, and order online.

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Conclusion

The history of tequila and the tale of the worm does make interesting reading and a great marketing strategy to keep drinkers entertained about the myths surrounding this little larva.

Now that you are in the tequila mood, why not check out my article on the best sipping tequilas to delight your tastebuds?

Further Reading

Below are some additional articles from The Drinks Geek blog. We write articles on several fascinating areas of drinks, including different brands, drink types, cocktail recipes and more.

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