The competition will task coffee and cocktail professionals from around the world with showing off their expertise and imagination while pairing Licor 43 with coffee.
BY SARAH ALLEN
Photos courtesy of Licor 43
The high-end Spanish liqueur brand Licor 43 understands how important the skills of a barista are to a bartender and vice versa, not to mention how the combined skill set speaks to the proliferation of coffee cocktails in specialty bars and restaurants. That’s why Licor 43’s Bartenders & Baristas Challenge (B&B Challenge) has been popular around the world for years—and promises to be more exciting than ever in its 2022 iteration.
This is most definitely not the Coffee In Good Spirits Championship with which many of you are familiar. The B&B Challenge—the finals of which took place in person in Spain for its first four years and switched to a digital format in 2020—calls on coffee and cocktail professionals from around the world to showcase their expertise and imagination in the art of pairing Licor 43 with coffee, and the sixth edition will revert to the in-person format once the regional finalists have been chosen.
Would-be competitors from each of nine regions (UK, Estonia, Mexico, Spain, Germany, USA, Australia, Brazil, and Colombia) can upload videos of themselves to be considered for a finalist position by a panel of judges. One finalist from each region will be chosen to travel all expenses paid to Gran Canaria, one of Spain’s Canary Islands, to compete in the Grand Finale taking place October 17–19.
While in this island paradise, the final nine competitors will visit local markets to gather ingredients, study with judges about how various flavor components work together with Licor 43 and coffee, take part in fun challenges and games, and have the opportunity to get to know one another and share trade secrets.
Also attending the Grand Finale will be Thalita Freire of Brazil, who won the 2021 B&B Challenge that was held digitally. Thalita will take part in the world’s first all-women speed bartending competition with American bartender and mixologist Lynnette Marrero and others.
“We are just so excited to get back to running this event in person,” says Julian Fernandez, Zamora Company’s global marketing & innovation director of spirits. “Gran Canaria is home to the plantation we source coffee from for our Licor 43 Baristo expression, and we don’t just find our winner there: We ensure everyone is totally immersed in the world of Licor 43 and coffee so we can inspire imaginations and creativity and, of course, educate. We’re seeing a growing consumer interest in various markets for Licor 43 and coffee-based cocktails, such as the Carajillo 43, so with this sixth edition of the Bartenders & Baristas Challenge, we are aiming to help the coffee mixology culture develop even further, with our Licor 43 brand as the liqueur of choice. 2022 looks set to be better than ever for this.”
For complete rules and information about the Bartenders & Baristas Challenge, visit this website. To see a video of the adventures and fun competitors had at the Grand Finale of the in-person B&B Challenge in 2019, go here. To watch the finals of the all-digital 2021 B&B Challenge with judges’ commentary, go here.