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Licor 43 Bartender and Barista Challenge 2023

Gabriela Wong Arias from Liquid Spirits Events in Costa Rica was crowned champion of the 2023 Licor 43 Bartenders & Baristas Challenge after a closely fought final in Madrid.

For this seventh edition of its Bartenders & Baristas Challenge, Licor 43 once again called on coffee and cocktail professionals around the world to showcase their expertise and imagination in the art of pairing Licor 43 and coffee. Finalists from key Licor 43 markets around the world gathered in Madrid for a two-day immersion in the cocktails, coffee and culture of the brand's home country. After a coffee workshop with head judge Merijn Gijsbers, a 'mystery box' cocktail challenge and a paella and tortilla workshop, Gabriela was crowned winner with 'Capital Vice' - a cocktail inspired by the seven sins!

The final was hosted by Gavin Wrigley, Head of Education at the European Bartender School, and watched by industry friends and peers. The runners-up were Esau Jiménez (from The Boss Speakeasy in Morelia Michoacán, México) with Gentleman cocktail, and Joe Arakawa from Anima in Las Vegas, USA with Dawn Patrol.

The judging panel was once again headed by International Barista Champion Merijn Gijsbers, who has worked with the competition since 2019; he was joined by bartending hero Spaniard Benabeu and last year's winner Yefferson Avila. Gabriela Wong received a bursary to put towards professional equipment and career development courses, a place on next year's judging panel and will also become the Licor 43 Coffee Master for 2024, appearing with the brand at key international shows.

Winner - Gabriela Wong Arias, Costa Rica

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With: Capital Vice
45 ml Licor 43 Original
30 ml Brandy
60 ml Pineapple cordial
45 ml Nutmeg and cardamom cold brew
Cocktail preparation: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled coupe glass. Garnish with dehydrated orange clice and dark chocolate stripes.
Coffee preparation: Cold Brew immersion. First boil the water with cardamom and nutmeg. Let that water cool. Mix the water with the ground coffee 1 nutmeg and 2 cardamom pods for 10 hours. Filter and bottle.

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2nd place - Joseph Arakawa, USA
With Dawn Patrol
45 ml Licor 43 Original
20 ml Lime juice
30 ml Egg white
15 ml Coconut water
30 ml Molokai cold brew concentrate
5 drops Saline solution (80:20)
7 gram Ginger peeled and muddled
Cocktail preparation: Muddle ginger in base of shaker. Add other ingredients, dry shake (without ice). Add ice, shake again and fine strain into chilled 7oz sour glass. Garnish with freshly grated cinnamon.
Coffee preparation: Take 200g of whole bean molokai coffee and medium grind. Add 800g filtered water and 200g ground coffee into a container and seal. Refrigerate and allow mixture to cold steep for 16 hours. Fine strain mixture using paper coffee filter, bottle and store refrigerated for up to five days.

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3rd place - Esaú Samuel Bello Jiménez, Mexico
With: Gentleman
30 ml Licor 43 Original
30 ml Tequila reposado
45 ml Cold brew
2 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
Cocktail preparation: STIR all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled cup. Garnish with a lime zest twist.
Coffee preparation: Cold brew, immersion method for 18 hours using 1 litre of water for each 120 grammes of coffee, medium grind, dark roast from Chiapas, Mexico


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Katharina Robitzki, Germany
Garden liqueur

40 ml Licor 43 Original
30 ml Nordhäuser Haselnuss
40 ml Van Nahmen Apfelquitte-Nektar
25 ml Julius Meinl Bar Speciale
6 gram Parsley
Cocktail preparation: Prepare a simple espresso. Muddle parsley in base of shaker. Add other ingredients, shake with ice and fine strain into a chilled old-fashioned glass. Garnish with parsley.
Coffee preparation:Julius Meinl Bar Speciale whole espresso beans are processed to 8 grams of powder. Lightly press the espresso powder. Espresso is brewed at 94 degrees in a Portafilter (30 seconds). Beans: Arabica, Robusta. Fine chocolate notes, hazelnut brown crema

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Victor De Vera Luque, Spain

30 ml Licor 43 Original
15 ml Tequila reposado
15 ml Pisco mosto verde acholado
4 dashes Lemon bitter
Cocktail preparation: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass.
Coffee preparation:Espresso

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Igor Renovato, Brazil
R&J 43

25 ml Licor 43 Original
25 ml Cachaça Prata
30 ml Café Coado Arabica
15 ml Guava jam
3 ml Suco de Limão Taiti - Lime Juice.
Cocktail preparation: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with parmesan cheese.
Coffee preparation: 100ml water, 12g Coffee Arabica, water temperature at 90°C.

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Diana Tsistjakova, Estonia
Slush Mama

40 ml Licor 43 Original
80 ml Rose wine
20 ml Cold brewed coffee
20 ml Fresh lemon juice
10 ml Agave syrup
60 g Frozen peach purée
Cocktail preparation: Powder the rim of a frozen old-fashioned glass with sweet-spicy powder (in a coffee grinder, grind equal parts sesame seeds and chilli flakes. Then combine 1 part of this mix with 3 parts of sugar. Grind all for two seconds). To make the cocktail, blend
all ingredients with 200g of ice cubes until slushy. Pour into sweet-spicy rimmed. Add a straw and garnish with a mint sprig.
Coffee preparation:60g ground coffee (espresso roast) and 1 litre filtered water.

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Diego Fernando Hernández Vasquez, Colombia

30 ml Licor 43 Original
5 ml Fernet amaro
15 ml Fino sherry
30 ml Grapefruit juice
20 ml Cold brew
Cocktail preparation: Chill shaker and rocks glass
Shake first 4 ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass. Add a 5cm x 7cm ice cube and then float cold brew. Garnish with a coffee leaf and a coffee cherry.
Coffee preparation: Medium grind Select Rosé Bourbon coffee. Using the Toddy method, add 75g of ground coffee and 500ml of water. Leave the coffee to infuse at 4°C for 24 hours. Filter and bottle

Andy Valderrama, Peru
Café Viajero

45 ml Licor 43 Original
22.5 ml Martin Miller´s Gin
15 ml Pepper syrup
15 ml Pineapple juice
15 ml Orange juice
30 ml Coffee
Cocktail preparation: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into chilled glass. Garnish with a salted chocolate slice.
Coffee preparation:Italian moka ground coffee.

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