The two wanted to work together but thought that it might be too soon for a new on-screen collaboration.
“I think everyone is just going to associate the two of us with Breaking Bad right now, even though the show ended really so long ago,” says Paul. “Even when we started doing teases, everyone just instantly assumed it was Breaking Bad related, even though in the second tease we were not in character—I didn’t have the Pinkman tattoos, and we looked like we actually truly liked each other.”
“We’re actors,” Cranston jokes.
Once they determined they couldn’t do a project on-screen together, Paul suggested that they consider going into the alcohol business instead. Then the conversation turned to mezcal.
“I’ve been such a fan of mezcal for many years,” says Paul. He says he grew up drinking whiskey neat, and when he was introduced to mezcal he saw it as a great sipping liquor as well and fell in love.
Aaron Paul, who will be joining the cast of "Westworld" in season three, slings drinks during Tales of the Cocktail.
For Cranston, his introduction to the spirit was a little different.
“When I was in high school and college, drinking mezcal was like a challenge. It was so bad—the little worm at the bottom of it—and it tasted and smelled like antiseptic or rubbing alcohol,” Cranston recalls. “It was a dare.”
Given that, when Paul suggested going into the mezcal business, Cranston’s first reaction was to be a bit skeptical: “I don’t know. I have to try it.”
And try it he did.
The two worked on the mezcal for three years before its release this month. The three years included numerous trips to Oaxaca, Mexico, where mezcal is made, to find the perfect one.
“It was a journey, but we always swore to each other that we didn’t want to put something out in the market that we didn’t feel was truly perfect,” Paul says. “We didn’t want people to taste our product and be like, “This is not that good.”
“We were perfectly willing not to do it,” Cranston adds.
One huge challenge was finding a mezcal that appealed to both men.