Step into the Never Never 2024 is here and you’d better hold onto your butts, the prize is better than ever

Helicopter rides, regional fine dining, Masterchef’s cooking you breakfast? Winner winner, chicken dinner.

Step into the Never Never is back for its fourth year with a new focus on flavour trends and a bartender prize that’s hard to match. This year, bartenders are encouraged to “Toast the Coast” by serving a gin and tonic that embraces our proximity to some of the greatest beaches and coastlines in the world.

“More than 85 per cent of Australians live less than an hour from the coast,” says Co-Founder at Never Never Sean Baxter. “Coastal serves are becoming a huge part of how people are consuming cocktails and mixed drinks around the country,” he says.

“The competition asks bartenders (of all levels) to make a twisted G&T and a three ingredient cocktail that causes a stir, something that is in the wheelhouse of most capable bartenders in the country.” – Co-Founder at Never Never Sean Baxter

It’s not just a gin and tonic that bartenders will be asked to make and just like any balanced drinks menu, there’s always room for something a little more complex. “Competitors will also need to create a cocktail that celebrates flavour in its simplest format, something that causes a stir despite only using a handful of other modifying ingredients,” says Sean,

Bartenders will be required to create a cocktail using only three ingredients, with a few cheeky ‘cheat sheet’ options thrown in to stimulate people’s creativity. “We’re not including salt, sugar, yeast, CO2 and stabilising acids such as malic and citric acids among the selected three ingredients,” says Sean, “so you can use those without them being counted.”

“The competition asks bartenders (of all levels) to make a twisted G&T and a three ingredient cocktail that causes a stir, something that is in the wheelhouse of most capable bartenders in the country,” says Sean.

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“The one thing which we always hammer home about the bartender challenges is that they are simply that, just challenges … there is no point accumulation or overall winner, there isn’t a next stage to go on to try and become a global grand champion, there’s enough of that out there,” says Sean.

What to do!

All the details are here!

  • Make a twist on a Coastal G&T (with Triple Juniper, Ginache or Oyster Shell)
  • Make a Three-ingredient cocktail (with Triple Juniper, Ginache or Oyster Shell)
  • Make a drink that’s memorable
  • The two drinks need to be live in your venue from Wednesday, May 1st, 2024, so that’s your deadline
  • The drinks themselves and the menu that they are being sold from need to be submitted on the website via the online portal here.

The Prize

“Just like last year, we’re bringing three overall winners from anywhere in the country to our home in the Vale,” says Sean. “It doesn’t matter if you’re tending bar in Brisbane, Broome or Bondi, everyone will get the same opportunity to win a spot in our luxury McLaren Vale accommodation.”

This year’s winners will be immersed in a once in a lifetime McLaren Vale experience, taking in all the region has to offer and then some.

“Think luxury regional accommodation, helicopter transfers to our distillery door, dining experiences in some of the state’s most celebrated restaurants and a distillery bartending experience with a twist,” says Sean.

“We’re talking about spending time with the very best wine, food, and coffee producers in the region. It will be an incredible opportunity to skill up and have a fantastic experience while you’re at it,” he says.

The bartenders who made it to the grand prize in 2023 were required to do everything from a spritz service challenge at Never Never’s brand home to a coastal sensory challenge while standing up to their ankles in seawater. There was a martini pairing challenge with one of the region’s best restaurants and a taste test challenge at one of Adelaide’s finest cocktail establishments.

“The contestants are always guessing which Masterchef-themed challenge we’ve selected next,” laughs Baxter. I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little jealous of how much fun it all looks when they are in there going for it.”


There are also some masterclasses heading around the country this month to get you up to speed and give you some tips on nailing the entry. Space is limited. Reach out to your Proof & Co. rep for more.

  • New South Wales: The Cumberland – 15.4.24 | PS40 – 16.4.24
  • Queensland: Frog’s Hollow Saloon – 17.4.24
  • Victoria: Lola Belle – 22.4.24 | Yakimono – 23.4.24

If you want to get involved in the competition or have any further questions reach out to

For more information about the Step Into the Never Never cocktail competition  and for all stockists please visit our website at