Licor 43, the Spanish liqueur brand and maker of the most popular carajillo ingredient, has just concluded their annual Bartenders and Baristas Challenge, pitting behind-the-bar workers from around the globe against one another to see who can make the best coffee cocktail (using Licor 43 of course). For this, the fifth edition of the Bartenders are Baristas Challenge, nine Finalists from three continents squared off with their inventive takes on the coffee cocktail, but there could be only one winner.

And after the dust settled, the winner of the 2021 Licor 43 Bartenders and Baristas Challenge was Brazil’s Thalita Freire Cacho and her drink, the Tropicália.

For her drink, Cacho blended a Brazilian Catuaí Amarelo coffee—made via French press—with Licor 43 and fresh passionfruit that is “simple and easy-to-replicate, yet delicious,” according to 2021 Bartenders and Baristas judge and German Coffee in Good Spirits Champion Timon Kaufmann. Fellow judge and Dutch Barista Champion Merijn Gijsbers concurs: “She managed to create a cocktail that brings all the flavor notes of Licor 43, the coffee of her choice, and the other ingredients together in a sweet and pleasant drink. I like how she played with the acidity of the fresh passion fruit and made the ingredients work together in a cocktail with subtle fruity flavors, but also notes of caramel and licorice.”

For her winning drink, Cacho will take home €3,000 ($3,450 USD) “to put towards a training course or professional equipment of her choice.”

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For those looking to try the elegant and easy-to-repeat Tropicália at home, Cacho has shared her recipe.

50ml Licor 43
25ml Catuaí Amarelo Coffee (20g coffee to 100g water, brewed with 96ºC water and steeped for 4 minutes)
20ml Strained pure passion fruit pulp
1 Basil leaf for garnish

Freeze the Cup with ice cubes and leave it
Remove the pulp of the passionfruit, and with help of a sieve separate the concentrated liquid from the seeds
Put all the ingredients on a shaker and shake without ice until it creates a little foam
Add the ice to the shaker and make a hard shake
Remove the ice from the glass
With the help of a Hawthorn and a strainer, pour the cocktail into a coupé glass and fill it
Garnish: Knock the basil leaf and aromatize the glass in circular movements. Decorate by putting it in the middle of the cocktail

To check out the nine Finalist cocktails, including second and third drinks by Maj Schöffmann of the European Barista School and Michelle Nguyen of the USA, respectively, check out the Finals judging and announcement video, seen below.

Zac Cadwalader is the managing editor at Sprudge Media Network and a staff writer based in Dallas. Read more Zac Cadwalader on Sprudge.

Disclosure: Licor 43 is an advertising sponsor with the Sprudge Media Network.

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