Terpenes serve numerous functions in plants, from attracting pollinators to helping to repair damage, but many are also bioactive in humans and may have positive health effects, including positive influences on "mood and stress levels.". Stop. So, choosing to drink mezcal every night in moderation may be something to consider. Many people believe it tastes like chicken, but we tried it and found it had a flavor similar to almonds. Yola Mezcal is made of espadn, the only type of agave besides blue agave (which is what tequila is made out of) that can be farmed. Another mention about the worm is in Sara Bowens research Divided Spirits: Tequila, Mezcal and The politics of production. People began to believe that finding one of these "tequila worms" was a . They may be white (Meocuilines) or red (Chinicuilies), and both are an ancient food and taste good. When everyone who has a barn is firing up their still and making mezcal or tequila, how do you get people to buy yours? Especialista en vinos y espirituosos con experiencia en educacin y consultora comercial. In the article, Fausto Zapata, a co-founder of El Silencio mezcal, explains that adding a worm was just a marketing tactic to get more people to try, or be dared to try, mezcal. Does mezcal have a worm? This belief seems to be held by many in the industry, and weve spoken to several users of this website who prefer to re-bottle their mezcal to a smaller glass bottle (like a dram or something similar) once the original bottle gets below that 25% threshold. The red worm is typically considered tastier. I do notice subtle differences; however, Im at the point where I never want to waste my money on any expression that has an acetone, overly alcohol, or leathery smell, from the get go. According to the Mayo Clinic, congeners are compounds that increase the likelihood and severity of a hangover. Mezcal can be considered cleaner and more pure than tequila, especially if the later is mixed with artificial sugar and way to many margarita mixers. Copyright 2023 StillTasty LLC. But reallythe red one and the white one. He says; "If you open your bottles once a year or so and let new air in (assuming you did not drink it all), the mezcal will improve over time. I think that it is linked to the religious parties in the towns in honor of each towns patron saint.. Gusano de Oro was trademarked in 1948, so that happened two years before Adamss claim of 1950. Your shot amigo. "Mezcals with the worm have a greater amount of unsaturated compounds and unsaturated alcohols such as cis-3-Hexen-1-ol.". Any alcoholic beverage after a long, hard day can help you unwind and lift your spirits, but mezcal contains a terpene called geraniol that may have additional benefits for your mental health. They found that limonene did possess anti-tumor effects, but this experiment was limited to cells grown in a laboratory. Have you noticed differences in bottles that have been open for extended periods of time? It was much more mellow and all of the nail polish/alcohol notes had vanished over time, making this an incredibly rounded and balanced Elote. As you stated from my book, I do believe the taste will generally improve over time, but I agree with Judah that this has its limits. While the scientists didn't examine the eugenol in mezcal specifically, it's likely that eugenol from any source would have this effect. The growing popularity of mezcal that is aged-in-glass clearly emphasizes the importance of time on how distilled agave can settle and build structure long after it has left the still. Mexican Appetizers are a Delightful Way to Start Your Meal, What is Mezcal and What You Should Know About That Worm, The Truth About the Tequila Worm in the Bottom of the Bottle. The fat and juices from the chicken add a savory undertone to the mezcal, while collagen from the meat gives it a more "robust mouthfeel.". Chris, Strong notes of green pepper, coffee, jalapeno, lavender, and mint. Or sometimes two. Designed by JOHO Marketing. Mezcalero No. I really appreciate how a good bottle will hide the high alcohol content. We sipped cocktails and thought about what it should be. Interesting and funny that I did kinda the same thing with 4 Rey Campero Espadin bottles of different lots. As pulque researcher Gonzalo Alvarez says, Ive seen and tasted pulque that is prepared with worms, chiles and salt that have been ground together with a mortar and pestle. Oxalates are tiny molecules found in many nuts, seeds, and edible plants. There has never been a "worm" at the bottom of a Tequila bottle. If you're among thefive percent of Americans who identify as vegetarian or three percent who follow a vegan lifestyle, you'll need to do your research before opening up a new bottle of mezcal. It is added to the mezcal during the distilling process and is said to add to . That sap will ferment into delicious pulque. Camille Austin, the global portfolio ambassador for Casa Lumbre Spirits, sang the praises of the agave plant in a 2019 interview with Maxim: "It is a plant that is made up of many organic compounds, or terpenes, commonly known as essential oils, that lend to the herbal, citrus