Allergy to Tequila/Agave?

I hope this is the right place for this. It’s about a drink, right?

A little background. I’m in my 30’s, and drink moderately. Maybe 2-3 beers once or twice a week, or I’ll split a bottle of wine with my husband. Once or twice a year, maybe, I’ll drink to excess, but just to the point of being unable to drive. I’ve not passed out or thrown up from drinking (other than the incident I’m about to tell you) since college. For some odd reason, until a couple of months ago, I’d never had tequila.

This night, back in August, I went out with some friends to a bar that had $2 margaritas. I had maybe 7 drinks total, two of which were margaritas, five of which were beers. By the end of the night, I was quite stumbly, but not falling down drunk. When I got home, I threw up until I thought I was going to die. I was a bit surprised as I’ve only ever thrown up from drinking twice before in my life, and both times I’d had much, much more to drink than that. The weird thing was afterwards. I felt awful for a week. Tired, weak, slightly nauseous. I lost about 8 pounds because I didn’t want to eat anything.

Then this Sunday, I was out with my neighbors, and one of them bought me a margarita. I drank about half of it, maybe 3-4 ounces total. That was the only alcohol I had all weekend. It made me really light-headed, and today, Tuesday, I still feel kinda crappy, a milder version of my week-long hangover.

Needless to say, no matter what I hear on here, I am never drinking anything containing tequila ever again. I’m just wondering if anyone has, or knows anyone who has a sensitivity to tequila or has experienced something similar. Some people will probably say that I just had too much to drink, and while you’re right, what interests me is the fact that the way I felt afterwards was so disproportionately bad, compared to how drunk I was.

(I know that most of you are not doctors.)

Yes, it’s entirely possible that you had a reaction to something particular to tequila.

My wife is allergic to hazelnuts which we found several bars/restaurants were garnishing their margaritas with.
However, your symptoms don’t sound like an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions are ususually congestion, itchy nose/throat, swelling of throat/eyes, rash, hives, etc.

Yeah, I was thinking as I was typing it out, “Self, you know that’s not an allergy.” It annoys the hell out of me when people use “allergy” as a catch-all for, “has unwanted effects.” Not sure why I still put that.

Thanks for the input, you two.

To the OP: for comparison, how well or poorly do you do with rum? Does a frozen daiquiri hit you as potently as a margarita? Both rum and tequila are “sweet” hard liquor, so it may be that that spectrum of booze is more potent for you.

Whether it’s an allergy, an intolerance, or some idiosyncratic thing peculiar to you, you hit the nail on the head when you decided no more tequila for you. If it causes a problem just avoid it.

Tequila hits a LOT of people hard – in fact, I think it’s darn near universal knowledge amongst drinkers that tequila hangovers are among the worst. I’ve never had anything close to what you’re describing, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt worse than the morning after doing about 1/3 of a bottle of tequila shots.

squeegee No, I’ve never had a problem with rum, or with any other hard liquor. I’ve had hangovers from too much rum, or vodka, or bourbon, but nothing out of the ordinary.

These were margaritas on the rocks, right? That’s a pretty decent amount of tequila there – especially if it’s not your usual drink.

Having a sensitivity to a particular type of alcohol isn’t unheard of…for instance, my grandmother and my mother develop headaches from rum. (My mother also had an “encounter” with whiskey in her younger days; simply smelling the stuff now is enough to make her feel shakey and nauseous.)

You can have allergies to just about any natural substance; agave is natural.

But cheaper tequilas aren’t made with 100% agave. And cheap margaritas can include other liquors–like Everclear. Even if the tequila wasn’t the main culprit, your brain associates the taste with a bad outcome.

You may be lucky. When out drinking, somebody at the table can suggest tequila shots. After everybody has already had a few drinks of whatever. Chugging a few rounds of tequila can really make you wish for death. Bad tequila is worse, but quantity is the real problem. Too much excellent tequila can make you sick, too. And waste a bunch of good tequila! (In Jalisco, home of Tequila, the drink is often served in shot glasses–to be sipped slowly alongside grapefruit soda or another non-alcoholic beverage.)

Whatever the reason, nobody should argue with your decision that Tequila is Not For You.

I’ve know hardcore alcoholics (since sober) who wouldn’t get near tequila. I figure if they had problems with it, people who would drink anything if it had alcohol in it, I better watch out!

I’ve posted this before: I have never been drunk on terkillya, but I have been batshit crazy on it.

