10 tequila gusano Ideas

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Tequila Worm? Should you eat it? And why is it there? — Smartblend

All your questions on that little worm inside your tequila bottle answered.

Tequila worm inside bottle.

The myth, the legend, the confusion of that floating worm inside our tequila bottles. Some of us have never even seen one other than in movies. Is it even a real thing? Does it still exist? I’m here to tell you that yes it does exist, and yes it is still a thing.

I recall my days working in somewhat of a dive bar with a bottle of Monte Alban on the back bar, a brand of mezcal with the infamous worm floating at the bottom of the bottle and also happens to come with a small bottle filled with extra mezcal pickled worms. For those of you who just can’t get enough.

The fun we had sneaking worms into shots of mezcal for one and other. Living on diets of mezcal and worms. Those were the days. 

During that time I had a lot of recurring questions on the infamous worm. Is it alive? Why is it there? Does it taste of anything? Etc. And so I’ve answered those questions as well as a few more popular concerns below.

Spoiler: You should probably avoid mezcal with a worm inside it, not because of the worm itself but because it’s normally a good indication of brands which have more of a focus on marketing then flavour. It’s probably the biggest marketing ploy for agave spirits since the old tequila slammer.

Are Tequila Worms alive?

That little worm inside your bottle of tequila is not alive. In fact, if it wasn’t for drowning in booze then that little worm would turn into a beautiful butterfly (or moth rather), as it’s not a worm at all. It’s the larvae of a moth. But more on that later.

Tequila worm moth full grown.

Are tequila worms edible?

They are indeed. Feel free to gulp down that worm to your hearts content. I’m warning you now though, it will not be very nice.. However, Mexican chefs often incorporate gusano de maguey the worm into dishes, and the fried version makes for a great drinking snack alongside tequila.

Will eating a tequila worm make me sick?

That is a difficult question to answer. Maybe? They are pretty damn small and if you swallow it whole washing it down with mezcal then you shouldn’t even feel it in your mouth. However if you decide to chomp on it as if you’re in a bush tucker trial then you are probably going to taste it.

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As for throwing up and physically being sick, that depends on how squeamish you are. They don’t necessarily taste disgusting, it’s more the thought of what it is that gets people. A baby moth.

Mezcal worm in shot

Does the worm add to the flavour?

Contrary to popular belief the worm does not add anything to the flavour. 

Mezcal worms being added to mezcal bottle.

Are tequila worms hallucinogenic?

I’m not quite sure where this myth that the tequila worm is hallucinogenic comes from but rest assured that it is not true. You can eat as many tequila worms as you like, you will ever hallucinate.

If I had to warrant a guess as to where this came from, I’d say that due to the worm being in the bottom of the mezcal bottle, it meant you had to drink the whole bottle of mezcal before you got to it. Meaning by the time you had the worm you were just about drunk enough to think you were hallucinating.

After you have just polished off a bottle of mezcal and had a strange bug that everyone around you was telling you was going to make you hallucinate. You probably are most likely going to fool yourself into thinking it’s true.

This is similar to absinthe. Absinthe got a reputation for being hallucinogenic even though that’s not exactly the case as I talk about in this article here: Absinthe guide part 3 – Hallucinating and how to serve. If absinthe interests you then check out part 1 of of that guide and part 2 first. Hallucinating is covered in part 3. I also covered it in episode 1 of Nightcap, the podcast about drink stories.

Does the tequila worm get you drunk?

No, although it’s soaked and pickled in mezcal, there isn’t enough booze on the warm itself to get you drunk. The shots you take to build yourself up to eating it however, might just do the job.

Why does Tequila have a worm in it?

Origins to why it’s there in the first place are pretty murky but there are two stories that make sense. The first of which is simply a marketing ploy. Which to be fair, works wonders. When staring unknowingly at a shelf of mezcal it can be difficult to choose one. When there’s a drowned worm in the bottom of the bottle that stands out, promotes curiosity and hence makes you want to buy it.

The second comes from a suggested old strategy for telling different bottles apart. On agave plantations, Jimadors who harvest the agave would often end up with different bottles of interchangeable light colour liquid, both tequila and mezcal. In order to tell them apart they would pluck the dead worm from the agave plant and place it in the mezcal bottles. Somewhat of a glorified name tag if you will.

Related article: Tequila vs Mezcal – What’s the difference

If I were to place a bet on which story is true, I’d go for the fact it’s nothing more than a marketing gimmick. It’s great to think that these worms add flavour, or that eating the worm is an ancient Mexican tradition or it was a way to prove that the ABV was high enough to pickle the poor critter or even that they will make you hallucinate! But the truth of the matter is that the mezcal worms only started appearing in commercial bottles sometime around the 1940s or ‘50s. And was most likely just a way to make people buy more Mezcal.

Agave jimador

What Tequila has a worm in it?

None. That’s right, no tequila has a worm in it. That’s another common misconception. The Mexican spirit that has a worm in that bottom is actually as you’ve probably guessed by now Mezcal. Tequila and mezcal are quite similar as covered in my article on the difference between them Tequila and Mezcal, so the misunderstanding is acceptable.

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Both tequila and mezcal are made by distilling the agave plant, however while mezcal can be made from a blend of one of 250 types of the cactus-like succulents. In order to be classified as tequila, a bottle must be at least 51% blue agave (agave tequilana)-the higher the percentage of blue agave, the finer the bottle. 

Which means tequila is a type of mezcal, but mezcal is not tequila, and only mezcal has worms.

Read my full guide on Mezcal here to see how its made and more about the spirit with the worm.

Then check out my guide on Tequila to really understand how they differ.

