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Can You Eat the Tequila Worm? Answered (2024 Updated)

Can You Eat The Tequila Worm

Last Updated on February 22, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Some may have seen it personally while others have heard, but there are mezcal bottles that contain tequila worms. And with all the rumors and theories about a tequila worm, one thing is for sure: it started as a marketing ploy in the 1940s. 

Now, the million-dollar question is – can you eat the tequila worm? Scroll down to find out what we have discovered.

Are Tequila Worms Edible? 

Tequila Bottle

Yes, tequila worms inside the bottle of mezcal are edible. Eating it may be gross, especially if you are not into exotic foods but did you know that if you eat the worm, you are also partaking in a pre-Hispanic tradition? 

Whether it is purely a marketing angle aimed at Americans or not, the last shot of mezcal with worms is safe to consume.

The maguey worms came from the maguey plant, one of the agave plants used to make the spirit. 

What Are Tequila Worms?

Tequila worms are actually mezcal worms. The mezcal worm is moth larvae called gusano de maguey, and you can find them in the agave plant.  

There are two types of gusano. The first one is a larva of the beetle Scyphophorus Acupunctatus – it’s a white larva [2].

The other one is a larva of the moth Comadia Redtenbacheri- it’s a red worm from the Cossidae family of moths. 

What Do They Taste Like?

Tequila with wormTequila worms taste like mezcal because they have been pickled in alcoholic beverages for a long period. 

Some people claim it tastes like chicken, but when we tried eating the worm, it had a flavor similar to almonds. Also, it is not crunchy but chewy in texture. 

Nowadays, many people love to pour worm salt (toasted and grounded worm with salt and chilis) or gusano with chili powder in orange, then consume it. 

Is It Safe To Eat Them?

Yes, it is safe to eat the worm. 

What happens when you eat the maguey worm? Nothing. 

There are no proven side effects associated with consuming the larvae, so you can be confident in consuming them.

In some cultures, especially in Mexico, consuming insects are acceptable and part of their pre-Hispanic culture.  

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How Do You Eat It?

To consume a tequila worm, you have to take a shot of the alcoholic beverage with the worm, and you can either swallow it whole or munch it.

If you are curious about the flavor and its texture, you are free to chew the worm.

What’s The Purpose of Tequila Worms? 

worm in a glass

According to research, the main purpose of tequila worms was for a marketing strategy. When mezcals started in America, distilleries had already established tequila production, and mezcals were seen as a lower agave spirit. 

The worms were added to make the people believe that mezcal is a superior drink.

This marketing gimmick made people drink more mezcal, especially in the 1940s and 1950s. 

There are three other theories why distilleries placed the insect inside the bottle of alcohol:

  1. Jacobo Lozano Páez, a distiller in the 1940s, says it changes the flavor of the booze;
  2. It brings strength and good fortune; and
  3. The alcohol is very strong. 

What Tequilas Have Worms? 

There are no tequilas that have worms. Contrary to popular belief, mezcal, not tequila, contains worms. 

Let’s be clear: All tequilas are mezcal, but not all mezcals are tequilas [1], and only mezcals have worms. 

A bottle of tequila can be considered a mezcal since it is made from agave (agave tequilana).

Both tequila and mezcal can be made in agave, but 100% blue agave plant is used for the tequila drink. 

Are These Hallucinogenic? 

worms

No, the worms are not hallucinogenic. If you have eaten the insect and hallucinated, the credit goes to the amount of mezcals you consumed. 

Moreso, the insects, are free of pesticides and other chemicals, so it is not medically proven to cause hallucinations.   

FAQs 

When did they stop putting worms in tequila?

It was the year 1977 when distilleries stopped putting worms in tequila because the spirit was granted protected status. However, there are some lower-ended mezcal spirits with worms that you can still find.  

Will tequila worms make you drunk?

No, tequila worms will not get you drunk. Even if the worms are soaked in alcohol, it is not enough to make you intoxicated. If you take a shot with the worm, you can get intoxicated, but that is because of the shot and not the worms from the bottle. 

