For many years, there has been a common misconception among many tequila drinkers that there are certain bottles of tequila sold with a worm in the bottle. This is never true, as there are strict regulations in Mexico regarding the production and exportation of tequila.
There are examples of Mezcal that traditionally feature the “worm” in each bottle, and these are called Mezcal con Gusano. Mezcal is commonly mistaken for tequila, though the two spirits are very different despite sharing a home country and the use of the agave plant.
We have taken a deep dive into the history of the supposed “tequila worm,” to answer the question “what tequila has a worm in it?” and have outlined the history of mezcal with worms while including some of the key differences between these two popular Mexican spirits.
The Myth of the Tequila Worm
For many years, there has been a rumor that there are certain types of tequila that contain a worm in the bottle. There are even some rumors that there are hallucinogenic properties associated with the worm, and that eating it can lead to a psychedelic experience.
Neither rumor is true, as there are no known types of tequila that include any type of insect. Tequila is produced in Jalisco, Mexico under strict guidelines that prohibit the inclusion of any types of worms or other strange additions.
There are certain styles of mezcal that have historically contained worms in each bottle, and there are a handful of brands still employing the practice today. There are no hallucinogenic side effects associated with eating the worm, and the inclusion of worms in mezcal used to be a much more common practice.
Mezcal con Gusano
The type of mezcal that contains the famous worm is called Mezcal con Gusano, which literally translates to “mezcal with worm” in English. While it used to be one of the most popular styles of mezcal exported to the United States, it accounts for less than 10 percent of all mezcal on the market today.
The “worm” that is included in each bottle of Mezcal con Gusano is actually more of a grub. The grub is the larva of a Mexican moth that naturally feeds on the leaves of the agave plants that are used to produce Mezcal con Gusano.
These bugs are cooked and consumed across many different areas of Mexico, and they can even be considered a delicacy when prepared correctly. Today, these larvae are generally only included in lower-quality bottles of mezcal that use the worm tactic for marketing purposes.
Tequila vs Mezcal
Mezcal is a category of spirit that is produced using any variety of agave plants. There are many different varieties of agave, and any of them can be used to make mezcal anywhere in Mexico, or anywhere else that cultivates agave plants.
Tequila is much more specific in terms of both location and production, as it can only be made in the area of Jalisco, Mexico. Only the finest Blue Weber Agave is used to produce tequila, and there are many different requirements in terms of production standards.
While tequila is very famous and recognizable all over the world, the majority of other mezcals are less famous and not regarded as highly as tequila. Today, the mezcal category is seeing major growth as more people are interested in craft spirits and interesting new smoky flavors.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Difference Between Mezcal and Tequila?
While the two Mexican spirits mezcal and tequila are often confused, they are two completely different products that are subject to very different restrictions and limitations.
Tequila can only be produced in Jalisco, Mexico using one specific style of Agave, while mezcal can be made with any type of Agave.
What Does Mezcal con Gusano Mean?
The term Mezcal con Gusano literally translates to “mezcal with worm” in English, and it is the style of mezcal that helped popularise the spirit in the 1990s all across the United States. It turns out that the inclusion of the worm worked as a great marketing tactic, and mezcal quickly gained traction in the US.
Is It Dangerous To Drink the Worm in Mezcal?
While the thought of chewing on a dead worm that had been suspended in a bottle of mezcal for an extended period of time may not sound particularly appetizing, it is generally considered harmless and there are no known health risks associated with eating the worm.
What Tequila Has a Worm in It – Conclusion
It is a common misconception that there are certain types of tequila that contain a worm in the bottle, and in reality, the production standards for tequila prohibit this practice.
However, there are specific styles of mezcal that include this famous insect, though there are no hallucinogenic effects from ingesting it as commonly reported in urban legends!
Make sure to also check out our article best gift ideas for tequila lovers if you are looking for a ‘worm-free’ gift for that special someone