Zafiro Añejo Tequila from Breaking Bad & Better Call Saul

By: Michael Prentice

Jimmy McGill from Better Call Saul with bottle of Zafiro Anejo tequila

Zafiro Añejo is a fictional brand of tequila that first appeared in the TV series Breaking Bad, season 4. The character Gustavo Fring uses a poisoned bottle of Zafiro Añejo to kill senior drug cartel members. The brand also appears throughout the series Better Call Saul, the prequel to Breaking Bad. It first appeared in season 2 of Better Call Saul which was set in the year 2002.

The fictional brand of tequila was created for Breaking Bad after real tequila brands did not want to be associated with the poisoning.

How much does a bottle of Zafiro Añejo cost?

A bottle of Zafiro Añejo costs $495 retail in 2004, which works out at $820 in today’s dollars. Jimmy McGill goes to buy a bottle of the fictional tequila in a liquor store in season 6, episode 6 of Better Call Saul, and is told the price of $495 by the attendant.

In season 2 of Better Call Saul, the show’s lead character Jimmy McGill and Kim Wexler con another character Ken into buying them rounds of shots of Zafiro Añejo at a hotel bar, and eventually finish the entire bottle. Each shot of Zafiro Añejo costs $50. Jimmy and Kim leave before Ken gets the bill and is stunned to find out the price. This translates to $850 for a bottle based on a 1.5 ounce shot and 17 serves. Add in tip and taxes and Ken just had himself a four figure round.

BUT remember season 2 of Better Call Saul was set in 2002, so in today’s prices it would cost a lot more. Let’s do some quick calculations to see what it might cost in 2024 dollars. After inflation, a shot of Zafiro Añejo would cost $87 in 2024. A bottle of Zafiro Añejo would cost $1479 in 2024 dollars if purchased at a bar.

We can also take another approach to estimating what Zafiro Añejo would cost today. Remember the bar menu described Zefiro Añejo as being aged for 10 years – this puts it right up at the top range for aged tequila. For example, Patron Extra Añejo 10 Anos also has 10 years of age and costs around $350 retail. A quick look at currently advertised shot prices at restaurants for the Patron Extra Añejo provides a range of around $60 to $70.

What kind of tequila is Zafiro Añejo?

Añejo is a class of tequila that has been aged for between 1 and 3 years in oak barrels. Añejo is a type of premium tequila with a longer aging profile than reposados (which have been aged for between 2 months and 1 year). However, today Zafiro Añejo tequila would be classed as “extra añejo” because it was aged for more than 3 years. The term extra añejo was not an official classification until 2006, so añejo is historically accurate. Tequila is made in certain states in Mexico from the blue Weber agave.

The prop menu used in Better Call Saul describes Zafiro Añejo as a “Our Finest 10 Year Old, Handcrafted Certified Organic Tequila”. The price is listed at $50 for a 1.5 ounce shot. The venue is called the Cobre Vista Country Club.

In the TV series the bottle is known to be very expensive and is particularly notable for its elaborate bottle stopper.

Learn more about tequila here.

Tequila in Breaking Bad

In the Breaking Bad episode “Salud,” (the 10th episode from season four) a crucial scene revolves around a bottle of Zafiro Añejo tequila.

Here’s a summary of Zafiro Añejo tequila in Breaking Bad:

Setting: The scene takes place at the hacienda of Don Eladio Vuente, the leader of a Mexican drug cartel. Gus Fring, accompanied by Jesse Pinkman and Mike Ehrmantraut, visits the hacienda after Jesse is forcibly acquired by the cartel for his methamphetamine production skills.

Strategic Gift: Gus brings a gift for Don Eladio – a bottle of Zafiro Añejo tequila, a premium and rare spirit. This gesture of goodwill is part of Gus’s meticulously planned revenge against the cartel.