and fruity flavors, as well as the 'magical' feeling we get when we drink mezcal. It's easy to see why it was an apt gimmick for touristsit appears both exotic and traditional, and givesdudes a testing ground for their masculinity. Its a good selling point that it doesnt turn bad like wine. Before the mezcal boom of the 1990's most bottles of commercially produced mezcal that was available in the United States had a worm in the bottle. I dont understand how it locks it up that way, but when it does it seems to give it a really good structure. Mezcal is a distilled spirit made from any type of agave plant. By letting fresh air in every year or so, you are re-energizing the process.. At least one valid email address is required. Worm salt is most commonly used during mezcal tastings but it can also be used for rimming mezcal cocktails and Mexican cooking as well. So it's best to stick with an alcohol that's naturally gluten-free, like mezcal. While they're found in all alcoholic beverages, dark liquors have higher concentrations of congeners than clear spirits. You could probably add a couple of cocktail ingredients to your list of foods you didn't know contain gluten. More mellow. Chris, Still strong aromas. A team of molecular biologists study the chemical composition of mezcal and tequila. Are gusanos a gimmick, a tradition, a resource to maximize flavor or one to mask imperfections in the mezcal? His answer was similar to Mezcal PhD in that he believed that mezcal improved after the bottle was opened. The gusano is there to tell us that agave spirits are and have always been in flux. Antonio De Len Rodrguez, a molecular biologist at the IPICYT (Instituto Potosino de Investigacin Cientfica y Tecnolgica) in San Luis Potos, Mexico,has published a number of scientific papers about the chemical makeup of mezcal. Should the worm be denounced, embraced or just studied to better understand mezcals history? Its common to mix pulque with fruits to make what they call curados, a beverage that would dethrone smoothies as the fitness drink of choice if it werent so volatile. Mezcal is any ol' type of agave liquor. Are your mezcals getting better as they age? However, it does affect the mezcal's flavor profile. In this way the insects will be kept moist and in case the bottle breaks in the mail, there is no danger of the liquid spilling out.. Usually, Meocuilines are cooked in exotic dishes and Chinicuiles are added to Mezcal or mixed with salt (called Sal de Gusano). Well, not exactly. Unfortunately, you'd be hard put to find a bottle of mezcal in the US that has a worm in . If you drink mezcal, you already know it always makes a big impression, whether sipped neat or mixed into a modern take on a classic cocktail like the margarita. "Mezcal just makes you happy," he said. The ovens are deep pits lined with lava rocks that are . After,other producers started to us the tactic as a way todifferentiate themselves from tequila back when mezcal started to gain popularity from Oaxacan tourism.Today, it widely regarded that the producers who use the worm in their mezcal is of lower quality. Search on the internet and one answer comes up pretty frequently: that Jacobo Lozano Paez invented the idea in 1950 as a marketing angle for his brand, Mezcal Gusano de Oro. At best, you may get a little more of a buzz because the mezcal has been absorbed into the worm. She points out the Mezcal brand Gusano Rojo (Red worm) who initiated the adding of worms to Mezcal, when in 1950 a employee got the idea to drop a worm into each bottle as a distinctive touch. Greg is a lover of agave spirits, handicrafts, and barware. So, if you have already bought a bottle of Mezcal with a worm or you are in a party and someone insists you drink it, you may consider these 3 tips: There are always exceptions to the rule and few brands produce with quality, add worms with the singular reason of enhancing their Mezcales with an earthy and fungal vibe. There's often confusion about the difference between mezcal and tequila. The worm gives it flavor, he shared. My theory is that the mezcal with gusano has its origin shortly after the Mexican Revolution, he says. Similar tasting notes but less pronounced. It's an aphrodisiac; it has hallucinogenic properties; it will make you drunker. Tyler and I both have dozens of unopened bottles in deep storage in the back of our closets, saving these special bottles for some unknown future event, probably several years from now. Joyas Oaxaqueas Blanco con Gusano. The worm is a moth larva, gusano de maguey. What I am learning is that it has a lot to do with heads-hearts-tails. Its not in a glass bottle, its in a black small round ceramic bottle with a worm on it. Some wild . 