Step into the Never Never is back for its third year, a cocktail competition that celebrates flavour and gives bartenders of all backgrounds the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime Never Never experience.

The Step Into the Never Never Cocktail Competition is our opportunity to shine a spotlight on the next generation of talented Aussie bartenders, and to explore exciting flavours, and celebrate our incredible industry - an industry that has been challenged more than most over the last few years.

One of our core values at Never Never is to always celebrate hospitality. So what better way to do that than by bringing people together from across the country and doing what we do best - creating delicious cocktails and lasting memories? 

We are searching for some of the tastiest drinks in Australia and rewarding the bartenders who make them with an all-expenses trip to visit our brand home in McLaren Vale. The winners will participate in epic bartender challenges and experience everything that our region has to offer.



Competitors will also need to create a cocktail using ONLY THREE INGREDIENTS. ONE of those ingredients has to be EITHER Triple Juniper Gin OR Ginache OR Oyster Shell Gin.

We are looking for a cocktail that will cause a stir, how you choose to interpret that is up to you. It might be in the flavour directions you choose, the inspiration that guided you or the impact it makes. 

Just remember that the gin you select counts as ONE of the ingredients. 

Here’s what DOESN'T count towards your three ingredients. 

Garnish | Water | CO2 | Salt | Sugar | Yeast

Everything else counts. You can only use a total of three ingredients. 

If you made a Tom Collins with Triple Juniper or Ginache Gin, with lemon, caster sugar, saline solution with a dehydrated lemon wheel you have only used TWO ingredients as the rest don’t count. 

Anything STORE BOUGHT is one ingredient such as bitters, vermouth, apple cider vinegar, yuzu-infused tonic, jam, lemon curd, etc. If you think you can beat the system, you’re not getting the assignment. This is about working with less and allowing the main ingredients to shine. It also needs to read well and the photo you submit to accompany the menu should MAKE US THIRSTY. 

The Judging

You will be scored by a system of points mainly revolving around the concept of your drinks being interesting and largely delicious. We don’t have the budget to fly our ambassador into every state to try your cocktails. Criteria can be found on our website. You will be judged on your overall menu as well as your two drink offerings. These drinks will be judged on paper only, with the finalists selected based on how outrageous your drinks sound and how much we want to drink them. Make us thirsty. Simple.

The Criteria

Menus will be judged on the following criteria points out of 70;

Is it actually a menu that can be read in venue? (10 points) Can you read the drink names and the prices clearly? Was everything spelled correctly? (10 points), Does the menu make you want to consume the drinks, does it make you thirsty? (25 points), Did the venue, to the best of your knowledge, promote the drinks as per the competition rules during the period? (25 points)

‘The Gin for your Tonic’ category will be judged on the following criteria points out of 70;

Did you use the right gin and a minimum of 30ml? (10 points) Does the g&t have a great name that is aimed at selling more drinks? (10 points), Has thought been put into the presentation of the g&t, Does the garnish look great, does it work with the combination of tonic (and/or soda), is there enough ice, is it in the right glass, Is it a great photo and make you thirsty? (25 points), Is it in your opinion, a thoughtful and/or unique representation of a Never Never gin and tonic? (25 points). 

The ‘Cause a Stir’ category will be judged on the following criteria points out of 70;

Does the drink's composition from the recipe appear to be balanced? (10 points), Is the cocktail name awesome and will it sell the drink? (10 points), Has thought been put into the presentation of the cocktail, does the garnish look great, is in the right glass, is there enough ice or chill on the glass, is it a great photo and make you thirsty? (25 points), Does the drink use three ingredients (or less) including a minimum of 30ml of Triple Juniper Gin OR Oyster Shell Gin OR Ginache Gin not including water, Co2, salt, sugar and yeast. (25 points).

The winner's will stay at the beautiful Altamira Retreat in Blewitt Springs, in the heart of our gorgeous Fleurieu Peninsula.