Dear Rabbi Simon
I recently acquired a bottle of tequila (the Mexican spirit distilled from the agave plant) of the con gusano variety. I am not planning to consume the worm, but can I drink the tequila in which it is preserved?
I wanted to get back to you about the worm lurking in your tequila (actually mescal, of which tequila is a variant).
The mescal itself is fine to imbibe (but skip the larva). The reason for this is that the worm does not really impart any taste to the spirit, and even if it did, the taste is presumed to be unappealing. (The reason for this Mexican minhag in the first place is obscure in any case. It seems to be essentially a marketing gimmick.)
Nevertheless, I would advise in the future to buy specifically a bottle without the worm (notwithstanding Avot 4:4, (תקות אנוש רמה. I am sure it will taste just as good.
Rabbi Rashi Simon