Jesse Pinkman and Walter White are perhaps the most notorious duo in television history. You can credit that to chemistry: Through five seasons of “Breaking Bad,” the lead characters honed a love/hate relationship while cooking some of the most potent crystal meth the world had ever seen on TV.
In real life, the actors who portrayed them, Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston, respectively, maintain a far less volatile bond. But in a stroke of life imitating art, they now actually find themselves in business together — thankfully, in a markedly less nefarious endeavor.
Last summer, the pair launched the aptly named Dos Hombres mezcal. A series of Instagram posts at the time revealed their intent to bring handcrafted agave spirit from the remote hills of Oaxaca to a broader audience north of the border. The photos showed the stars getting their hands dirty, but unlike their fictional counterparts, Paul and Cranston are quick to credit others for the heavy lifting. They attribute the magic of the smooth-sipping spirit to the proud work of producers from the small village San Luis del Rio, whose families have been distilling the liquor for generations.
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The actors see their role in the spirits business as one of spreading joy. And after sitting down with VinePair for a fun round of Lucky Sevens, it’s clear they have plenty of it to pass around. So, don’t expect to find even a trace of anything blue here.
1. What’s your desert-island drink?
Aaron Paul: Mezcal in a coconut.
Bryan Cranston: First, let’s address the question: In my day it was always a “deserted” island — meaning you’re all alone, as opposed to a “desert” island, which, if you think about it, is an oxymoron. If it’s in a desert, how can it be an island? OK, that aside, I’d choose water. If that’s not available, then the coconut milk. Still no, then mezcal — am I taking this too seriously?
2. What’s the drink that made you fall in love with drinking?
AP: That’s a very hard question to answer. I just love drinking. Always have. Always will.
BC: At 13 years old, I volunteered to serve beer from a keg at my grandfather’s memorial. He was German, so it seemed a fitting tribute. I proceeded to get sh*t-faced… and you never forget your first time.
3. How have your tastes changed over the years?
AP: My palate has opened up over the years. I prefer drinking my spirits neat. I love a nice cocktail from time to time, but I am always leaning toward a nice clean spirit neat or on the rocks.
BC: I know that Aaron’s taste is more sophisticated than mine. I’m still looking for embellishment in cocktails, but I have come to enjoy the purity of a drink neat. Of course, I love our Dos Hombres neat, but I’ve taken to a few rums (which surprised me). Still not a Scotch drinker, though.
4. FMK: three drinks (beer, wine, spirit).
BC: I am up on all the current jargon so I know that FMK means Frequently Mocked Kinkiness, which I must say is a private issue from my childhood which still haunts me, but, that aside, I would say that I am partial to a spicy, semi-sweet Margarita with Dos Hombres. Mezcal neat. A traditional Manhattan.
5. What’s your favorite drinking destination, and why?
AP: A nice drink on a beach somewhere is always a good place to start. That or around a campfire with friends and family.
BC: A drinking destination sounds like a road trip while drinking, and while in my youth that may have occurred, it is just bad decision-making now, so don’t ever do that, youngsters. I think the best way to enjoy a drink is simply among friends, at a dinner party, or just hanging out on the porch on a summer night…
Remember when we could do those things? I hope this current social distancing we’re required to experience makes us all value what we took for granted before.
6. What’s the best and worst bottle in your fridge, bar, or kitchen right now?
AP: In terms of best, Dos Hombres Mezcal, of course. That and a bottle of Pappy 23. I just love the look of that bottle in the bar. I cry every time I finish a bottle. In honor of the bottle.
BC: I’m proud that Dos Hombres graces my bar. And a friend of mine, Chris Diamantopoulos, just came out with an añejo tequila, Tres Comas, which originated from his ridiculously funny character Russ Hanneman on “Silicon Valley,” and the taste is actually not funny at all, it’s really good. The embarrassing item in the back of my bar fridge is a can of Zima from the 1990s, just in case anyone is interested.
7. What’s your guilty pleasure?
AP: I love cookies and whiskey. Chocolate cookies and a nice glass of whiskey [or] Scotch.
BC: My guilty pleasure is (on rare occasion), sipping on Bailey’s Irish Cream. But I’ve also got a hankering for an Irish Coffee with Jameson (no whipped cream, please). On hot days, there’s nothing like an ice-cold beer. And of course, to be civilized, a glass of wine to complement dinner.