Ramirez Liquor: everything from añejo to Z

THE sign on the side of the building says Tequila Warehouse, and that's what you'll find inside Ramirez Liquor in Boyle Heights: wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with bottle after bottle of tequila.

Above the cash registers hang a couple of rifle-shaped bottles of Hijos de Villa reposado; on the counter is a display of mini-bottles and caballitos (shot glasses). Cases of Herradura, Don Eduardo, Asombroso, El Charro, Gran Centenario and 1921 Crema con Tequila (a creamy liqueur made with tequila) sit side by side, taking up much of the floor space.

Co-owner Alex Ramirez has helped put together a selection of more than 350 tequilas, including coveted bottles such as 1800 Millennium. His family has been in the grocery business since the '70s, but, Ramirez says, "my brothers and I decided to take the business in a different direction." Ramirez Liquor opened in 1995 and remodeled about four years ago, taking the leap into maximum tequila coverage: "Before that, we stocked less than 50 tequilas -- the mainstream stuff."

Ramirez keeps his dedo on the pulse of tequila and can guide you to interesting choices in various price ranges: Abandonado reposado in a ceramic green jug (the bottle may be changed soon), or Para Mí, a tequila made by former LAPD officers.

"There are so many ultra-premium tequilas in the market now," Ramirez says. "We try finding out what's coming out in Mexico and what's selling there. Many tequilas aren't sold through the big distributors. You've got to do your homework; it's like putting the pieces of a puzzle together."

736 S. Soto St., Los Angeles, (323) 261-2915,