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Tequila and Mezcal
There are at least two Mexicos: the more affluent north and the poor south. Marco Gomez points out the alcoholic differences: "Mezcal and Tequila, two traditional Mexican drinks are very different things, though some people seem to get confused. Mezcal is from the State of Oaxaca and it is bottled with a worm inside. Tequila, which is originally from Tequila, Jalisco does not have a worm".
My comment: Both come from the maguey, and I assume very similar; the two words come from different Indian languages. What is the significance of the worm? Like the Chinese snake in rice wine, it must be a symbol. My guess is that tequila is more common in the US, although confusingly we use the mescal to refer to peyote buttons. Peyote also is a cactus from which the Mexicans extracted an ointment which they rubbed on their legs to endure long walks. It is therefore like coca for the Indians of the Andes, but presumably more powerful, since it can even cause death. Cocaine is more powerful than coca. It is injected. It too can cause death.
Ronald Hilton - 1/15/02