There's the worm in there! Actually, worms and food don't go very well together. You can find out here why you shouldn't call the health department if you have a tequila bottle with a worm in front of you.
Is there a worm in every tequila?
A bottle of alcohol with a worm is tequila, more precisely mezcal , which is relatively unknown in this country. Both tequila and mezcal are made from agave, but only the Agave tequilana variety, also known as Blue Agave, can be used for tequila. For mezcal, on the other hand, over 30 types of agave come into question, which influence the individual taste. So the following applies: every tequila is a mezcal, but not every mezcal is a tequila.
However, as you have probably already noticed in the beverage market, a tequila with a worm is not the standard. Most of the time, a tequila or mezcal with worm is a rather high-priced product that can mainly be obtained from online shops such as Pacific & Lime .
Why does a worm swim in tequila?
How it came about that original tequila from Mexico is supplemented with a worm is not entirely clear. There are assumptions that this was originally intended to be a special quality feature. If mezcal or tequila contained a worm, it was taken as proof of the purity of the alcohol because the worm hadn't broken down like it would if there was too much methanol. Too high a dose of methanol can cause blindness in humans and can even be fatal. However, it is not the methanol itself that is so harmful, but the metabolites that are formed during the breakdown of methanol. However, since a dead worm no longer has a metabolism, it is not suitable as a warning quality guard.
Other myths claim that the worm in tequila is an impotence-enhancing drug or that it has hallucinogenic effects. It probably goes without saying that these theories are scientifically untenable.
The assumption that the worm in tequila was originally a unique selling point sounds more realistic. Due to alcohol shortages, many Americans broadened their alcohol horizons during World War II and also discovered tequila for themselves. At that time, however, Mexican distilleries often had no brand names or bottle labels for their products. For example, American consumers had trouble recognizing a tequila or mezcal they thought was good. Manufacturers from Oaxaca are said to have added a worm to their products so that they stand out from the competition.
However, the real reason for Mexican tequila with worm is probably a marketing strategy. The leaves of the agave are often attacked by caterpillars. When these leaves are used to make mezcal or tequila, the flavor of the distillate changes. Jacobo Lozano Páez, a Mexican mezcal producer, realized this in the 1950s and made a virtue out of necessity. Instead of discarding caterpillar-infested leaves, he relied on the unique taste and placed a worm in each bottle to identify it.
What's that worm in tequila?
Red worms have the scientific name Chilocuiles. This is a moth larva that eats through the roots and stalk of agaves. An infestation can be recognized by a sticky coating on affected areas.
Tequila with a worm - can you eat it?
First the most important thing: The Mexico Tequila worm is completely harmless to health. When making tequila with worms, care is taken to ensure that the insects are cleaned and free of pesticides before they end up in the bottle, otherwise you wouldn't be able to drink the tequila with worms. It is doubtful whether the dead caterpillar, which has been swimming in alcohol for some time, is a culinary delight.
In Mexico, eating the tequila worm is sometimes considered a tradition, but its origins are unknown. In general, insects are a common part of the menu in many other cultures. In our country, however, they are not usually considered food, so eating the worm is perhaps best placed in the dare category.
How is tequila drunk with worm?
Incidentally, this drinking variant is not found in Mexico, although a small bowl of salt and limes are certainly served with a tequila. However, this serves to open the taste buds, the alcohol is still drunk in small sips.
And how do you drink mezcal?
In Mexico you can order a "Sal de Gusano" with a Mezcal. It's a bowl of spices, consisting of chili, salt and - there they are again - ground caterpillars. A piece of fruit, usually an orange, is usually served with it.
Are you curious and want to convince yourself? Wondering where to buy tequila with worm? At Pacific & Lime we have a large selection of top-quality mezcals and tequilas for you, both with and without worm. Decide for yourself whether worms and food go well together in this combination or whether the worm is more likely to be in it!