1: Worms In Mezcal Add Flavor To The Drink. But, Im convinced the more expensive bottles (like $150 and up) house mostly only the hearts (the less conengers laden part) for both distillations. In a paper published in the journal RSC Advances, a team of researchers led by Dr. Anees Ahmed Khalil at the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, Pakistan, documented eugenol's ability to prevent oxygen molecules from splitting and to "scavenge" (bind to) free radicals and prevent oxidative stress in the body. Aside from the bottling process, i would suppose this 750ml of mezcal hasnt been exposed to air in ~11 years. The word Mezcal comes from the Nahuatl words "metl" and "ixcalli", which means "oven-cooked agave.". These crystals can disrupt the proper functioning of nerves, connective tissue, the intestinal tract, and especially the kidneys and bladder. Sometimes thats for medicinal purposes, where the adjunct is most often plants; sometimes its for ceremonial or celebratory purposes, where its most often fruits and proteins, such as turkey or chicken. Mezcaleroes are loosing me as a customer Im headed back over to the sweet cooked agave (additive free) Tequila camp. Mezcal owes much of its reputation as a "healthy" spirit to the agave plant from which it's distilled. I have a sealed bottle of Mezcal I gave to my dad 30 years ago. They already know they like that tasty snack. According to him, theres some sound science to the fact that mezcal would change over time, but we wanted some experiential evidence that it would indeed change for the better. Your body just recognizes the difference." Beyond Celiac noted that 18 million Americans have a non-celiac disease sensitivity to gluten. First things first: The "worm" at the bottom of some bottles of mezcal isn't actually a worm, as noted by Vice . "Now we're seeing triple-digit growth. So on October 18, 2019 (seven months later), we performed a blind tasting, where we compared the original bottle with excess-air with the no-air re-bottled mezcal. According to a survey conducted in 2018 by the Mental Health Foundation, 74 percent of Americans felt so stressed they were "overwhelmed or unable to cope." Unfortunately, they didnt taste very good, but maybe they werent really all that enjoyable to begin with? If the specimens have a soft body (such as worms), they wrote in Agricultura Tcnica en Mexico, Volume 1, they should be placed in a bottle with alcohol, tequila, mezcal, or 10% formalin. But if you're one of the many Americans abstaining from gluten, there's no need to give up mezcal. And many are really starting to take notice. In parts of Guerrero, theyll occasionally throw one into a mezcal bottle in the same way the Oaxacans throw in the gusano. It cemented the idea in the male western mind that Mezcal with a worm was in fact, the real Mezcal. And theres a lot of crossover between those two purposes, too. Definitely agree about them being less astringent and rounder on the palate. Fattened on sweet agave nectar, they might be sauted and folded into warm tortillas or toasted and ground up with rock salt and . Mezcal Fun Facts Mezcal is a distilled liquor made from the agave plant. For De Len and his team, the next step in studying mezcal will be to help fight for quality. As all 4 went down in volume over several months the pecking order changed, so the favorite from the beginning fell away to the lesser favorite coming out over time. In 2020 he married all of his loves and created a business bringing amazing pieces from all over Mexico to the United States. A inicios de 2015, co-fund Agavache para promover los destilados mexicanos de Agave desde una perspectiva de identidad cultural y responsabilidad social. Mezcal is a type of Mexican liquor that is made from the agave plant. Like the Vago Elote and the Rey Campero Tepextate, we all found that the Excess-air was our preferred option among the two. Limonene, one of the terpenes found in mezcal, could have cancer-fighting properties. This young white mezcal is also a product of agave Espadin. Its usually a red one, though sometimes youll see the white ones in mezcal. Your email address will not be published. Oaxaca, Durango, Guerrero, Guanajuato, Michoacn, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas are allowed by law. Older commercialized mezcal brands have not deviated from the pack of new generation mezcal producers. Very sweet. Tequila Semantics: Does Tequila Have A Worm In It Is The Worm In Tequila Alive Mezcal with a jar of worms First of all, does tequila have a worm in it? It's free. "It has an aroma and a flavor that people like.". "People say if you eat the worm in the bottle you'll hallucinate," says Reyes. They're actually a common street food in Oaxaca, roasted or deep-fried and served in a tortilla with green tomatoes, lime, and chili. The precious agave juice is too precious to throw away As we know, the heads and tails get mixed back into the 2nd distillations. Traditionally the word "mezcal" has been used generally in Mexico for all agave spirits and it continues to be used for many . While many of the compounds they found were also present in tequila and other alcoholic beverages, they noted that, among the beverages they examined, limonene was only found in mezcal. So we know that time can play an integral role in improving mezcal, but what about other elements, like the amount of air in the bottle and the oxygenation and/or evaporation process that occurs when theres very little mezcal left in the bottle? You'll pick up a gentle smokiness that makes the