One species, Comadia redtenbacheri, is the popular tequila worm that languishes at the bottom of mezcal bottles. Worms in mezcal are present since the late 19th century and even earlier. In Mexico, it is known as the common red worm, but the worm itself is actually moth larvae, called Gusano maguey because they feed on the Maguey plant. It is actually the agave moth, or what is called the red-eyed moth (Agavi redtenbacheri) in Mexico, a widely used name for a moth species.
If a bottle of mezcal contains the worm, it is described as “con gusano” (“with worm” in Spanish), and if it does not contain worms, mezcal is described in Spanish as “bebe” or “sin gusano” (without worm).
The other species of Worms in mezcal is the weevil known as the Maguey worm, which is called the “caterpillar worm.” In the case of the red and less desirable white variety that mezcal is added to, the caterpillar is usually dyied with a red color.
The agaves are said to have hallucinogenic properties after ingesting agave worms, but these worms are not really moths that live on the agave plant. The maguey plant used in the production of mezcal is actually the moth larva of Comadia redtenbacheri, which has drilled its way into the soil of the plant to use in the production of sal gusano. There are two types of larvae found in agaves, the red worm and the caterpillar worm,
If you study the masculinity and purity of the worm infusion, the Gusano Rojo is probably the better worm to have in the bottle, because it feeds on the mezcal distillation part. Note the worms that get into the bottles begging for larvae that feed on a part of a plant that is roasted and processed into meZcal. In fact, the worm would come from a tree that is only used for Mexican and tequila products meaning it is pesticide-free.
In fact, the worm is enjoyed as a delicacy in Mexico and is even found on restaurant menus. It is believed that the worms in mezcal bottles bottles began in the 1940s and 1950s as an attempt to get people to drink more mezcal. Many took the worm as part of an effort to distinguish mezcal from the tequila that flooded the market.
While some trace the worm’s origins back to Aztec times, others claim it is nothing more than a modern marketing ploy. In keeping with the story and legend, the story is false, according to some natives in Mexico, Americans started eating the worms in mezcal simply to distinguish tequila from other mezcal.
In Japan, drinkers consider the worms aphrodisiacs and demand several worms in their bottles, and some believe they can cause hallucinations. Whatever its origin, the worm was given some kind of power, but then it is also said that worms are given in mezcal because they have medicines such as hallucinogenic effects after consumption. In truth, worms have no noticeable effect on humans as they can absorb some alcohol. To form the bottom of a bottle of mezcal, fatty worms are the least of the problems, so if you eat them, it might give you all sorts of powers.
While worms are often used as a marketing tool for cheap mezcal, worms and salt (sal gusano) are a real part of mezcal culture. When you buy mezcals, you may also encounter worms that are tied to bottlenecks and that can be tied in various ways, such as at the bottom of a bottle, in the bottle itself or even on a piece of paper. In Mexico, you can find worms, salt, sal and even salt like substances bound in a Mezcal bottle.
Rosaluna a mezcal distillery that uses worm in some of their mezcals to bring the tradition of what mezcal really is. This company makes mezcal in Oaxaca the region that can legally produce and distribute mezcal to the world.
Whether you believe that worms belong in mezcal or not chances are you will most definitely enjoy the taste of the smoky flavor of the heart of the agave plant that brings joy to millions of people world wide.