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Why does tequila sometimes have a worm?

Contrary to popular myth, there is no historical precedent for finding a worm in the bottom of a tequila bottle. Chalk it up to an old wives’ tale that spun out of control — and then got a serious marketing push. To this day, some misinformation endures about the virility and hallucinations you’ll supposedly get as a reward for your worm-eating bravery.

That doesn’t mean there never was a worm in the bottom of a liquor bottle. It’s just that the spirit in question was mezcal, tequila’s smokier cousin. However, it’s worth noting that only a few mezcal producers used to include a worm in the bottle.

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Some think the worm in the bottle started as a marketing ploy, to get people to drink more mezcal in the 1940s and 1950s. Tequila was flooding the American market and mezcal needed a way to stand out. Unfortunately, the ploy didn’t seem to work, as mezcal remained in relative obscurity to many U.S. markets (until the past decade when mezcal reemerged thanks to the explosion of American cocktail culture). Now mezcal is everywhere, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a worm at the bottom of any bottles. The spirit can easily stand on its own, no gimmick needed.

Does non-alcoholic beer have alcohol in it?

Yes. In the United States a non-alcoholic beer is a brew with 0.5 percent alcohol. So while there isn’t much alcohol, there is still a bit in there. However, it would take a lot of non-alcoholic beers to feel a buzz. You’d have to drink nine to simply reach the alcohol percentage of a normal light beer like Bud or Miller. By that point you would have probably been to the bathroom so many times you wouldn’t be interested in continuing to drink.

I’m having a dinner party, and I’d like to serve white to start and red for the main course. Is it O.K. to tell my friends what to bring?

It’s perfectly acceptable to tell people who ask what they can bring exactly what you need. If you’re planning a dinner and you don’t want to wind up with all red wine, then simply tell a few friends to bring bottles of white instead. It can be daunting figuring out what to bring over to someone’s house when you’re being hosted. Giving your guests instructions can actually be extremely helpful — on all sides.

Got an Ask Adam question? Send all questions to: [email protected]