Doing the worm – Mezcal the Loco (Crazy) Tequila

Doing the worm – Mezcal the Loco (Crazy) Tequila reviews

Got a bottle of tequila or a shot with a worm at the bottom? It’ ain’t tequila, it’s a close cousin to tequila called mescal.

Sometimes used in the initiation rights of some fraternities, dares and just to prove you aren’t afraid of anything – taking a shot of mezcal with a worm in it is a long standing tradition. However, there is much more to mezcal then the worm.


Mezcal can be thought of as the spicier, more rustic cousin of tequila with a more unrefined, ‘smoky’ taste.  Both tequila and mezcal are made from the agave plant in Mexico and tequila is actually a form of mezcal. The name mezcal comes from mexcalmetl, Nahuatl for agave.

Differences from tequila

By law tequila can only be produced in specific areas around the Mexican state of Jalisco, Mexico and made only from blue agave.  Mezcal, however, is produced from many areas around Mexico (although most come from the Oaxaca region) and can be made from any number of varieties of agave. It is more handcrafted and the actual flavor varies from area to area.

It takes about 7 years for the agave plant to mature and then the heart of the maguey is traditionally roasted in a covered, underground pot.  That’s where the smoky flavor of mezcal comes from.

Drinking mezcal

The traditional way to drink mezcal is straight, not mixed, usually as a shot. If you want to be professional or just flaunt your Spanish, you can say “Arriba, abajo, al centro y pa ´dentro”, (up, down, center and in) before the first shot.

While generally not mixed, adding some salt or eating a lime or orange slice with it are popular alternatives. Just remember to spill a small portion of it onto the ground as an offering to the Mayahuel (the goddess of maguey and the fertility of the earth).

The real McCoy

The traditionalists serve it as a shot with a side plate of fried larvae ground with chili peppers, some salt and fresh lime wedges. Take a pinch of the larvae mixture and place it on the tongue, then *slowly* being to drink the shot, savoring the flavor.

Mezcal is an acquired taste and first-timers can find the flavor… disagreeable. Others think it is the only real man’s drink!

The Worm

The worm at the bottom of some mezcal bottles is an agave worm (called gusano).  There is a lot of folklore surrounding the worm, with rumors of hallucinogenic properties or being a source of great heroism or proof of potency of the spirit and eating it is often made into a ritual of machismo.

The worm actually isn’t very traditional and is really a modern marketing gimmick.  Read the true story of the worm on the Del Maguey web site.

The new party ‘tradition’.. Whoever has the last shot of mezcal in the bottle gets the worm in the shot. Sometimes it is best to agree to this before you know who gets the last shot!

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