As fascinating as black coffee is, finding a way how to creatively mix it with other ingredients is a passion for many talented baristas. Through interviews with Coffee in Good Spirits champions, Martin Hudak and Dan Fellow, we learned it takes a lot of effort to become the best in the world in mixing speciality coffee with alcohol.

It is often about the first decision to join the competition that set their career in a new trajectory. That's why we were excited to learn about the aim of Licor43, a premium Spanish liqueur produced in Cartagena, to invite speciality coffee baristas to their international challenge.

Licor43 launches Bartenders & Baristas Challenge 2019

Previously known as the ‘Most Passionate Bartender Competition’, the initiative introduced a coffee focus in 2018, inviting input from baristas for the first time. The Danish team made up of bartender Søren Krogh Sørensen and barista Jonas Gehl of Prolog Coffee in Copenhagen crashed the competition. Their winning ‘Skalud’ cocktail was a textured combination of Licor 43 Original, grapefruit juice, orange bitters, Canary Island honeyed rum, espresso, with a juniper and grapefruit spray.

The 2018 winning team from Denmark: Søren Krogh Sørensen and Jonas Gehl (left)

“There is a natural marriage of aromas and flavours between the two, and this proved a real inspiration to entrants last year,” comments Julian Fernandez Estevez, Global Marketing Director of Spirits at Zamora Company. “We were often amazed at the creativity, knowledge and passion from contestants, and look forward to seeing their skills and specialisms showcased once again.”

In 2019, the third edition of the competition is open to entries from 13 participating countries and calls on teams to demonstrate their knowledge in, and passion for, the worlds of mixology and coffee. Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belux, Estonia, Germany, Australia, Russia, South Africa and Spain will hold national competitions over the next few months, selecting one bartender and one barista per country.

Grand Finale brings baristas to the Gran Canaria island

The Grand Finale will take place in October 2019 on the island of Gran Canaria in Spain. Each country’s bartender and barista will team up to work together for 43 full hours to get through a series of challenges. They will combine their passion and creativity to come up with the most inspiring combinations of Licor 43 and coffee while staying in the only coffee producing region in Europe.

Tasting ripe coffee cherries at the coffee farm in the Grand Canaria during the barista challenge

The winning team will get a chance to further develop their professional skills by funding a course of their choice (up to € 1,500/per person). Find all the details on the official website of the challenge.

Note: This article is sponsored by Licor43.