Licor 43 Most Passionate Bartender Team Up image 1

Licor 43 Most Passionate Bartender Team Up

Coffee cocktails are presently among the most popular, and the worlds of bartender and barista are increasingly entwined. This inspired Licor 43, the Spanish liqueur, to team up bartenders and baristas for the second year of their annual Most Passionate Bartender competition, staged over three days in November 2018 on the sunny Spanish island of Gran Canaria.

The location was chosen due to Licor 43's new Baristo liqueur being a fusion of Licor 43 and coffee sourced from the island's coffee plantations, plus Gran Canaria is one of the few places with coffee plantations in Europe.

Fittingly, the first of the three challenges and two tests was staged at one of these plantations. Here the competitors, representing 12 countries and one international bar school, were tasked with scavenging from the wide variety of fruits, herbs and spices grown on the plantation, then combining what they found with a limited range of spirits, coffee and Licor 43 Original or Licor 43 Baristo to create a cocktail. And if that were not challenging enough, they were only given 30 minutes to do so.

The other challenges were also what many call a "mystery box" format and all called on both the specialist skills of bartender and barista working together as a team. Indeed, as a non-coffee specialist, the coffee element was the most revealing as baristas talked about why they had selected particular coffees, extraction methods and ratios.

As well as coffee, obviously all the cocktails had to include Licor 43 and this brilliantly illustrated how well the fusion of 43 botanicals which flavour Licor 43 combine with coffee. Indeed, the new Licor 43 Baristo liqueur is based on the same 43 botanicals as the Original with the addition of coffee beans.

This was not your usual cocktail competition where bartenders present their tried and trusted recipes while delivering carefully rehearsed presentations. To the contrary, every cocktail had to be created on the spot, in a limited period and from a limited selection of products. The only thing the barista and bartenders knew is that each challenge would comprise coffee and Licor 43, and that both their skillsets would be put to the test whilst working as a team.

ency 34 image

Winners - Søren Krogh Sørensen and Jonas Gehl

The Danish team, comprising bartender Søren Krogh Sørensen and barista Jonas Gehl won the competition with the Dutch team of Andreas Budo and barista Milou Savelkoul, and Finnish team of barista Joni Hapuoja and bartender Bige Saglam runners-up. The other ten teams all performed brilliantly in what was a true test of their skills and you can see all the teams and some of their own signature Licor 43 cocktails below.

ency 36 image

Andreas Budo and Milou Savelkoul

ency 49 image

Joni Hapuoja and Bige Saglam

I was joined on the jury by the knowledgeable Merijn Gijsbers and talented Martin Kramer. Merijn is a trainer and consultant barista who in 2017 won the Dutch Barista championship while Martin won last year's Licor 43's Most Passionate Bartender competition. The MC who entertained us and kept everybody motivated and disciplined was Gavin Wrigley, Head of Education at the European Bartender's School


ency 56 image

Barista: Damien Kos, Bartender: Indra Hidayat Saryani


ency 22 image

Barista: Marc Daniels, Bartender: Jelle Trevels


ency 41 image

Barista: Jonas Gehl Madsen, Bartender: Søren krogh Sørensen


ency 67 image

Barista: Annely Jüriöö, Bartender: Külli Rannamägi


ency 86 image

Barista: Joni Hapuoja, Bartender: Bige Saglam


ency 52 image

Barista: Noa Nelessen, Bartender: Marlene Link


ency 69 image

Barista: Edson Martĩn Sanchez Calderon, Bartender: Jhonatan Cortes Alazañez


ency 25 image

Barista: Milou Savelkoul, Bartender: Andreas Budo


ency 45 image

Barista: Talor Browne, Bartender: Stine Sørensen


ency 24 image

Barista: Pavel Khalabaev, Bartender: Artem Talalay


ency 14 image

Barista: Matteus Silvo, Bartender: Angelica Petri


ency 61 image

Barista: Joshua Neale, Bartender: Will Crawshaw

European Bartender's School fielded bartenders from Peru and Italy

ency 45 image

Barista: Mirko Ciman, Bartender: Luis Felipe Garcia Ayesta

Welcome to Difford's Guide

All editorial and photography on diffordsguide.com is copyright protected

© Odd Firm of Sin 2023