If you really want to fully understand these spirits, you can also check out my article on agave spirits that are NOT Tequila as well as my complete guide on agave.

Buy Mezcal with the worm in

I don’t usually recommend Mezcal’s with worms in as it is all abit gimmicky, there are much better mezcals out there without the worm, Like Momento Verde, not to mention Ilegal Mezcal Anejo and Bozal Ensamble. All three of those are the Mezcals I love to drink and will always recommend. More I love to recommend are at the end of my Mezcal article.

However, if you really want to try it out as it is an experience to drink and eat the worm. That check out the below Mezcals.

Monte alban mezcal product photo.

Monte Alban

amazon.co.uk – £26.99

Monte Alban is a classic, it use to and sometimes still does come with a small bottle of extra worms. So if its the worms you’re after, this is the one.

Learn more about this Mezcal here.

Recuerdo mezcal

El Recuerdo Mezcal

What I would suggest is getting one of the above just for the worm alone, stick with my other recommendations for Mezcal tasting. If you really want the best of both, I’d recommend picking up some Gusano salt, which is salt made and flavoured in Oaxacan (the birthplace of Mezcal) and flavoured with actual Mezcal worms.

Use it to rim your next Mezcal Margarita for an interesting take on the classic.

Gusano salt image (salt made with mezcal worms)

Agave Worm Salt

So it’s not a worm, and it’s not in Tequila?

That is correct! There is no such thing as a tequila worm, no worms are in spirits and especially not in tequila. However mezcal larva doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

Red and white mezcal worms - the two types of mezcal worms

Then what the hell is that bug in the bottom of my bottle?

The worm itself is actually a moth larvae called a gusano de maguey—since it feeds off of the maguey plant. (Maguey is agave, the plant which tequila and Mezcal is made from) 

There are actually two types of larva that can be used. One is the larva of the beetle Scyphophorus acupunctatus, which is what the red larva is and the other is larva of the moth Comadia redtenbacheri from the Cossidae family of moths, which is what the white larva and most popular used is. Both of which are picture above.

Both these critters live their life on the agave plant until being plucked off for bottling.

Now that you’re fully up to date with that mezcal worm why not check out more agave spirit, tequila and mezcal articles here.

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Extra Information About tequila gusano That You May Find Interested

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What is a Tequila Worm? Should you eat it? … – Smartblend

What is a Tequila Worm? Should you eat it? ... - Smartblend

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  • Intro: What is a Tequila Worm? Should you eat it? And why is it there? — SmartblendAll your questions on that little worm inside your tequila bottle answered. The myth, the legend, the confusion of that floating worm inside our tequila bottles. Some of us have never even seen one other…
  • Source: https://www.smartblend.co.uk/blog/what-is-a-tequila-worm-should-you-eat-it-and-why-is-it-there

Frequently Asked Questions About tequila gusano

If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic tequila gusano, then this section may help you solve it.

Why is the worm added to tequila?

When a Mexican mezcal maker found a moth larvae in a batch of mezcal, he thought the larvae’s presence actually improved the taste of the mezcal. As a marketing strategy, he put a worm in each bottle. Over time, other manufacturers copied him due to his success.

Tequila worms are they a crime?

You won’t find a worm at the bottom of a tequila bottle, though, as the Normas Oficiales Mexicanas (the Mexican Standards authority) reportedly forbid adding insects or larvae to tequila.

What is the name of worm-infused tequila?

Worm Tequila and Monte Alban Mezcal.

When did worms stop being added to tequila?

maguey wormsAccording to Anthony Dias Blue’s Complete Book of Spirits, that worm is actually a larva from one of two types of moths, known as maguey worms, that live on the agave plant.These larvae are called gusano, and bottles of mezcal that contain the little guys are referred to as con gusano.Why Is There A Worm In Tequila – Mezcal and Tequila Worm

Does the mezcal worm cause hallucinations?

The worm doesn’t have any hallucinogenic effects, so you’ll still need some mescaline or magic mushrooms for that; however, some excellent mezcals are made with the worm in the bottle.

What develops from an agave worm?

The white worm would develop into a Tequila Giant-Skipper butterfly, while the red variety would mature into a Comadia redtenbacheri moth. The red and white worms are actually two different species that both begin their lives as larvae on the agave plant.

What occurs when you consume a mezcal worm?

The worm system was no longer required once tequila received protected status in 1977 (on October 13, if you’d like to celebrate).

If you eat the worm, do you have hallucinations?

There are numerous myths and local lore about the effects that the worm in mezcal may have, but they are simply untrue; if you feel anything after ingesting a worm in mezcal, it is a placebo effect.

Does one eat or drink the tequila worm?

Some sources claim that the mild hallucinogenic effects of mezcal are what primarily cause this euphoria, but it’s more likely that the fact that mezcal is pure—there are no additives, sweeteners, or carbs—is to blame.

Does Jose Cuervo contain worms?

Contrary to popular belief, they won’t make you drunker or give you hallucinations; in fact, most people steer clear of bottles of mezcal with maguey worms because they tend to be of lower quality, relying more on the entertainment value of the drink than its taste and quality to sell it.

The worm does, so eat it.

EAT THE WORM! Oddly enough, there are many types of gusano de maguey (Agave Worms), but only the Chinicuil Gusano is used. The credit here goes to the amount of Tequila or Mezcal a person consumes. The worm does not give you hallucinations, and it is not an aphrodisiac.

Tequila worms are indeed edible.

Tequila worms are indeed edible, so feel free to eat as much as you want of that worm.


9. The worm is only present in specific mezcal bottles; TEQUILA DOES NOT HAVE ONE.

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