Chill Skills: Cast Your Vote for Your Favorite Summer Sips in the Ghirardelli Cool Caramel Challenge! 

To celebrate the sweet start of summer, we teamed up with Ghirardelli to bring you five original drink recipes in our Cool Caramel Challenge.


Whether you’re reading on a café patio, enjoying a picnic in the park, or taking a road trip, having a delicious summertime drink in hand will make the experience an even sunnier one. You want something cold, of course, and decadent—obvs. And who better to ask for drink ideas than a talented barista?

To celebrate both the beginning of summer and the art of professional baristas, we partnered with Ghirardelli to create the Cool Caramel Challenge, which kicks off today on Barista Magazine’s Instagram account. We asked five baristas from around the country to dream up a creative, delicious cold summer drink, and we gave them one rule: It had to showcase Ghirardelli’s sumptuous Caramel Sauce and/or Sea Salt Caramel Sauce. And wowza, did they ever deliver!

Today at Barista Mag’s Instagram, you can find these original recipes, plus see photos of the drinks and hear a bit from each participant about what inspired their drink. 

A Ghirardelli Caramel sauce bottle.
Contestants had to use either Ghirardelli Caramel Sauce and/or Ghirardelli Sea Salt Caramel Sauce. Photo courtesy of Ghirardelli.

Vote for Your Favorites

Which one sounds best? We want you to decide! The judges of these drinks will be none other than YOU, Instagram followers! From today through Friday, June 30, 5 p.m. PDT, votes will be cast via “likes” on Barista Magazine’s Instagram for the drink that sounds the best. But hey, if you think two or three or even all five sound great, go ahead and “like” them all! These baristas deserve massive props for their hard work and imaginative entries. The whole point of the Cool Caramel Challenge is to celebrate that.

And in fact, everyone’s a winner! The creator of the drink with the most “likes” by the end of the week will receive $1,000! Second place will receive $500, and third, fourth, and fifth will each get $200.

We told the participants they were free to campaign for their drink—with a sign at the café encouraging customers to go to Barista Mag’s Instagram to vote, by calling their mom, boss, friends, grocery store checker—you name it!—to get their vote. We encouraged them to post their drinks to their own social media, too, but explained that only votes (“likes”) posted to their drink post at Barista Magazine’s Instagram would count.

A Few Guidelines

We tasked the barista participants with the following: Create a delicious drink served iced, blended, or over ice, and make sure it showcases the rich, luscious Ghirardelli Caramel Sauce and/or Ghirardelli Sea Salt Caramel Sauce. We told them the drinks could include espresso or coffee or not, and the drinks should be nonalcoholic. Besides those caveats, they had total creative freedom.

We can’t wait for you to see these gorgeous, drool-worthy, summertime sweet drinks! Just follow this link to see them all.

For all the rules and regulations for the Cool Caramel Challenge, click here.

The cover of the June + July 2023 issue of Barista Magazine featuring Martin Shabaya of Kenya.


Out now: It’s the June + July 2023 issue of Barista Magazine featuring Martin Shabaya of Kenya on the cover. Read it for free with our digital edition. Get your Barista Magazine delivered; start a subscription today! Visit our online store to renew your subscription or order back issues.

About Sarah 933 Articles
Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.