Was the tradition of drinking mezcal with a worm already established in Mexico?
No, according to the article, Mexicans themselves never drank mezcal with a worm. The tradition of drinking mezcal with a worm was introduced as part of the marketing strategy primarily targeting the American market.
What was the purpose or intention behind adding the worm to the mezcal bottles?
The purpose of adding the worm to mezcal bottles was to create a marketing gimmick and make people believe that mezcal was a superior drink compared to tequila. The concept of the worm indicating purity or imparting virility or good fortune was a result of marketing imagination.
What was the target market for the worm marketing angle?
The marketing angle of adding the worm to mezcal was aimed at the American market, as tequila was already popular in the U.S. And mezcal needed a way to differentiate itself.
How did Jacobo Lozano Paez come up with the idea of putting the worm in the mezcal bottle?
Jacobo Lozano Paez came up with the idea of putting the worm into the bottle of finished mezcal after realizing that it changed the flavor of the spirit.
Who is credited with starting the tequila worm craze?
The tequila worm craze is believed to have started by a former art student-turned-mezcal entrepreneur named Jacobo Lozano Paez.
According to Henry, who purchased the item in question, he expected its value to increase due to the collectible status of other products released by Elon Musk. One example he mentions is the flamethrower.
However, it’s worth noting that since Henry’s purchase in November 2020, more bottles of the item have entered the marketplace.
Has the online bourbon community influenced the price of Tesla Tequila?
The influence of the online bourbon community on the demand for Tesla Tequila has become a subject of interest. By examining the insights shared by various individuals within the bourbon community, we can form a comprehensive understanding of the potential factors that have contributed to the recent frenzy surrounding Tesla Tequila.
According to Henry, a well-known business traveler who manages the popular @thewhiskywalker Instagram account, it is suggested that the surge in demand for Tesla Tequila may have been driven by collectors within the online bourbon community. These collectors appear to be engaging in hoarding practices and engaging in trades with other speculators on secondary auction sites.
It is noteworthy that Henry expresses doubt that many avid Elon Musk fans are actively pursuing these bottles with the same intensity, indicating that the online bourbon community holds a significant influence over the current demand for Tesla Tequila. While Henry’s perspective sheds light on the role of the online bourbon community, it is important to consider other perspectives as well.
By delving deeper into the discussions and interactions within the online bourbon community, we can gain further insights into their influence on the demand for Tesla Tequila.
Additionally, analyzing data on sales, social media trends, and public sentiment towards both Tesla Tequila and Elon Musk could provide valuable information in understanding the specific impact of the bourbon community on the product’s demand. In conclusion, the online bourbon community may have played a substantial role in influencing the demand for Tesla Tequila.
With collectors hoarding bottles and engaging in trades, it suggests that the frenzy surrounding the product has been driven by these enthusiasts rather than the expected Elon Musk fans. However, further analysis and research are necessary to fully comprehend the extent of the online bourbon community’s influence on the popularity of Tesla Tequila.
Are collectors hoarding and trading Tesla Tequila Bottles?
Indeed, there seems to be a significant number of bottles circulating in the secondary market, indicating that collectors are indeed hoarding and engaging in trades with other speculators.
The existence of these bottles on various secondary auction sites strongly suggests a robust trading activity among collectors.
It is unlikely that the majority of these bottles are being sought after by dedicated Elon Musk fans, as their presence in the secondary market implies a level of demand and scarcity that exceeds what would typically be driven by passionate supporters alone.
Is the value of Tequila expected to increase in the future?
Yes, the value of Tesla Tequila may increase in the future due to a variety of factors such as the demand. Many collectors are also hoarding this type of tequila, and are waiting only for the best opportunity to sell them out.

In Summary 

Yes, it is totally fine to consume the tequila worm. The worm is edible, safe to consume, and will not cause any harm to your health. 

There are different theories on why gusano is placed inside the tequila bottle, but it is clear that alterations in the flavor and magical powers are just glorified name tags.

The real story revolves around the marketing plan and the different identities of mezcals. 

References: 

  1. https://www.foodandwine.com/cocktails-spirits/differences-between-tequila-mezcal
  2. https://bioone.org/journals/florida-entomologist/volume-102/issue-1/024.102.0101/Scyphophorus-acupunctatus-Coleoptera–Dryophthoridae–A-Weevil-Threatening-the/10.1653/024.102.0101.full
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