3 Myths About Tequila Debunked By A Food Historian

Everything you thought you knew about tequila is probably wrong.

The infamous worm is never in tequila, only mezcal— while all tequila is mezcal, all mezcal is not tequila.

To be labeled as tequila the spirit must be distilled from at least 51% blue agave and made within a region around the Mexican town of Tequila.

Mezcals, on the other hand, can be made from any of 30 aloe-like succulents and can be made in a number of Mexican states.

“Margarita” is Spanish for daisy, but the drink probably wasn’t named after a woman.

In less than a decade, worldwide sales of tequila have doubled, while sales of premium and ultra-premium brands have shot up by 292% and 706%, respectively.

In recent years, you may have heard of tequila tastings and walked by a new mezcal bar — and wondered about the difference between the two. Or you’ve seen a headline proclaiming that a shot of tequila a day will keep the doctor away.

As a food historian, I hope to debunk some myths and explore some little-known aspects of the Mexican spirit that’s become a global phenomenon.

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