Unexpected and bold: The iconic nacho cheese taste of Doritos imbued into a first-of-its-kind spirit

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

The limited edition Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit. Pic: PepsiCo Design
The limited edition Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit. Pic: PepsiCo Design

Related tags Doritos PepsiCo Frito-Lay Empirical distilled spirit Distillation nacho cheese

The Frito-Lay brand has collaborated with Danish flavour innovator Empirical to launch Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit – a limited edition, multi-sensorial experience that really tastes like nacho cheese.

The partnership marks a first-of-a-kind innovation for both brands and is designed to give fans a truly new experience.

“Doritos is all about disrupting culture and bringing our fans unexpected, bold experiences,” ​said Tina Mahal, senior VP of Marketing for Frito-Lay North America.

“We’re always pushing our fans to try new things, so we figure it’s time we disrupt the spirits category by offering our iconic nacho cheese flavour in a bottle.”

Doritos Nacho Cheese comprises a myriad of flavour nuances, each of which is carefully extracted to create the unique spirit. Real Doritos chips are used and Empirical’s innovative production process ensures their essence is retained during the vacuum distillation. Unlike traditional distillation methods, vacuum distillation operates at lower temperatures, preserving the full spectrum of flavours derived from Doritos.

Tasting notes

Doritos Nacho Cheese

Nacho Cheese, corn tostada, umami, hint of acidity

The spirit opens with umami and tangy aromas of nacho cheese, moving to the deeper, corn-forward flavours of the chip to finish on a soft salty note.

Enjoy in a Margarita, Bloody Mary, Old Fashioned, neat or over ice.

The spirit punches in at 42% ABV.

Founded in 2017 by Lars Williams and Mark Emil Hermansen, Empirical does things its own way, using custom-built machinery and hybrid fermentation techniques, along with augmented low-temperature distillation. Taking a flavour-first approach means the Copenhagen-based spirits company does not have to pay attention to the conventional categories that traditionalists often want to cast their creations into.

The result is something that is uncategorised, democratic, shareable and driven by the journey of creating unique and unexpected flavours.

“Empirical is an ‘uncategorised’ spirits company, so it allows us the freedom to experiment with really interesting flavours and not have to be stuck in a gin box or tequila box or whiskey box,”​ said Williams, chef/distiller & CEO.

“And we can take something that has a unique and amazing flavour – like Doritos – and evolve it into something completely new.”

Empirical is writing a playbook that does not exist – one distillation, one spirit and one flavour at a time.

The result really is the fan-favourite snack in liquid form.

Limited edition bottles of Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit will only be available next month (RRP of $65.00 for a 750ml bottle) in select New York and California markets. Pre-orders begin on 13 December. Consumers must be 21+ years old.

Double Triangle Margarita

EmpiricalxDoritos_Double Triangle Margarita Cocktail
Pic: Empirical
  • 1 oz Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit
  • 1 oz blanco tequila
  • 0.75 oz fresh lime juice
  • 0.75 oz agave syrup

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake hard for 10-12 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a Tajín salt rim and a lime wheel.

Mary Mary

EmpiricalxDoritos_Mary Mary Bloody Mary Cocktail
Pic: Empirical
  • 1.5 oz Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit
  • 0.5 oz tequila
  • 3 oz tomato juice
  • 1 barspoon lemon juice
  • 1 barspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Big pinch of celery salt
  • Big pinch of cracked black pepper
  • Tiny pinch of cayenne

Build all ingredients in a Collins glass. Add ice and pass a barspoon through the drink 3 to 4 times. Garnish with pepperoncini, seasoned celery and a pickled onion.

Doritos Bangarang

EmpiricalxDoritos_Bangarang Cocktail
Pic: Empirical
  • 2 oz Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese Spirit
  • 1 pinch smoked sea salt
  • 1 squeeze fresh grapefruit (or citrus of choice)
  • Pepsi

Fill Collins glass with ice. Add Empirical x Doritos Nacho Chip Spirit, sea salt, grapefruit and top with Pepsi. Stir 3–4 times. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.

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