What Kind Of Worm Is In Mezcal Tequila
Those worms are actually the larvae of one of two moth species that live on the agave plant, called maguey worms, according to Anthony Dias Blues Complete Book of Spirits. Con gusano refers to bottles of mezcal that contain these larvae. Gusano larvae are called lil guys and they are called gusano larvae.
How Tequila Differs From Mezcal
Tequila and mezcal both originate from Mexico and are made from agave, a form of succulent that grows in the Mexican desert. Both are widely popular throughout the world, but they arent the same thing.
Here are some key differences:
- Tequila is made with rigid standards. For starters, tequila can only be produced from blue agave, while mezcal can be made from 28 varieties of agave.
- Mezcal is traditionally from Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Michoacan. Tequila comes from the Jalisco region.
- Tequila can either be made in small batches or mass-produced, whereas mezcal is made on a much smaller scale with a traditional process.
- Mezcal takes time to make and age, making it more expensive than younger tequilas.
The confusion is often from the names of silver and gold tequila and mezcal varieties. Not only do these spirits look similar, but the labels can also describe them as white, dorado, reposado, joven, and añejo.
Still unsure if you can tell tequila apart from mezcal? This video outlines the key differences between tequila and mezcal while giving you some great visuals:
A Word On Sal De Gusano
Sal de Gusano, or Worm Salt, is a traditional Pre-Hispanic salt. It uses the same Agave Worms in both the white and red varieties. Sal de Gusano is traditional and pre-dates tequila production.
Sal de Gusano is made using salt, maguey worms toasted and ground, and usually chile.
Sal de Gusano has an earthy and smokey taste that many people cherish. Its an easy way to make a basic meal taste exotic.
Worm salt is used in cooking and as a garnish. Its commonly sprinkled on an orange slice and served with Mezcal.
Sal de Gusano Rojo is the red Chinicuil worm and is highly prized and, therefore, more expensive.
Sal de Gusano Marron can be made using any variety of the Maguey Worm.
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The Worm Isnt An Old Tradition
Well get more into this a little later, but for now, know this: the larvae havent been used for centuries. Mezcal drinkers first started seeing the worm in the bottle around the 1950s, when a young entrepreneur named Jacobo Lozano Páez claimed that the worm made the mezcal taste better.
The gusano isnt some ancient Aztec secret aphrodisiac or way to brew stronger alcohol. Its shock value from the 1940s and 50s.
Are Tequila Worms Hallucinogenic
Im 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, Id 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.
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Eat The Wormwhat Can You Expect When You Eat The Worm
A few well-deserved pats on the back are normal, but you may not realize that you just experienced much more.
First, lets get these myths out of the way. The worm does not give you hallucinations, and it is not an aphrodisiac. The credit here goes to the amount of Tequila or Mezcal a person consumes.
Oddly enough, there are many kinds of gusano de maguey , but only the Chinicuil Gusano is used. This is the red worm. It is highly prized and a more expensive worm.
Chinicuil worms are more than gimmicks added to liquor. Theyre nutritious and considered a delicacy. Theyre included on menus in many fine restaurants. Chapulines are another insect food that Gringos often mistake for spiced peanuts. There are nearly 200 different insects Mexicans consider food, and every one tastes different. People worldwide consider insects as food.
So, when you eat the worm, you are partaking in tradition. The Pre-Hispanic tradition of eating insects. Entomophagy. Something we should all be adopting since eating insects is not only nutritious, but they can be raised humanely in an environmentally friendly manner. Adding insects to our diets makes sense. Its an unwarranted cultural fear thats keeping us from this entire food group.
Why Is Mezcal So Expensive
Mezcal, which differs from tequila in the production process and the agave used to make it, tends to be a spendy spirit, often out-pricing even top-shelf tequilas . This price tag comes from the fact that the agave plants used to make mezcal can take extremely long periods of time to reach their peak.
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Why Do You Put A Worm In Tequila
It was discovered that moth larvae were found in batch of mezcal in the 1950s by a Mexican mezcal maker. Tequila, on the other hand, is a stronger spirit. My marketing strategy is to place a worm in each bottle of mezcal on account of this mezcal maker who believes its presence actually makes the drink taste better.
