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 $784 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 2023 dollars. After inflation, a shot of Zafiro Añejo would cost $83 in 2023. A bottle of Zafiro Añejo would cost $1414 in 2023 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.
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
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
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
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
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.
- Order from brevarddesign.com
- For something more reasonable, consider this 3D printed, hand painted option from Etsy for around $70.
- Order from etsy.com
The actual props used on Better Call Saul
The actual stoppers used in Better Call Saul were sold at auction in September 2022 on propstoreauction.com. 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.