Food & Drink

This New Liquor Tastes Like Doritos

The First-Ever Nacho Cheese Spirit Has a Surprisingly Serious Pedigree

By Kevin Gray ·
Image: Empirical

Doritos: good.

Liquor: good.

But Doritos liquor?

Honestly we're just as surprised as you are, but Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit is the just-launched collab you never knew you wanted. It's real and it's legitimate — not just the dorm room experiment of a thirsty stoner. 

Empirical is a self-described flavor company that was founded in Copenhagen in 2017 by Lars Williams — formerly a chef at Noma — and Mark Emil Hermansen. They use custom-built machinery and have developed new techniques to make spirits that don't conform to the typical categories. 

empirical x doritos nacho cheese spirit

“Empirical is an ‘uncategorized’ spirits company, so it allows us the freedom to experiment with really interesting flavors and not have to be stuck in a gin box or tequila box or whiskey box,” says Lars Williams, Chef/Distiller & CEO at Empirical. “And we can take something that has a unique and amazing flavor, like Doritos, and evolve it into something completely new.”

In the case of the Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit, Empirical used real Doritos chips and extracted the flavors via vacuum distillation. Unlike traditional distillation methods, vacuum distillation operates at lower temperatures, preserving the full spectrum of flavors derived from the cheesy chips. The result is a spirit unlike any you've ever tasted.

It opens with umami and tangy aromas of nacho cheese, plus noticeable corn notes not unlike those you'd experience in a corn whiskey. The palate is dry, soft and savory, with more of that corn chips flavor. Overall, this drinks a lot more nuanced and balanced (and less gimmicky) than you'd expect from such a product. 

The brand recommends enlisting the spirit's services in a Margarita, Bloody Mary or Old Fashioned, or you can just sip it straight or over ice. Either way, you're drinking Doritos.

Now all you need is a sandwich to pair it with.

Kevin Gray

Kevin Gray lives in Texas. He likes whiskey, weekends and hammocks, often at the same time.

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