How To Eat The Tequila Worm
Wondering if the worm in the bottle is edible? As it just so happens, it is. Many regions on Mexico use the worm as a source of food and call it gusano de maguey.You can find a fried version that is used as a snack or chaser when drinking tequila or mezcal.
Want to enjoy mezcal in a more traditional way? Grab some sal de gusano and orange slices. Mexican drinkers top the orange slices with some of the worm salt and pair it with either a neat glass of mezcal or tequila. Alternate bites and sips for an out-of-this-world experience.
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Why Does Tequila Make Me Crazy
Despite the fact that you may have seen people drinking tequila get raucous and overly-energetic, it is a depressant. This is because it is a form of alcohol, or ethanol, which is the same intoxicating ingredient in wine, beer, and other liquors. The alcohol molecule is the same in all types of alcoholic drinks.
Do Any Tequilas Have A Worm
This is unlikely for two reasons: first of all, we all look much better these days, and second, we are very grateful for you. However, the second and far more important reason is that the tequila bottle does not contain any worms. In actuality, this worm is a larval worm of the maguey plant which feeds on the larvae of the maguey moth.
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Im Having A Dinner Party And Id Like To Serve White To Start And Red For The Main Course Is It Ok To Tell My Friends What To Bring
Its perfectly acceptable to tell people who ask what they can bring exactly what you need. If youre planning a dinner and you dont want to wind up with all red wine, then simply tell a few friends to bring bottles of white instead. It can be daunting figuring out what to bring over to someones house when youre being hosted. Giving your guests instructions can actually be extremely helpful on all sides.
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Is It Tequila Or Mezcal
If youve come all this way looking for brands of tequila with worm in it, youre going to be slightly disappointed. There never has been any brands of tequila with a critter at the bottom. Its a misconception. The Mexican spirit that does have a worm in the bottle is called Mezcal. Yes, both tequila and mezcal are similar, so its easy to see how the mistake can be madebut there is no worm in tequila.
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Does The Maguey Worm Larvae Outside Of The Tequila Bottle Have Any Health Benefits
Not really while theyre safe to eat, and delicious in some dishes or fried with pork rinds, the larva doesnt have much nutritional value besides a bit of protein.
So then what does eating a worm do? It tastes good!
In Mexico, there are at least five different ways of serving up maguey worms including frying them with rice and salsa, adding them into hot chocolate or even cooking them into scrambled eggs for breakfast!
The Agave Worm Or Maguey
The notion that it is traditional to put a worm in bottles of tequila is widely believed. The worm in question is said to be the agave worm, which is also called the maguey worm or gusano de maguey . It is also sometimes called a mescal worm. This is not really a worm but the larvae of a large butterfly. Tequila is made with agave and the larvae feed on the plant, so an association between the larvae and the spirit is not surprising.
Why Put a Worm in Tequila?
It is said that this worm is added to the bottle to prove the quality of the tequila and demonstrate that it contains the amount of alcohol it should. In other words, it is evidence of the tequilas proof. Simply speaking, if the alcohol content wasnt high enough, the worm would rot. If the worm is intact or fresh, the tequila must be the real thing!
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What Type Of Worm Is In The Bottom Of The Bottle
The worm in a bottle of tequila or mezcal is also called a gusano or gusano de maguey and its basically just a dried up larvae.
The most common type youll find at the bottom of the tequila bottle are larvae from maguey worms, which grow to about one centimeter in length.
Maguey worms are an edible species of worm technically, caterpillar from the moth family that infest the Agave tequilana plants that tequila and mezcal are made from.
A popular belief says that if you eat the worm found at the bottom of your favorite glass of tequila or mezcal bottles, then you will have hallucinations or even visions in your dreams. But what does eating this really do?
Btw Whats The Difference Between Tequila And Mezcal
Tequila is almost 10x more popular in the U.S. than Mezcal but that is changing as consumers become educated on the nuances of Mezcal.
Mezcal is a distilled alcohol made from a variety of Agave plants. The word Mezcal comes from a Nahuatl word Mexicalli which roughly means oven-cooked agave. The type of agave plant, the kind of oven, and the barrels its aged in effect the final taste.
