how long can a sealed bottle of Mezcal be expected to stay "good"?

Well, that’s about the gist of the question. A sealed bottle of Mexcal (run-of-the-mill average) will last how long about before cracking the seal is a major mistake?

Dude…there’s a reason they pronounce that stuff “to-kill-ya”.

flashing back to a long ago night at a frat house, where shooting a bottle of that stuff…and eating the worm…seemed like a good idea.


I brought back a bunch of it in '79. Gave it all away except 2 bottles (I don’t like it!). I never open them and Circa 1996 or so I noticed that the “worm” in each bottle had completely disintegrated. Now I have 2 bottles of cloudy yellow gook down in the barroom. Why I don’t toss them is beyond me. It’s not like they give me fond memories or anything. In fact, I don’t remember much of anything about that trip.

Depends on your taste. I wouldn’t keep one more than a few months. The problem with corked tequila bottles is that they tend to be stored standing up and the corks dry out and air gets into the bottle and bad things happen. Mescal isn’t wine and it will never improve in the bottle so it really isn’t meant for long term storage, especially the tourist “worm in bottle” varieties. If you’re asking in survivalist terms, as long as you keep the corks wet and the bottles sealed well, they should last pretty much as long as you do.

Tequila is one of those spirits that people love to hate, but there are many fine varieties that certainly deserve a place among the finest of spirits that are produced.

Clarification needed. Which of these is true:
a) tequila can age in the bottle but mezcal cannot
b) tequila and mezcal can age in the bottle but not improve
c) some other combination

I ask because I was under the (probably mistaken) impression that keeping a bottle of tequila in long-term storage was a good idea.

Neither will improve with age. Distilled spirits can evaporate through a dry cork or broken seal, but they don’t improve with age like some wines.

Tequila is a form of mezcal.

Tequila and mezcal are aged in barrels before being bottled.

This is why Karana gave us Bourbon. Praise to Karana.

Technically, “Tequila” is made only from Blue Agave. Mescals are ususally made from a variety of agave species. They are both spirits and will not improve in the bottle.

To make matters even less clear, whether or not a tequila is aged tells you nothing about its quality or smoothness. Some really foul tequilas are aged and some very nice ones are not. Price is usually a better guideline. Expect to pay $35 to $50 for a decent bottle (something like Patron or Corazon) and $70 to $100 for something special like Asombroso. A decent cheap brand would be something like Sauza Commemorativo which is about $25 around here. I like the cleaner taste of silver tequilas, but many like the more complex flavors of the aged tequilas. It is really a matter of personal taste. Put the cheap stuff in mixed drinks - if you’re going to sip it, spend the money.

Well distilled alcohol does not “go bad,” so I see no reason Mezcal wouldn’t keep indefinitely. It will not improve with age, though.

It’s my understanding that the original reason for putting a “worm” in the bottle was as a sort of quality assurance. If the alcohol content was sufficiently high, the worm would be preserved. If it had been watered down, the worm would decompose.

Cecil has an article about the worm in mezcals – never tequilas.

In the city of Tequila last year, we bought a small, oak barrel and some rot-gut tequila to put inside of it. It improved significantly just from the aging in the barrel, and the reserved control sample was notably worse. But… it still wasn’t a super, top-notch anejo tequila. Aging ain’t everything.

Also in Tequila we happened to go to the Sauza plant. I’m a fan of Tres Generacciones, but Conmemorativo isn’t half-bad for the the price. Anyway, they age their tequila in used barrels previously used for aging whiskey in the United States. Now that they’re owned by Seagrams, I wonder if they’ll change barrels?

There aren’t any additives, by the way – the taste is a result of the pina selection, age, cooking, distallation, barrels, and all that good, fun stuff.

I doubt it. The used bourbon barrels are the industry standard, and Seagram’s owns more than just the gin (Glenlivet, for instance).

My worms were in those bottles for at least 17 years before they fell apart. I’m thinking anything might fall apart after soaking in high proof alcohol for that long.

And if it had been watered down, I wouldn’t care anyhow. Like I said earlier, I don’t like that stuff. Tequila either. BLECH!