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The Infamous Tequila Worm

Updated on January 14, 2016

What's with the worm?

That's a REAL tequila worm in an old tequila bottle that was given to me.
That's a REAL tequila worm in an old tequila bottle that was given to me. | Source

Tequila

Tequila Production

Before we jump right into the "about the tequila worm", let me explain quickly about tequila itself.

Most often made at a 38–40% alcohol content, tequila can also be produced between 31–55% which comes at a higher cost. Mexico has been granted international right to the word "tequila" and with the United States also recognizing that tequila can only be made in Mexico. Tequila is one of the more popular drinks served in a shot glass in every bar, tavern, tap, pub & club in the world. However, in past agreements, tequila can now be shipped by bulk and then bottled in the United States.

Not only is tequila made specifically in Mexico, but by Mexico law, it can only be produced in the Mexican state of Jalisco and in some limited regions in the states of Guanajuato, Michoacán, Nayarit, and Tamaulipas. This is mainly because of the efforts of Don Francisco Javier (grandson of Don Cenobio Sauza, founder of Sauza Tequila) who claimed that "you can't make tequila without the blue agave plant". The Mexican authorities are really strict and thorough when enforcing and inspecting tequila distilleries and distribution companies, more than what most people think.

Tequila is made from the blue agave plant, which can be found around the city of...where else?
Tequila, Mexico.

The blue agave plant is grown in the blue volcanic soil in the highlands of Jalisco, or in the lowlands of Guanajuato. The blue agave plant in the highlands give a sweeter taste and aroma, while in the lowlands it tends to be more "earthy" in taste and smell.

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Tequila Worm Myths

The tequila worm started in the 1940s as a marketing gimmick
The tequila worm started in the 1940s as a marketing gimmick | Source

The Infamous Tequila Worm

Tequila Worm Origin:

The sad fact is that the tequila worm is nothing more than a gimmick.


It's been a misconception that "true" tequila comes with a worm...sorry, this is just not true.

Only certain mezcal tequilas are found to have the worm laying at the bottom of its bottle. Mezcal tequila, however made with the maguey plant (a form of the agave plant), it's considered to be a lower grade of quality of tequila.

Mezcal is to tequila like Cognac is to other brandies.

Mezcal tequila is made from the hearts of the maguey plant and sometimes a worm (it's actually the larvae form of a moth) gets accidently thrown and mixed in during the distilling process. Finding a worm on a maguey plant indicates an infestation of the Hypopta agavis (the moth).

Although tequila with a worm indicates a lower-quality of tequila, it has been marketed as a delicacy which, of course, brings a higher value to that particular brand of tequila.

The most common way tequila is served is straight up. It has a bit of a bite to it, however, it has been said that to reduce "the bite" tequila brings just add salt and a lime wedge. This can also be served with a shot of tequila (sometimes called "with training wheels"), all you have to do is ask.

How to:

  1. Lick back of your hand and sprinkle salt over it until a lot of salt sticks
  2. Have your shot of TEQUILA ready along with a lime wedge
  3. Lick salt off your hand, take shot and immediately bite down and suck on lime wedge

Finally, people are also under the misconception that the tequila worm can give a psychedelic feeling, as if one were on an acid trip. This is also not true.

The only benefit one gets when receiving and eating the tequila worm is good luck - that's it.

Here's how you do it: You and your friends sit around and drink a bottle of tequila that has a worm in it. The person who finally gets the worm in their shot glass wins.

Hooray - that is until tomorrow morning!


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    • James Peters profile image
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      James Timothy Peters 4 years ago from Hammond, Indiana

      Thanks for the comment! I was shocked to hear that tequila with the worm is a lower quality tequila. Because of smart marketing, the tequila worm "is what it is".

      Thank you again!

    • J.S.Matthew profile image

      JS Matthew 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Very interesting. I work at a liquor store and we do have a tequila with a worm in it. I thought it was illegal but it isn't. That particular brand (as you mentioned) is cheaper and is not 100% Agave. There are many tequilas out there but I do believe you get what you pay for. Interesting read. Up and shared.

      JSMatthew~