Even in the worlds of Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, the littlest details can have instantly recognizable meanings. One detail is the recurring brand of tequila, with its elegantly decorated cork, Zafiro Añejo.
It is the tequila Gus Fring poisoned to take out Don Eladio. It is the tequila Kim and Jimmy polish off (at about $50 a shot) when they share their first kiss… and first con. Again and again, it is a symbol of the characters’ celebrations and failures, as the brand is trotted out at significant moments.
We even see the cork fall out of a box in the opening montage of the final season of Better Call Saul as police seize Saul’s assets. This stopper was likely the one given to Kim after they finished that first bottle. It is hard to miss, so much so some fans were asking where to pick up a bottle.
Well, like the characters in the series, Zafiro Añejo is entirely fictional. According to the various fan wikis, they created the brand because real tequila makers didn’t want their brand associated with something you drop dead after drinking. This turned out to be a good thing because this fictional brand is like a cool and nasty little background character in itself.
Some of the details are just perfect. It is distilled from blue agave, with a blown glass bottle of a distinctly blue color, similar to something else in the Breaking Bad world. Añejo (Spanish for “vintage”) on tequila denotes a well-aged, desirable brand, and is usually a pretty expensive one. Zafiro, of course, is Spanish for “sapphire.”
Here are a couple of its starring scenes:
My favorite element of this prop is that big coppery bottle stopper. Some critics say the bottle design was taken from the Hardy Perfection Cognac bottle with a similar fiery glass stopper. However, as a southwesterner, I appreciate the stylized agave plant on the fictional vintage as a homage to the beautiful desert.
It is even easy to duplicate, and with the final season of Better Call Saul underway, here’s how to make a quick Zafiro Añejo bottle stopper as your own souvenir.
- Thin copper or aluminum craft sheet
- Copper-colored paint or spray paint
First, you need one of those mushroom-shaped corks. I’m more of a crafter than a drinker, so I understand that not everyone has finished off a bottle of something with one of these corks. I have learned some liquor and wine stores will let you dig through their big cork drop-off bins to find one if you ask nicely. If you already have one, who am I to judge? It was probably good stuff.
For the “agave,” use a thin sheet of copper or aluminum. You can buy these sheets at craft stores for under $10, which is a heck of a lot cheaper than a bottle of Zafiro Añejo. I read somewhere this was supposed to be around $7,500 a bottle. I may be wrong, but I’m sure it wasn’t cheap, no matter the actual price.
The strip should be cut around 11″ long and 2″ high. Use a ruler and a pencil or pen and make a light line down lengthwise down the strip, close to one side. Now, using some scissors snip several strips from the other edge to the line drawn. Be careful not to cut yourself. These thin metal sheets can get sharp on the edges. Go back and taper off the ends of each strip, so it will look more like leaves.
Once done, tightly roll up the strip (as shown), and set it aside.
Take the bottle cap and use a utility (X-Acto) knife to dig a small hole in the top, about the diameter of the rolled-up metal sheet. Now use a glue gun or super glue to glue the metal roll to the top of the cap. Add a little more glue around the edges to hold it in place.
Once dry, gently pull out the strips, little by little, so they more resemble a blossom or agave plant.
Finish it off by spraying the entire cap with copper paint. If you used copper metal, just paint the cork area. There is it, your own cap from Zafiro Añejo.
“Even the bottle is a work of art,” the ill-fated Don Eladio said. “It’s perfection!”
I bet at this point, several regional tequila brands would love to have been the recurring brand seen in both of these award-winning series, but the fact is this small piece of world-building just adds to the mystique of these shows.
When things finally come full circle in the world of Saul Goodman and we finally see what became of “Jimmy,” at least we will know no details, even the small ones, were spared in telling this tale.
If that’s not worth a toast to great storytelling, I don’t know what is.