Mezcal Cupcakes & A Love Story

Once upon a time (ye olde 1990’s), in a land far, far away (Boston), there lived a Girl.

This Girl was in school, getting into life, rocking floral prairie dresses and combat boots to class (whatever – it was a phase).

At the same time, in the same place, there lived a Boy.

This Boy was also in school, getting into life, rocking a mullet to class (whatever – it was a phase.).

The first day of class rolled around and Girl showed up in style, red prairie dress flowing, combat boots polished. Boy was already seated in the back row, mulleted locks glistening.

What was this? The desk next to Boy was available. Girl took it. Cue the shy conversation and sidelong glances.

Class ended and Girl worked up the courage to invite Boy to her next 90210 viewing party. Just keeping it cool, classy and sophisticated-like.

Boy accepted.

Girl scurried off to plan a 90210 viewing party.

The night of the party arrived, and so did Boy, proffering a brand new bottle of mezcal.

And guess what? This bottle had TWO worms in it. Two worms for two silly people. It must be fate.

Girl needed to bring this one home. She was smitten. She suspected Boy was too.

What to do?

She had it! Girl challenged Boy to a Mezcal Sipping Contest. Just keeping it cool, classy and sophisticated-like.

Never mind that Boy was a hockey-playing fraternity brother who had over 100 pounds on her. Never you mind!

It’s really just simple math:

(1 dumb Girl with mezcal breath + 1 particularly fetching prairie dress)2 agave worms = 1 impressed Boy


Several hours, several sips and two agave worms later, Girl was admiring all of the pretty stars underneath the coffee table. Just -say it with me- keeping it cool, classy, and sophisticated-like.

And let’s just keep this Elegance Train chugging away, shall we? Let’s continue to argue with Boy that you clearly won the Mezcal Sipping Contest, even as your pity-taking roommate gently tucks you in to bed. Clearly. Naturally. Elegant.

Flash forward to the next morning. Girl is experiencing a particularly lovely blend of worm breath and self loathing. Was she really that stupid? Duh. Yes.

But, ho! What’s this knock at the door? It’s Boy! Holding a bottle of Advil and an invitation to lunch!

It must be love. And it was.

Many more years and much less mezcal later, Boy & Girl are living happily ever after.

They may or may not have shared a little mezcal last night, the night of their 13th anniversary. But one thing’s for sure. They’re still just doing their best to keep it classy, cool and sophisticated-like at all times.

The End.

A note on mezcal & these cupcakes:  Mezcal, or mescal, is a distilled spirit made from the heart of the maguey plant. While maguey is a type of agave plant, mezcal is not the same thing as tequila; in fact, tequila is a type of mezcal that is made only from the blue agave plant. Most mezcals are produced in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, and Oaxacan mezcals are often bottled and sold con gusano, or with an agave worm. These worms are the larval form of a moth that lives on maguey plants, and are meant to be eaten with the mezcal.

While I did include mezcal in these cupcakes, I could not bring myself to include actual agave worms, hence the gummy worms. A good quality mezcal (I was able to purchase this bottle for $20) has a lovely, smoky flavor with notes of citrus and earthy spice. The flavor and aroma of the drink does come through in these cupcakes, but it is not overpowering. You can absolutely substitute tequila for the mezcal, or, if you would like to omit the alcohol all together, simply use orange juice or double the buttermilk. Either way this is a fun, simple cupcake recipe that goes very well with the peanut butter frosting. Enjoy!

Mezcal Cupcakes Con Gusano & Peanut Butter Frosting

For the cupcakes:
3/4 c. dark brown sugar, tightly packed
3/4 c. white sugar, granulated
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
3 large eggs
3/4 c. buttermilk
3/4 c. mezcal (see note above for substitution suggestions)
2 1/2 c. self-rising flour

For the frosting:
1 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 c. smooth peanut butter
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/3 c. heavy cream
gummy worms for finishing

Preheat oven to 350°.

Line standard-sized cupcake molds with paper liners and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the shortening and sugars together. Add the eggs, which should unify and smooth out the mixture. Beat in the mezcal, buttermilk and flour, mixing until you have a uniform batter. Fill each mold approximately three quarters full and bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Set baked cakes aside to cool.