Except for one time when I drank too much whisky, the worst drunk sick I’ve ever gotten consistently was on tequila. I’ve had other liquors many times before, but tequila always makes me sick. I can’t even smell it now without getting a headache.

I had a VERY similar experience.

I drink often on weekends, and I know my limits very well. When I want to consciously go over them, I am aware of that, and do so with the acceptance of the hangover consequences. I’ve thrown up maybe twice from drinking too much (sans tequila).

The first time I had tequila, I thought it was just one of those nights. I threw up quite a bit and passed out immediately after. I could count on my hand what I drank, but I figured it was just the combination of different alcoholic beverages, an under-consumption of food, etc. The next time I had tequila was the same deal; I had taken Dayquil earlier, went out to the bar, and spent the rest of the night very sick, simply thinking it was the medicine.

I never actually liked the stuff, so I stayed away from it, but the next time I had it, I was throwing up violently, but I hadn’t actually drank that much. That’s when I knew something was weird. What actually tipped me off was most recently. I went out to a bar, had a few cocktails, but the amount to get one in a good place, but by no means drunk. I then took a shot with friends, not thinking if the shot would be tequila. The next thing I know I’m waking up with a sore on my head. Apparently a little while after taking the shot, I was talking to a friend, then literally fainted–fell back like a straight board, hitting my head on the ground. I came-to (cannot remember this), and was escorted to a friend’s house where I proceeded to throw up for three hours before finally sleeping. I realized then that I might have an allergy to tequila.

The two times I’ve thrown up in non-tequila related incidents, it’s been one trip to the bathroom, done, and continue on. But with tequila, it literally lasts for hours, and I’m left feeling weak and unsettled.

The reason I say allergy and not intolerance, is because I actually do have a nut allergy. The symptoms are different, I guess, but I’ve heard (though unsubstantiated) that there may be a correlation between nut allergies and agave allergies.

Either way, I completely sympathize with the tequila problem.

Actually, it may very well be an allergy. Food allergies often cause nausea and vomiting. If it occurred every time someone drank tequila I would say that it’s definitely an allergy. It may have been food poisoning from something eaten during the weekend, as well. It’s hard to tell when the tequila was only imbibed one time.

Food allergies can have different sypmtoms, such as nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. Being sick for a whole week, however, is what makes this case sound more like food poisoning.

Every time I drink tequila, I break out in handcuffs.

Maybe there is more information these days than when this was first posted. I have significant allergies to trees, grass, mold, dust mites, animal dander, and just about anything that grows and more (I sneeze to roses and coffee) and multiple antibiotics.

Personally, I only drink a few times during a year and some years none so my journey has been lengthy to figure out problematic (intolerance vs allergy) alcohol related drinks.

For more than a decade I have not been able to drink burgundy and red wines because of the sulfa content with fermentation. Over the years I have not had much desire to drink tequila but never really could figure out why other than it seem to upset my stomach some. More recently, I found myself flushing with rapid heart rate after drinking and within an hour vomiting several times over several hours. In addition, my nose got very congested with profuse mucus which caused coughing, and gaging. I felt so bad for about 4 hours I did not take my Allegra before going to sleep. In addition, I found myself sneezing repeatedly episodically and stopped counting after the first time exceeded 30 in succession. The next morning I woke feeling bad with onset of profuse congesting and mucus which caused coughing and gaging but was able to take my Allegra and felt better within about an hour.

According to my Allergist, when I got RUSH IMMUNOTHERAPY, flushing is an early sign of an allergic response and that was why he gave me epinephrine during that therapy. The response I had recently has happened twice before but this was the most dramatic and lengthy experience. The one thing I know about allergies is if you continue to expose yourself to the allergen there can be severe consequences. Until today, I thought I experienced an intolerance but now realize it is most likely an allergy to some component in the Tequila based on something I read on another website: "Look to see if your Agave is cut with High Fructose corn Syrup. HFCS is made using Aspergillus Black Mold as an enzyme to genetically alter the sugar chains from corn starch " ( With my mold allergy, this makes perfect sense. Good luck to all who suffer from allergies and intolerances.

When I read this post, I imagined the poster sounded like Mort in Family Guy.

Certain brands of tequila (usually cheap ones) have been known to make my face and arms “splotchy.” It’s really embarrassing when, after having a margarita, suddenly my face gets hot, and I know I’m breaking out.

It especially sucks because I love frozen margaritas.