3 Recipes for DIY Mezcal Worm Salt

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While the worm found floating in bottles of mezcal is nothing more than a marketing ploy, sal de gusano, or “worm salt,” is actually a real part of mezcal culture. Made from the larvae that inhabit the agave plant, sal de gusano is a spicy-salty condiment traditionally served with orange slices as an accompaniment to glassfuls of the smoky spirit.

You can find sal de gusano for sale in specialty shops and online, but it’s much better if you make it yourself—plus it’ll earn you some serious cocktailing cred (heck, you've earned some just from knowing mezcal isn't tequila). Here, we show you how to make three different types of worm salt (traditional, chocolate and celery) to upgrade your next mezcal sipping session.

How to Prepare a Worm for Sal de Gusano

Step One: Buy a Bottle of Monte Alban Mezcal
Unless you live in Mexico with ready access to wild agave, the best source of larvae is Monte Alban brand mezcal, which includes a worm in every bottle for “authenticity.”

Step Two: Strain Out the Worm
Hold a mesh sieve over a large carafe. Pour the Monte Alban through the sieve until the worm lands in the sieve. Set the worm aside. Use a funnel to pour the liquid back into the bottle and reserve for mixing into cocktails (like this one).

Step Three: Dry Your Worm
Place your larva on a microwave-safe plate and heat the sucker in 10-second intervals until it’s dry to the touch and firm. Make sure not to zap it for too long because it will explode.

Step Four: Dice Your Worm
Dice the worm into the smallest pieces possible to make grinding easier. Now you’re ready to make sal de gusano.

How to Make Traditional Sal de Gusano

Serve this salt with orange slices for dipping and glasses of your favorite mezcal.

INGREDIENTS:
1 mezcal worm, finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp dried Mexican chile, finely chopped

METHOD:
Add all ingredients to a mortar. Using the pestle, grind all of the ingredients together to form a fine, well-mixed salt.

How to Make Celery Sal de Gusano

Use this salt to rim a mezcal-laden Bloody Maria.

INGREDIENTS:
1 mezcal worm, finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp celery seed

METHOD:
Add ingredients to a mortar. Using the pestle, grind them together to form a fine, well-mixed salt.

How to Make Chocolate Cinnamon Sal de Gusano

Dip orange slices in this sweet-spicy mix to enjoy alongside an extra-smoky mezcal.

INGREDIENTS:
1 mezcal worm, finely chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp unsweetened cacao powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon

METHOD:
Add all ingredients to a mortar. Using the pestle, grind them together to form a fine, well-mixed salt.

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