Mezquila great for adventurous . Nah, that was just some bullshit gimmick, I mean real, artesanal Mezcal made by hand in Mexico. Until 1994, nearly every bottle of mezcal legally exported to the USA had a gusano in it. I mean, the proof is in the pudding/nosing and then tasting ? Farnesol, a terpene in mezcal, may have anti-inflammatory properties, according to a 2018 paper published in the journal Molecules. Notes of chocolate, rose pedals. The best place to find and buy worm salt online is here. And some agavero kept putting off sending in his gusano sampleand then finally drank it? Appreciate the update PhD! 1.It's the best way to drink mezcal as the Mexicans do Just like following a shot of tequila with a slurp of lemon wedge and a lick of salt, reddish spice sal de Gusano (worm salt) is often. His theory was that mezcal would continue to improve until the bottle would get down to about 25% full, at which time he suggested that you should just drink the remaining mezcal because it would start to drastically change (presumably for the worse). Legend has it thatan employee of the bottling plant, Jacobo Lozano Pez, came up with the idea. We all preferred the No-air mezcal as it was a bit bolder and held a strong punch with its various notes and characteristics. Yes, both tequila and mezcal are similar, so it's easy to see how the mistake can be madebut there is no worm in tequila. Lou Bank is the founder of SACRED, a not-for-profit corporation that helps improve the quality of life in the rural Mexican communities where heritage agave spirits are made. One day, no one will be able to con you into buying a bottle of bad tequila for three times what it's worth. I believe you would have found this if you had let your experiment run for 2 yrs or so, maybe less, but 7 months seems too short. Strong tastes of alcohol. Chris, Strong aromas of corn, a bit of nail polish, coffee, and maple pecan. Neither study focused on mezcal specifically, but it looks like your favorite Mexican spirit may be a double-edged sword when it comes to inflammation. According to Anthony Dias Blue 's Complete Book of Spirits, that "worm" is. Huckberrys Entire Sale Section Is an Extra 15% Off. In a 2010 study published in Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology, a team of researchers administered a pure citronellol extract to rats to see what effect it had on the rodents' blood pressure. If you've had kidney stones in the past or are particularly concerned about your renal health, you may not want to drink mezcal every night. Because mezcal sounds like mescaline,. The word "mezcal" comes from the term mexcalli. To begin with, the Mezcal worms are caterpillars and they are a plague of the agave. Most importantly, mezcal mustbe 100 percent agave, while tequila only needs to contain 51 percent agave. It has light density to the drinker's eye with a silver nuance and a pale-yellow color. Fortune magazine reported that sales of mezcal rose 25 percent between 2014 and 2019, according to data fromIWSR, which tracks alcohol sales around the world. For those unfamiliar with the Aged-in-Glass or Madurado style, this refers to the aging of mezcal in glass after it is distilled. The very name of this mezcal, Abacado Con Gusano, means 'Enriched with Worm', and they add that it's for 'for those who prefer the silky texture the agave worm adds to the Mezcal.'. This seems to vary pretty widely, but many have a tradition or practice for dealing with low bottles. Bingo!!! Curious about why you sometimes feel awful the morning after drinking? Contrary to popular belief, the worm in mezcal isn't a worm at all, it's actually a larva. Individuals are exposed to ethyl carbamate largely through drinking alcoholic beverages. And while mezcal is generally less popular than tequila, at least in the U.S., it does seem to be on the rise thanks to bartenders and mixologists experimenting with it in a whole range of mixed drinks, as well as its competence as a little sipper served neat. Chemically, mezcal and tequila are both similar and different, according toDe Len. To maximize the shelf life of mezcal for quality purposes, store in a cool dry area away from direct heat or sunlight; keep tightly closed when not in use. According to WebMD, limonene is also used in alternative medicine to treat obesity and bronchitis, but its effectiveness in treating these conditions has not been scientifically proven. Im not rushing to open my stash of unobtaniums with silicone stoppers, but given whats happened to some of my Bordeaux with dried out corks, its time to open the Marca Negra Dobadan and possibly the older Del Maguey although they have the wax seals. The shelf life of mezcal is indefinite, but if mezcal develops an off odor, flavor or appearance, it should be discarded for quality purposes. Once a bottle of mezcal is opened, the contents may begin to evaporate slowly and some flavor may be lost over time, but the mezcal will remain safe to consume if it has been stored properly. "But one story is that if the worm remains intact in the bottle, the percentage of alcohol in the spirit is high enough to preserve the pickled worm," according