Tequila is a variety of Mezcal. Its made from a specific type of Agave. The Blue Agave. By law, it can only be produced in the state of Jalisco and a few other minor areas.
Tequila has been commercialized and is now mass-produced in large diffusers rather than ovens.
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Note: People who are allergic to shellfish may be allergic to bugs.
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The Worm In The Tequila Bottle
June 24, 2018 By EricT_CulinaryLore
This article may contain one or more independently chosen Amazon affiliate links. See full disclosure.
I remember a scene in the movie Poltergeist II where Craig T. Nelsons character is chugging a bottle of Tequila. Or was it Mescal? At the bottom of the bottle was a big worm. It reminded me of the catawba worms we used to use as fishing bait, back home. When he reached the end of the bottle, he let the worm slip right down his throat. Even as a kid I remember thinking, what kind of idiot would eat that thing. Of course, I knew something he didnt. The worm was not a regular worm but was some monstrous creature. And it was alive. The character thought nothing of the worm being there because that is normal for tequila. Or is it?
Is the movie accurate?
Can I Eat The Worm
Good news if youve ever been challenged to eat a mezcal worm: Theyre edible. In fact, the gusano appears on its own throughout Mexican cuisine. Its also called the maguey worm, and you can eat it fried, roasted, crushed up into salt and sprinkled on everything from limes to tacos, and more.
When it comes to the mezcal gusano in particular, popular lore insists that it has abilities that verge on magical if you eat it. Consuming one is said to function, alternately, as a psychedelic, an aphrodisiac, or simply as a thing that will make you even drunker than you already are. In truth, the gusano is none of these things sometimes, a worm is just a worm.
However, recent research has found that the gusano does have a bit of an effect on the mezcal itself: According to molecular biologist Antonio De León Rodríguez of the Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica , who has spent much of his career studying mezcal and tequila and spoke to Vice about his research in 2014, mezcals con gusano have a greater amount of unsaturated compounds and unsaturated alcohols such ascis-3-Hexen-1-ol.
Of course, its worth noting that these days, the gusano tends mostly to appear in bottom shelf mezcal the high-end stuff is usually gusano-free. But if you find yourself in the presence of a bottle of mezcal con gusano, go ahead and enjoy yourselfworm and all.
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Should I Eat The Tequila Worm
If youre up for a bit of adventure. Who isnt? According to a trusted Saucey colleague, the worm tastes like chicken. His first advice? Dont down a shot with the worm. Sip the mezcal slowly for its agave flavors and aromas. Second advice? Chew the worm and enjoy the taste on your palette.
For all the over-achievers out there, you can always find a bottle of scorpion mezcal . Dont worry, the stinger and poison are removed, plus, it is FDA approved. Intrepid drinkers only.
The bottom line is, mezcal and tequila are worth enjoying, worm or not. Especially when it can be delivered to me in 30 minutes by Saucey. Enjoy the experience of the spirit first and foremost and eat bugs if the fates present them.
Why Does Tequila Have A Worm In It
Origins to why its 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.
If I were to place a bet on which story is true, Id go for the fact its nothing more than a marketing gimmick. Its 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.
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What Kind Of Tequila Has The Worm In The Bottle
Mezcal is similar to tequila, but it is different from tequila and it has worms only. A maguey worm is actually a larval stage of one of two types of moths known as maguey worms, which live on the agave plant. Anthony Dias Blues Complete Book of Spirits says that this worm is actually an egg.
Why Are These Worms Used In Tequila
Larvae from maguey worms are used in tequila and mezcal because they are actually a natural byproduct of mezcal production, and theyre believed to be necessary for the flavor profile by the mezcal maker.
Though this is largely a myth .
After infesting the agave plant, and then being filtered out from amber-colored agave juice, maguey worm larvae can continue to grow within an enclosed environment inside distilleries or warehouses.
They grow until they become too large and need to be removed before entering the next phase in production usually around two months!
The larval form has enzymes that help break down starches into sugars during fermentation so their use is advantageous as well as relatively common among tequila and mezcal producers who want consistency with their products taste.
They dont necessarily add any major flavor though just something interesting at the bottom of the bottle once theyve served their purpose of keeping the tequilas taste consistent.
It has become more of a cool marketing ploy.
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