The legend of tequila with worm

The legend of the worm in tequila is a popular urban legend. In fact, however, it is false, because traditionally a worm is never put in tequila, and according to Mexican law this is also not allowed.

The legend of tequila with worm
© Photo by Oberholster Venita on Pixabay

But caterpillars or worms are sometimes added to the agave spirit mezcal and sold "refined" in this way. By the way, mezcal is the generic term for spirits distilled from agaves in Mexico. So every tequila is automatically a mezcal, but not every mezcal is also a tequila.

The story of tequila with a worm goes back to a marketing stunt from the 1950s. While experimenting with different agaves, Jacobo Lozano Páez noticed that the mezcal tasted different each time. However, this was not related to the different agave varieties, but to the infestation of the agave leaves with the caterpillars of the thick-headed butterfly (Aegiale hesperiaris). This gave Jacobo the idea to sell the special mezcal with a pickled butterfly caterpillar (Gusano del Maguey) in the future.