“Always eat the worm.” Thank you US frat party culture for giving me the single most annoying myth to dispel around tequila and mezcal.
There are no worms in mezcal, there are no worms in tequila. End of story.
“But bro I’ve seen them…”
No you haven’t.
“There’s worms in the cactus.”
Sure there are worms in cactuses but agave spirits come from agave and that’s a succulent not a cactus. There will be bugs that eat the sweet agave flesh but there is NO way those bugs, even worms, can get through the necessary processes to make these spirits.
“But you can see them in the bottle.”
Yeah that’s because some pickled larvae, that don’t feed on agave plants by the way, have been shoved in there for marketing purposes! There’s some vague thing about proving alcoholic proof by putting live bugs in the bottle but considering how many ways distillers can check proof, that’s just frankly dumb.
However the idea of using high-proof alcohol to extract health benefits from insects and herbs is hardly uncommon. Cobras in arrack and herbal spirits like Chartreuse or absinthe are obvious examples.
So why a worm, especially that particular worm?
Well it has nothing to do with hallucinating, there’s no discernible health benefits other than a pretty vague belief in its aphrodisiac properties. Personally I think the whole thing is just playing to the bravissimo of idiots in the hope that when they buy a bottle the finish it in one sitting.
Good gamification Don Juan!
Anyway, nothing good ever gets animals pickled in it. Ever. Drink it for fun if you must but just be aware you are drinking something that was made with no care for if you enjoy it, just that you drink it.
Oh and no, there is no worm in tequila.