to theBeverage Testing Institute. But if you spot a worm in the mezcal bottle, take a pass. This translates roughly to "oven-cooked agave" and refers to the production process of mezcal. He had it on his bar forever. We werent sure. Acetaldehyde is present in a distilled mezcal. Unlike tequila, which can be made with 51 percent blue agave and 49 percent added sugar from other sources [that could contain gluten], mezcal is made from 100 percent agave.". But the brilliant marketer who spread the word that mezcal with the worm is different was actually telling a shred of truth, according to science. Once tequila was granted protected status in 1977 (on October 13, if you'd care to celebrate), the worm system was rendered unnecessary. Thats what most of the world thought mezcal was a couple of decades ago, because thats all that was available outside the rural Mexican communities where its made. It is similar to tequila, but has a smoky flavor. However, some people do really enjoy eating the worm and others will be adamant in telling you that the little guy does give you special powers. Don't worry, though; we're talking Mezcal, not math. Much softer and more delicate than the first. Jonny. The mezcal worm began as a way to distinguish mezcal from tequila and was transformed into an added element of . The term "free radicals" gets thrown around a lot these days, but what exactly are they, why are they bad, and how could your choice to drink mezcal every night protect you from them? Mezcal (/ m s k l /, American Spanish: ()), sometimes spelled mescal, is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from any type of agave.The word mezcal comes from Nahuatl mexcalli [mekali], which means "oven-cooked agave", from metl and ixcalli [ikali]. And now, here are five mezcal con gusanos I recommend: For more tips and tricks from the worlds best bartenders, sign up for The Spill, a weekly guide to imbibing all good spirits. Mezcal means "oven-cooked agave", which is how the pina are cooked to extract the sugars that will be fermented and then distilled. As Im sure you can imagine, the toughest part of this experiment was intentionally leaving these delicious bottles on the shelf (even when theyre hidden in the back of the closet). Heres another theory: The Mexican government asked farmers to send them samples of bugs that plagued their crops. The acute inflammation that immediately follows an injury and results in redness, swelling, and pain is beneficial it's how your body protects the affected area and begins the healing process. Shutterstock. Some purists believe the combination of citrus and salt is too intense on the palate if the goal is to savor the nuances of fine sipping mezcal, but this is still a very common botana . Could one of these factors have made the difference? So 7 months was as long as we could resist temptation. Im curious if you recall specific characteristics about your least favorite that changed/improved over time. Of those, slightly more than half (51 percent) reported also feeling depressed, and 61 percent reported feelings of anxiety. In short, the worm that you see in a bottle of mezcal was a marketing gimmick. Yes, some bottles of mezcal include a creepy crawly surprise at the bottom, but no, it won't make you hallucinate if you drink mezcal and eat it. I dont know if this has any correlation to the aging part, but something I am keeping in mind. Very similar, but more mellow and balanced. Jonny. Regardless of the vapors, Id think that tipping the bottles on their side once or twice a year should be enough to keep the cork moist enough to keep a good seal. Theyd each been open for over a year with about 25% of the bottle left. Our personal recommendations are El Cortijo reposado con gusano and Wahaka reposado con gusano. Why is this a false narrative? Maestro mezcalero Eduardo Angeles of Lalocura has a different view. "The only mezcal you used to be able to buy was the one with the worm in the bottle," he said. "Many alcohols have a ton of sugar and other chemicals. Robust. It's a common urban legend that tequila comes with a worm in the bottle. If your bottle has a worm, it will be mezcal, and probably very ordinary mezcal. Crema de Mezcal: A mezcal-based liqueur flavored with fruits, nuts and/or agave . Does oxidation or evaporation make them worse or just different? Mezcal (or mescal) is the same as thing as tequila, but it is not tequila at all. Because the worms are safe to consume, there are no known side effects from eating them. To humans it usually smells like fresh-cut grass; for other species, it's a real-life aphrodisiac. 14 had slight differences from the different aging. In this post, we will try to unearth some more interesting facts behind the best mezcal with worms. All rights reserved. I started to wonder whether the rumors were true. Green apple, pear, and lime-lemon predominate its primary aromas. We poured the four bottles of mezcal into smaller air tight 250ml glass containers. 14, which is an incredible mezcal, was the only bottle that we preferred with little/no air. The race is on." 'That drink can't be rum and coke' Flowers.