After three days of cocktail and coffee contests and challenges, a duo from Australia has been named winner of Licor 43’s Bartenders & Baristas Challenge.
Teams from 12 countries took part in the competition finale in Gran Canaria having won their national rounds earlier in the year. The winning cocktail was “Island Hopper” from bartender Millie Tang from The Gresham (Brisbane) and barista Jessie Williamson from Blackout Paddington and Black Lab Coffee (Brisbane): 20 ml Licor 43 Original, 20 ml espresso coffee (Platinum blend by the Black Lab Coffee Co), 15 ml Coconut & pandan syrup (pandan infused Coco Lopez), 10 ml Fernet Branca, 1 dash Angostura bitters, topped with a splash of cava (10ml), garnished with grated nutmeg.
Runners-up from Denmark and Spain also impressed the judges with their “The Companion” and “Esfera” cocktails: The Companion – 45 ml Licor 43 Original, 45 ml Manzanilla Sherry infused with coffee; Esfera – 30 ml Matusalem añejo, 20 ml Licor 43 Baristo, 10 ml Licor 43 Original, 50 ml dry tomato syrup, 50 ml Ethiopian coffee and coffee husk, 20 ml lemon juice.
Closely watching the finalists’ every move was the judging panel, once again comprising cocktail and coffee gurus Simon Difford and Merijn Gijsbers, plus coffee consultant and educator Timon Kaufmann.
“This competition stands apart from other cocktail competitions as it brings together professionals with complementary skill sets to collaborate, learn from, and inspire each other,” comments Simon Difford. “It’s been fascinating to see how bartenders and baristas use their combined knowledge to create coffee cocktails within the constraints of three different creative challenges held in settings as diverse as a coffee plantation to a 19th century marketplace. The competition allowed personalities to shine whilst bringing 26 professionals from 12 different countries together to share and demonstrate techniques to each other as well as us privileged judges. Congratulations to Millie and Jessie, and everyone who took part.”
The 26 grand finalists from Norway, Sweden, Finland, UK, Denmark, Netherlands, Belux, Estonia, Germany, Australia, Russia and Spain were joined by a further two professionals, one from each speciality area, chosen from the European Bartender School (EBS) network worldwide.
“Licor 43 and coffee have long worked well together and now, in an age where focus on heritage and provenance is paramount, we are digging deep into all the different ways this can be expressed,” adds Licor 43’s Global Marketing & Innovation Director Julian Fernandez. “Gran Canaria is home to the plantation we source coffee for our Baristo expression from, so it was the obvious choice of venue for this grand final trip designed to immerse candidates in all things Licor 43 and coffee.”
This is the second year that Licor 43 has called on bartenders and baristas to team up for the Challenge. The world’s fastest growing premium liqueur* has also just announced its headline partnership with the World Coffee in Good Spirits Competition, cementing the brand’s vision to be the reference liqueur of choice in coffee cocktails globally.
Licor 43 Original was first launched in 1946 and uses a secret family recipe of 43 natural ingredients, which includes selected Mediterranean citrus fruits and botanicals.
A bar industry guru, the owner and chief editor of one of the most renowned drinks websites in the world, diffordsguide.com. Famous for his encyclopaedic knowledge of cocktails, Simon is rather a writer than a bartender, but you can hardly find anyone who knows alcohol better than he does. in the early 1990s, Simon started compiling a database of cocktails and spirits used in them, and in 2001 he published his first book with 1,000 recipes. Today Simon’s electronic guide counts over 4,500 cocktails. However, Simon doesn’t rest on his laurels and keeps on searching and trying out new recipes.
Merijin works as a barista, trainer and consultant for his company Het Kofflegenootschap, and as Alpro’s in-house barista. He has been working with coffee for about 10 years now, meeting new, inspiration people every day; coffee drinkers that are looking for a delicious coffee with a chat and a smile, coffee icons to learn from, and students that keep him focussed on the how’s and why’s of good coffee.
Timon has tended some of the best bars in his career before he found his love for coffee in one of them. Today, the German ‘Coffee in Good Spirits’ Champion is one of Germany’s leading specialists when it comes to coffee within a bar environment. As a self-employed educator and consultant, he is a passionate ambassador for better coffee in bars and restaurants.
*6% sales increase, CAGR 2015-18 (IWSR 2018)