Exclusion of Jesse and Mike: Don Eladio orders shots of the tequila for everyone present, excluding Mike and Gaff (a member of the cartel). When Don Eladio offers a shot to Jesse, Gus interjects, claiming that Jesse is an addict and needs to remain sober for work.

The Toast and Poisoning: Don Eladio, initially suspicious, is reassured after Gus drinks first. Following Gus’s lead, the cartel members, including Don Eladio, drink the tequila. Unbeknownst to them, Gus has poisoned the bottle.

Gus’s Countermeasure: After the toast, Gus excuses himself to use the bathroom, where he forces himself to vomit, having taken pills earlier to mitigate the poison’s effects.

The Aftermath: Shortly after, the poisoned cartel members, including Don Eladio, succumb and die. Don Eladio collapses into the pool. Gus, affected by the poison but less so due to his countermeasures, starts to falter as he, Mike, and Jesse make their escape.

The scene stands out for its intense drama, character interplay, and the significant shift it represents in the series’ power dynamics. All with Zafiro Añejo at its center.

Tequila in Better Call Saul

Zafiro Añejo tequila plays a recurring and symbolic role in Better Call Saul, marking significant moments in the series, especially in the evolving relationship between Jimmy McGill and Kim Wexler.

Here’s a summary of Zafiro Añejo tequila in Better Call Saul:

Season 2, “Switch”:

  • The Con: In the episode “Switch,” Jimmy McGill and Kim Wexler engage in a playful con against Ken Wins, a character known for his arrogance (Ken also features in Breaking Bad). They pose as siblings who have recently inherited a large sum of money and are looking for investment opportunities.
  • The Tequila: After being invited to drink with Ken, they order Zafiro Añejo, an expensive tequila priced at $50 per shot. This choice also serves as a clever callback to “Breaking Bad,” where the same tequila features prominently in the scene where Gus Fring kills Don Eladio and senior cartel members.
  • Outcome: Jimmy and Kim successfully trick Ken into buying them the entire bottle, which he does, unaware of the high cost. The con concludes with them leaving the bar, leaving Ken to face the unexpectedly large bill. This is the first con that Jimmy and Kim work together.

Season 3, “Fall”:

  • Jimmy purchases a bottle of Zafiro Añejo to celebrate what he expects to be a profitable settlement from the Sandpiper case. However, when Kim is too busy to join him, he shares the tequila with Francesca Liddy instead.

Season 4, “Smoke”:

  • After Chuck McGill’s suicide, Kim retrieves the bottle of Zafiro Añejo. She and Jimmy share the tequila, finishing the bottle together.

Season 6, “Axe and Grind”:

  • In a moment filled with anticipation over their plot against Howard Hamlin, Jimmy is seen preparing to purchase a bottle of Zafiro Añejo. However, he spots something that upends their plan and leaves the store in a hurry, leaving the tequila behind. The bottle of Zafiro Añejo is priced at $495 in the bottle shop.

In “Better Call Saul,” Zafiro Añejo serves as a thematic and narrative element, often appearing at crucial junctures in the story. It symbolizes luxury and deceit, and its appearances coincide with moments of celebration, manipulation, and emotional depth. The tequila acts as a connecting thread between Jimmy and Kim’s relationship, highlighting their joint ventures, both in their legal and less-than-legal activities, and the evolution of their characters over the series.

The story behind the blue bottle

Breaking Bad producers had to come up with their own brand of tequila after attempts at product placement failed. Apparently real tequila brands did not want to be associated with poisoning people – go figure.

The blue tequila bottle that was used in Breaking Bad was a vintage Jenny Lind flask. In Breaking Bad the bottle was given as a gift to Don Eladio by Gustavo Fring. This version of the bottle was plain blue.

In Better Call Saul several different bottles were 3D printed based on the Jenny Lind flask. The design had “Zafiro Añejo” and an image of an agave embossed on the side which were both painted gold.

As they are vintage, Jenny Lind flasks are no longer in production but can sometimes be found on eBay for up to $200.

What does Zafiro Añejo mean?

