Why Is There a Worm in Tequila Bottles? Answered (2023)

Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Lydia Martin

A floating worm inside your drink is truly disgusting. For sure, you wouldn’t want to drink it.

But have you heard about the infamous worms inside tequila bottles? You’ve probably seen it in the movies, but yes, it’s a real thing. 

How and why is there a worm in tequila bottles? Keep reading to know the answer.

Why Do Tequila Bottles Have Worms?

El Jimador Blanco

To clarify, tequila bottles don’t have worms; mezcal does.

Some people began seeing this as a purely marketing strategy. Mezcal makers used gusano moth larvae as a gimmick so that people would drink mezcal. 

The Mexican legend says you will see visions or have supernatural powers if you eat the worm. But that’s all rumors, and none of it is true.

Other manufacturers began adding worms to ride on the popularity.

Other Possible Reasons

Improves The Agave’s Taste

In theory, a mezcal maker named Jacobo Lozano Páez found out that the larvae improve agave taste when added to mezcal.

Distilling the agave plants can produce tequilas and mezcals, but there’s a difference.  

A bottle must have 51% blue agave at least to make a true tequila (agave tequilana). In comparison, mezcal can be made from a blend of one of 250 types of cactus-like succulents as considered tequila. 

With that, tequila is a kind of mezcal, but mezcal is not tequila, and only mezcal has worms.

Since worms live and feed off the blue agave plant, it is speculated that the worm changes the taste of agave in mezcals. But are mezcals stronger than tequilas?

Brings Good Fortune & Strength

Tequila Shot Glasses with worm

The tequila worm, or moth larva, is called gusano de maguey and is said to have powers.

Traditional stories have told that the insect could impact virility or bring good fortune and strength.

And according to folklore, whoever finds that gusano inside the glass bottle is lucky.

Serves As Evidence Of The Alcohol’s Potency

Tequila Bottle with worm

In a book written by Anthony Dias Blues, he claimed that maguey worms are evidence and indication of a mezcal’s potency. It is rumored to have positive proof when in contact with the worm. 

Although to do this, the spirit should have a high percentage of alcohol to pickle the gusano enough. The higher the percentage of blue agave plant used, the finer the bottle.

When Did They Start Putting Worms On Tequila?

Worms on tequilas are never found, according to Heriberto Oviedo, an expert or sommelier for tequila.

There’s confusion with mezcal and tequila. And the worm you see is in mezcal, a tequila’s sibling agave spirit [1].

However, worms on mezcal started appearing in the 1950s. From then, some other mezcal makers hopped on the trend.

Read: What’s the Cheapest Tequila For Shots?

Is The Worm Alive?

Worm in someone's mouth

No, the worm inside the bottle of tequilas isn’t alive. And to make it right, it isn’t a worm, but a moth larva found in the agave plant. It is a common misconception. 

The little larva could have been a beautiful Mariposa if they had not drowned them in the bottle. In or out of the mezcal bottle, those worms or moths are regularly eaten in Mexico.

Here are some hilarious tequila jokes

Do They Still Put Worm In The Tequila Bottle?

No, they don’t put worms in the tequila bottle but probably partnered with a tiny pack of flavored worm salt. Tequilas don’t contain the worm, and it contradicts popular belief. 

Also, the Mexican Standards Authority prohibits adding insects to the bottle of tequilas. [2]

But if you’d find one, it’s in a mezcal bottle, and they’re usually in the lowest priced merchandise in a manufacturer’s line.

Can You Eat The Worms In Tequila Bottles?

Tequila in a glass with worm

You can eat the worms in tequila (mezcal, actually) bottles. If you’re curious and up for an adventure, go for it.

Mexicans and people who have eaten the bugs say it tastes like chicken. Also, it is not crispy and crunchy but chewy in texture when you eat it.

Chefs in Mexico incorporate these into some delectable dishes. In fact, fried gusano makes a great pair for tequilas. 


Will you get sick if you ate the worms in tequila bottles?

No, you will not get sick if you eat the worm in bottles of tequilas. One tequila worm is pretty small, and if you swallow the whole piece with the drink, you might not have even felt it in your mouth.

But if you decide to chew it, it can be gross, especially if you’re not into exotic foods. 

Do all tequila bottles have worms?

No, tequila bottles don’t have worms. It’s all one big marketing gimmick to help bottom-shelf brands sell mezcal.

There used to be myths that the tequila worm brings special powers, but none of those stories is true.

In Conclusion 

Since we’re busting myths, there’s no worm in the bottom of tequila bottles, but most probably in mezcal bottles. And the larva found in mezcals will not give you any superpowers. 

And if you start seeing things after drinking and eating a mezcal worm, it’s probably the alcohol spirit in the drink that kicked in, not the worm.



Lisa Dimarco

Lisa is a freelance lifestyle writer specializing in nightlife, leisure, and celebration. She has been in the field for eight years and has written articles featured in various local blogs and lifestyle magazines. For Lisa, there’s nothing better than an ice-cold drink after a rough day (she’s not fussy). But she also likes to get a bit fancy every now and then. She believes you can never go wrong with a Moscow Mule or a classic Daiquiri anywhere you go. Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.

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