Ring of Fire with a Flamin' Hot Cheeto rim Credit: Cory Popp

“Did you know they light on fire?” Laura Green of Bernie’s Lunch & Supper asks holding up a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto. Challenged by Adam Staniszeski of Union Sushi + Barbecue to make a cocktail with the ingredient, she says, “I love Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, so this was very exciting for me. I’ve always really enjoyed working with junk food.”

“I live for getting a little weird. My favorite part of the job is coming up with something and being like, ‘That’s really weird and it works.'” Like, for example, a cocktail with Pop Rocks or strawberry Starburst syrup. Of course, she likes eating the junk food as well. “I have my moments where I’m like, ‘I just want a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.’ And then I eat the whole bag and I regret everything.”

Green didn’t hesitate over how to incorporate Flamin’ Hot Cheetos into a cocktail. First she made a syrup: “I took my hot water and just started throwing Flamin’ Hots in there. The color happened really, really quick. It’s neon. I need to reassess my dietary decisions sometimes, I think.” She also rimmed a glass with crushed Cheetos and lit one on fire to smoke the glass with it.

Because the corn flavor of Cheetos reminds her of elotes, Green says, she wanted to use mescal and lime in her drink. The only other ingredients were Metropolitan Krankshaft beer and the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos syrup, which she says tastes like spicy Corn Pops. “Like if you had your breakfast and took sriracha and topped it with that. I think it’s good. I would drink it.”

Green named her cocktail Ring of Fire. “I wanted to call it Asses of Fire, but my boss said no,” she says. “They’re all referencing poop at the end of the day.”

Who’s next:

Green has challenged Joshua Martinez of the Franklin Room with Bud Light Lime.

Ring of Fire
.75 oz lime juice
.75 oz Flamin’ Hot Cheetos syrup*
1.5 oz El Buho Mezcal
Metropolitan Krankshaft beer
Crushed Flamin’ Hot Cheetos (plus a few whole ones)

Rim glass with crushed Cheetos, then light a Cheeto on fire and use it to smoke the glass. Add lime juice, syrup, and mezcal to an ice-filled shaker, shake, and strain into the glass. Top with Metropolitan Krankshaft.

*Syrup: Pour a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos into a quart of boiling water and immediately strain. Stir in a quart of sugar, and let cool.