The Spanish word Zafiro translates to “sapphire” in English. As sapphires are blue, this was apparently also a reference to the blue product produced by the lead character Walter White. 

Can you buy a bottle of Zafiro Añejo?

You cannot buy a bottle of Zafiro Añejo because it is a fictional tequila. But what else might come close?

Tequilas in similar price range

Overly expensive tequilas are getting easier and easier to come by. Some available include:

  • Clase Azul Añejo, $550
    • A bottle of Clase Azul Añejo might be the closest you can get to Zafiro Añejo in terms of overall impressiveness. If you want to go extra impressive you could go for Clase Azul’s extra añejo but this goes for $1800-$2000.
  • Don Julio 1942 Última Reserva Extra Añejo, $600
    • When Jimmy McGill goes to buy a bottle of Zafiro Añejo in season 6 it’s on the shelf next to the añejo Don Julio 1942. Get the extra añejo instead.
  • Don Ramon 25th Aniversario Extra Añejo, $900
    • If you like your tequilas with some extra sparkle, check out this Swarovski crystal embellished offering from Don Ramon.
  • Gran Patrón Piedra Extra Añejo, $650
    • Based on the price of a shot in 2002, Zafiro Añejo may be closer to a bottle of this ultra premium tequila, which typically goes for around $75 per shot in bars.

Similar bottle stopper, but cognac

Bottle of Hardy Perfection Cognac Fire edition

The bottle stopper of Zafiro Añejo bears a strong resemblance to this bottle of Hardy Perfection Fire Cognac. While the tequila stopper is based on the spiky leaves of the blue Weber agave, the Cognac’s stopper is more in the form of fire. The bottles were produced by French glass house Daum for Hardy’s Elemental collection, with only 300 bottles of the Fire edition made. If you can find one, expect to pay up. It is listed here for $19,999.99.

While Zafiro Añejo was aged for a very respectable 10 years, this Perfection cognac is a blend of at least 30 years age, up to over 150 years!

Similar bottle of tequila liqueur

Bottle of Agavero tequila liqueur

The bottle of Agavero Tequila liqueur comes pretty close to that of Zafiro Añejo. It’s more a green tinge than blue. Its main advantage is that it can be had for around $30. While it’s not pure tequila, and definitely not 10 year aged, its sweet easy drinking taste may attract some. Tequila liqueurs have sugar added after distillation, and this one contains essence of the damiana flower which is native to Mexico and is considered an aphrodisiac. Agavero also comes in an orange version for those so inclined.

Similarly named tequila

Bottle of Negro Zafiro

There is a brand called Negro Zafiro Tequila. However they only produce a plata (unaged) version, not añejo. It looks to be only available in Mexico, and a bottle costs around $320 pesos, or US$16. Clearly not as impressive as the real (fictional) thing.

Zafiro Añejo bottle stopper

Bottle stopper of Zafiro Anejo tequila

There are a couple of providers of versions of the famous Zafiro Añejo bottle stopper.

  • For simply the best money can buy, you can arrange a custom order of a handmade copper plated sterling silver bottle stopper priced at $1795. I don’t know if that includes shipping and I don’t have a discount code for you.
  • For something more reasonable, consider this 3D printed, hand painted option from Etsy for around $70.

The actual props used on Better Call Saul

Menu and bottle of Zafiro Anejo props from Better Call Saul

The actual stoppers used in Better Call Saul were sold at auction in September 2022 on No tequila included.

The mezcal from by Brian Cranston and Aaron Paul

The actors behind Water White and Jesse Pinkman certainly developed a love for Mexico during the production of Breaking Bad. So much so that they launched the mezcal brand Dos Hombres. Maybe the whole poison tequila thing scared them off choosing to start a tequila brand. So you can’t buy the Breaking Bad tequila but you can buy mezcal from the Breaking Bad actors. And for a very reasonable $68. Or you can try the limited edition tobala bottling for $349. But please don’t shot it.

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