Despite valiant efforts by Edinburgh and Leeds, it was the team from Goldfinch in London that took the title of Licor 43’s Bartenders & Baristas Challenge at Imbibe Live, this year. They were competing for the chance to take part in the global final this October in Gran Canaria, where the overall winning team will receive a professional course each, worth up to £1,350 per person.
The judging panel comprised industry experts and skilled professionals. Craig Chapman (Cellar Trends), Will Crawshaw (head bartender at Tattu in Leeds and last year’s UK winner), Nate Brown (The London Bar Consultants and Imbibe representative) and Paul Ross (Kiss the Hippo) were treated to three very different serves using Licor 43, and judged participants on criteria such as brand knowledge, presentation and choice of ingredients.
The Breakfast of 43 Champions was the winning cocktail from Goldfinch’s Nick Hannigan and Janis Burka. Made up of 40ml Licor 43, 25ml coffee, 15ml Luxardo, 3 dashes white wine vinegar and 2 dashes saline solution, it was presented in a cut-glass stem glass and garnished with a twist of orange. ‘You want a good cocktail with your breakfast – whether that’s a croissant or a cigarette,’ explained contestant Hannigan.
The panel clearly believed it was just that. ‘What impressed the judges about the Goldfinch team's performance was the balanced collaboration between the spirits and the coffee,’ judge Brown told Imbibe. ‘Both elements complemented each other, with a clear premise to the drink. Each and every ingredient was justified and delivered with coherency and efficiency. They promised a breakfast cocktail and that's ultimately what they delivered.’
Second place went to Leeds with their cocktail La Familia. A riff on a Sangria, it took inspiration from team member Kieran Madden’s own family link to Licor 43’s home and the originality of the area’s terroir. It was cleverly presented with the coffee floating on the top of the drink to represent soil, with the golden liquid beneath mimicking the colour of the Licor 43 spirit. Third place was awarded to the team from Tigerlily in Edinburgh, with their cocktail The Last Voyage.
Follow the team @Licor43UK to see who wins at this year’s global final.