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Noma's Former Head Of R&D Makes New Empirical Spirit With Doritos; We're Not Sure How To Feel


Of all the wild and fantastical things we could have imagined wanting in our spirits - the flavourbomb chip Doritos was most definitely not on the list.

And while it might be tempting to brush this off as gimmicky - that this came from Copenhagen's Empirical spirits definitely warrants some pause.


Empirical was started by Lars Williams and Mark Emil Hermansen, with the former having served as head of Noma's research and development team for years, Noma being one of the most acclaimed restaurants in the world. So if Lars says it goes - maybe it goes?



To make the cheesy flavoured clear spirit, heaps of Dorito Nacho Cheese chips were crushed and fermented using Empirical's proprietary barley koji, which was then vacuum distilled at low temperatures to draw out the chip's flavour.

According to Lars, the idea was originally an accident that took place in 2017 when Empirical had first launched.



“One production guy went out to lunch and came back with a bag of Doritos,” says Williams. “I decided, ‘why not’ and threw it in.” The impact of the infusion was shockingly successful. “When I tasted it, it was so much like Doritos, I just started laughing,” says Williams. But he ruled it out as an early Empirical flavor in favor of more artisanal blends.

Not long after Empirical launched, however, a handful of PepsiCo executives ate at Noma and then, according to Williams, stopped by the lab. “I was clear with the team, do not give them the Doritos spirit, there’s a 99% chance we’ll get sued,”



It turned out that the PepsiCo executives loved the idea and thus the collaboration was born. It is worth noting that PepsiCo is not sponsoring the partnership but has supplied the chips, with a single standard 2¾-ounce bag of chips producing one bottle of the 42% ABV spirit.



Tasting Notes


Nacho Cheese, Corn Tostada, Umami, Hint of Acidity


Margarita, Bloody Mary, Old Fashioned, or neat or over ice - basically any way you like.

Tastes Like

"The real thing! Experience the indulgent flavors of your favorite snack in liquid form. The spirit opens with umami and tangy aromas of nacho cheese, moving to the deeper, corn-forward flavors of the chip to finish on a soft salty note."


While the Empirical x Doritos Nacho Cheese is said to taste exactly like the chip itself despite coming across as a clear spirit, and in a vein of self-awareness, has come prepared with a cocktail recipe should wary customers fear drinking it on its own.

It is currently available at doritos.x.empirical.co and will also be made available in New York and California for US$65 per 750ml bottle.




88 Bamboo Editorial Team