Meanwhile, beat confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, softened butter and vanilla extract together in a large bowl. Once all of these ingredients are well-blended, add the cream and continue beating until smooth.

Generously frost the top of each cupcake and finish with gummy worms.

YIELD:  22 cupcakes


  1. 40


    Maybe you don’t need to hear this again, but this post deserves it. Really cute story! Congrats on your anniversary. I’m also really glad you left out the real worm eating part….Don’t know if that would have been too cool, classy and sophisticated-like. But who I am to judge? ;)

  2. 39

    elisa says

    Can I just say, I can’t take much more of you anymore? This is by far one of my favorite stories. And you cracked me up with your Frito addiction confession. I can believe your husband sold you out on your perfume of choice. I hope the guilt trip you gave him was a long one. :)

    Anyway, thank you for the laughs. I thoroughly enjoy your blog. You have a great mix of story telling, pictures, and recipes that keeps me coming back. Keep it up!

  3. 38


    What a cute story! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Congrats on 13 years that is just fantastic! Your cupcakes are just too cute with the worms on top to signify the worm in the liquor. Too cute!

  4. 37

    Mary says

    What a fun and beautiful story – I loved it, especially the part when A. shows up the next day with Advil! Question for you: does A. still have that mullet? Ha! Happy Anniversary, again, to two awesome people!

  5. 34


    Wonderful story and Happy 13th anniversary! I wish you many more wonderful years.
    Your cupcake recipe is so unique, I had to save it. Never tried Mezcal, but I have been inspired by your post. Well done. I am sure I will be seeing this in the top 9!

  6. 30


    I love the story of the boy and girl. I’m glad they are still living happily ever after. My husband and I also met with booze bringing us together :) Those cupcakes are a great way to say happy anniversary!!!!

  7. 23


    Love it! That is a great story to pass on one day!! (you, know, to people over 18….) The cupcakes look lovely and the worm on top is just perfect! Happy anniversary!

  8. 22


    How cool is it that you just managed to combined all of my favorite things in one post? Love stories, booze, cupcakes, BOOZY CUPCAKES, and gummy candy. I knew I liked you. Hope that mezcal drinking went well last night : )

  9. 21


    Having just graduated from college myself, I laughed the whole way through this post. The outfits and hairstyles may have changed (I’m not necessarily saying for the better…), but there are some things that will never change. I never did try wooing a man through a drinking contest though…perhaps that would explain a lot…

    While the whole agave worm thing freaks me out (just to be honest), these cupcakes do look pretty darn good! I may have to try them out sometime soon.

  10. 15


    aww this is adorable! and the cupcakes look delish. ps i’m pretty sure i thought combat boots, prairie dresses and brenda walsh were the three coolest things in the world in the 90s…

  11. 9

    Monica says

    Hi there, Pete’s sister. Been lurking in the shadows for months now, but thought I’d say hi, and happy anniversary!

    These cupcakes sound deeeelicious. A thought: since a smoky, spiced flavor is the kicker here, I suppose a reposado, or better yet, an anejo, would be the best tequila substitution, yes? I’d imagine a blanco would get lost in the mix.

    Looking forward to meeting you over Thanksgiving…and happily tasting anything you feel inclined to whip up :)


    • Meagan says

      Monica! You are so sweet for commenting! A. and I are really looking forward to Thanksgiving as well, and not just because the mezcal will likely be flowing like rainwater.

      In regard to your question (You know your tequila, girl! I’m impressed.), I absolutely would go with an aged tequila as a substitute for the mezcal in these cupcakes. The woody flavor and smell of an añejo is a very good match for mezcal, and would be really lovely with the peanut butter frosting.

      I hope this helps! Hugs, Meagan (I just messaged you!)

  12. 4

    Kimberly says

    I love this story and the stylings in the pics. I’m not entirely sure about the cupcakes. I don’t think I was even paying attention to the cupcakes, sorry. But, that is an adorable story.

  13. 2

    Judy Micozzi says

    LOVE that story! Of course, I’m going to try those cupcakes, too. I especially love the gummy worms as a garnish.

  14. 1


    These are so cute with the gummy worm on top! I love the cupcakes and the story. And I have some floral combat boots you can borrow. The 90s are totally back.


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